On the Couch with Ben Pobjie

Ben Pobjie AAR On the CouchWho is Ben Pobjie?
Ah, perhaps the only truly unanswerable question. Sure, he is an author, a columnist, a comedian, a poet, a father, a husband, a raconteur, a bon vivant… but who IS he? I’m not sure anyone can say for sure. Perhaps the best way to sum up Ben Pobjie is this: he is a man who has built a career on having no practical skills.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
I would have trained much harder at rugby. I had no idea that the Wallabies would end up having such low standards.

Who inspires you and why?
My children inspire me, because their opinion of me seems so unnaturally high I feel obliged to bust a gut trying to approximately match it. But also zookeepers because they are friends with tigers.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I think everyone makes a difference in the world, one way or another and whether they like it or not. The trouble with deciding how to make a difference is that you end up feeling guilty for not making a difference in all the other possible ways you could have. But right now I would love to make a meaningful contribution to staving off the great wave of extinctions sweeping the earth.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
Italy. I’ve only been there once, and that was a long time ago now, but I’ve itched to return ever since. It’s the history and art that the place is soaked in, the constant reminders of the beauty that humans are capable of creating. It’s all over the country, but if I had to pick one spot, it’d be Florence.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
The Healesville Sanctuary – because there’s a baby tree kangaroo there. Even if they came FROM Healesville, I’d take them back there to see the joey.

What are you currently reading?
The Uncollected Plays of Shaun Micallef. Genius.

What are you currently listening to?
Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Blood Sugar Sex Magik. It’s the music of my youth, but I didn’t pay much attention to it during my youth, so I’m getting heavily into it now.

Happiness is?
Elusive.

What does the future hold for you?
More books, TV shows, plays, movies, amusing banter on panel shows, international travel. Or bitterness at the world that denied me all these things. We’ll have to wait and see which.

Ben Pobjie studied history at the University of Western Sydney before his lust for glamour led him to comedy writing. He is known for his TV columns in The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald, and political satire for New MatildaCrikey and the ABC, among others. He is the author of Aussie Aussie AussieError AustralisSuperChef and The Book of Bloke and has written for the TV shows Reality Check and The Unbelievable Truth.

Ben is the author of Australia: What Happened? – which has just been published by Affirm Press and available from all leading book retailers including Booktopia.

Image: Ben Pobjie (supplied)

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