On the Couch with Ethan Cavanagh

Ethan-Cavanagh-AAR-On-the-CouchWho is Ethan Cavanagh?
Hi, Ethan… Ethan Cavanagh. Pleasure to meet you. Diagnosed as a stand-up comedian in 2015 and learning to live with the symptoms ever since. Country bumpkin in the big smoke. Former car salesman. Ex burger flipper. Spirit Captain at my school (genuinely a thing). More recently a man who spends his days lounging around on conceptual digital interview couches asking himself who he is (a process I’d thought was usually reserved for more tangible couches in a shrink’s office).

What would you do differently from what you do now?
I wish I’d said “yes” more to terrible ideas. It took me far too long to learn that doing tricky gigs makes you a better comedian. I got spooked very early on by a nightmare gig. I had to perform between a sausage sizzle and a sandpit on a 40-degree day – a story I only recently recognised for the comedic gold it is in my new Comedy Festival show.

Nowadays, things are different. Stand-up on the back of a ute? Sure! The scuba divers want some sketch? See you down there! Need an MC for your exorcism? I’ll get my robe! Perform an entire hour of PowerPoint-based stand-up in a show titled Presentation is Everything until April 21? It’s on sale now!

Who inspires you and why?
In 2017 I saw a man on a train in the middle of summer holding a newly purchased umbrella still wrapped in plastic. It was 26 degrees and clear. I think about him often. Imagine being that prepared for literally anything. I just know his life is better than mine.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I’d quite like to stop people saying the phrase “whet my whistle”. Can we get that done? I think we’d all be better off.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
In some sort of sick twisted joke after the last two years, I’ve ironically-but-not-ironically fallen in love with regional tourism here in Victoria. I suddenly find myself chasing farmers markets and bakery-made coffees. When did giant fiberglass fruits get so damn exciting? It’s a bit of a change of pace from my backpacking days but I wonder if there’s a Contiki that goes through Gippsland? I’ll take Maryborough over Montreal any day.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
All my visiting friends get taken on the perfect #Melbourne day out. First stop, ordering magics at a laneway café because it makes me sound like a wizard. Then a fun morning of throwing lime scooters in the Yarra. The afternoon can be spent saving the world one Beaujolais Gamay at a time at Melbourne’s no-waste wine shop – ReWine (you’re welcome, penguins). Finish the day with yet another failed attempt to redeem my voucher for a ride on the Melbourne Star. Finally, a bubble-gum vape for dinner.

What are you currently reading?
Still making my way through the terms and conditions for my iPod touch. It’s taking a little longer to get through than anticipated but you can’t be too careful.

What are you currently listening to?
My mum’s advice. I’m standing outside in the sun and eating a banana until all my problems go away. I’m still waiting on the results.

Happiness is?
A wonderful song by The Pointer Sisters. More recently remixed by Super Disco Club. Both versions are very good for dancing along to in tight pants and one too many shirt buttons undone.

What does the future hold for you?
Well someday, Arts Review, I’d like to think that we’ll be able to sit down together on a real couch and talk things through. We’ll be listening to the Pointer Sisters on my iPod touch and planning a trip to the big Koala. Call me a romantic. But maybe I’ll get to ask ten questions about who you really are, as we sink back into the brown suede upholstery… Alternatively, a Netflix special would suffice.

Ethan can be seen (with Sweeney Preston) in Presentation is Everything – currently playing at Loop Project Space & Bar, as part of the 2022 Melbourne International Comedy Festival, until 21 April. For more information, visit: www.comedyfestival.com.au for details.

Image: Ethan Cavanagh (supplied)