On the Couch with Tim Motley

Tim Motley as Barry PotterWho is Barry Potter?
I’m just a regular guy who had an unfortunate boyhood trauma involving a dark wizard and a whacky prophecy which led to a strange and unlikely series of events. I’m aware there is a multi-billion dollar franchise out there with an uncannily similar story.  I’m not saying that story was based on my life, I’m not saying it wasn’t. The performer who plays me is…

Tim Motley…  I’m a character comedy magician from Philadelphia who’s been performing in one industry or another my entire adult life. I currently have 11 different shows, most of them in various characters, and have toured 50 countries.

I’m most well known at festivals for doing a film-noir psychic detective character called Dirk Darrow. One of my shows in that character did very well at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival in 2015. Family friendly entertainment is quite new to me and I’m having fun with it.

What would you do differently from what you do now?
I wish I had taken more big chances early on. I’ve always had a weakness for procrastination and over-preparing. Analysis / paralysis, as they say.

Who inspires you and why?
Penn & Teller – for expanding the genre of magic to include modern comedy. George Carlin and Jon Stewart – for tackling the big political issues of their day while staying funny. Rowan Atkinson and Sacha Baron Cohen – giving character comedy mainstream appeal.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
If I can, to promote the concept critical thinking and intellectual skepticism. In this age of social media induced isolation and polarised tribal politics, I think it’s more important than ever before for people to learn to make up their own minds about the world based on verifiable evidence or at least reliable sources.

It’s too easy to get sucked into the echo chambers of memes and angry gossip we  see in our Tic Tok feed, Facebook wall, or 24 hour news-tainment channels… to say nothing of the bot-filled Twitter-verse. It’s enough to feel like you’ve been the subject of a Confundus spell!

Favourite holiday destination and why?
To be honest, I don’t really do holidays as such, because I travel so much for gigs. Having said that, I’ve been to hundreds of holiday destinations for gigs in all parts of the world, from Tahiti to Thailand, and occasionally take some extra vacay time when I’m there. One of my favourites would have to be Jasper, in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. I love that rugged wilderness and those breath-taking views.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
I was recently in Adelaide – the D’arenberg winery and Art Gallery of South Australia… they’re pretty cool!

What are you currently reading?
The Portable Atheist by Christopher Hitchens.

What are you currently listening to?
Li’l Dicky.

Happiness is?
Performing at my best and being appreciated for it, romantic love, and dark chocolate frogs.

What does the future hold for you?
I’m touring this show around USA and Canada directly after this festival, until September. Then I have some cruise ship gigs, and I’d like to write a new top-secret non-character comedy magic show for next year if I can find the time.

Tim can be seen as Barry Potter in Barry Potter and the Magic of Wizardry – which is currently playing at the Elephant and Wheelbarrow, as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, until 21 April 2024. For more information, visit: www.comedyfestival.com.au for details.

Image: Tim Motley as Barry Potter (supplied)