Scout Boxall Talks About Performing the Adelaide Fringe

It’s Scout Boxall’s first time performing at the Adelaide Fringe and we should all get excited! Starting off in comedy in 2018 and winning Best Emerging Artist and Best Comedy at the 2019 Melbourne Fringe should be enough to get you to Grab Ya Tix to this show! Scout chatted with the Hi Fi Way about their comedy, how they started and what we can expect from the show.

This is your first time at Adelaide Fringe. Are you excited to bring your show Buck Wild to Adelaide?
Yeah, I’m incredibly excited. I know that Adelaide Fringe is an incredible festival and I’ve been there as a punter before so I’m really excited to share it with a whole new audience.

What is the show about?
The show is about bipolar disorder which I was diagnosed with ten years ago. Its really about the ups and downs which comes with the territory but its not just about that. Its also bout how you can thrive and survive even being a bit “mentally dicey” as I say! Its essentially a story about survival and it does get dark in parts where it gets a bit confronting and I talk about the realities of living with bipolar but it’s also just really silly and dumb!

There’s a lot of comic relief and dumb little bits in between the story telling portions. Its show you can maybe have a cry at but you will definitely have a laugh!

Do you find that comedy has helped you with that part of your life?
I think so in some ways. It’s kind of funny that I found comedy as something I feel I was meant to do because it wasn’t what I originally planned. Comedy suits someone with bipolar because you said everything from a completely different prospective and I can mirror that back to people in a way they can consider something different.

So, I think that’s been a real blessing and you develop an element of resilience when you live with a chronic health condition and I think that makes for perfect fodder for going on stage and being laughed at by strangers in a dark room. It definitely has been intertwined with that part of myself and it makes me good at what I do funnily enough!

I guess that would mean you could get a lot of material from your life?
Yeah, I mean a lot of the material isn’t directly linked to that side of me. I do comedy about all kinds of stuff like some of its observational and some of its that’s happened in my life but some is just completely random and off the wall! Its like a weird thought that I had that I dug into then really honed in on!

I do get some material from it. Most of the material about bipolar in the show is kind of poking fun of the way its stigmatised. It’s a show you can laugh at if you have no idea what’s going on. You may not know about Mental Health beyond ‘Are you ok’ day and its accessible to that audience.

I’ve had a lot of people who do have chronic mental health conditions come to the show and they’ve felt incredibly validated and seen. They feel their experience has been reflected back to them from the stage. So that’s something very special that I didn’t anticipate when writing or performing the show. I just write about how I think this has been funny or how my life’s been and it’s grown from that so it’s really special.

So, what made you get into comedy? You only started in 2018.
Yes! Yes, I’m fresh! I’m a little baby! I’m so green! I got into comedy kid of sideways. I originally wanted to be a history nerd and I initially wanted to be an early modern theatre scholar focussing on Marlow and the same era as Shakespeare. I was studying my under-grad at University in Melbourne and my tutor said “Hey, I’m part of this weird troupe and we do improvised Shakespeare. Would you want to come along and be a part of that?” I was a big loud mouth in class, the real class clown and so I went along starting off mostly as an academic exercise to see whether you could reconstruct a historical play from scratch using acronysms so that interested me intellectually.

From that I got a pass to go to the Melbourne Fringe Festival and I could see all this art for free. I also performed at the Melbourne Comedy Festival with that group of people so at those festivals I saw seminal works where I was like “Holy shit! This is what I want to do!” It was a bit of a come to Jesus moment.

So, in 2018 I tried out for Raw and thought if it all goes to shit that its ok, I can go back to what I was planning on doing but I figured I had to give it a go! I did my first open mic in February 2018 and then Raw Comedy in March 2018 and made it to the finals in April 2018. So, it’s all kind of sky rocketed from there!

Well, you’ve won a few awards; Best Emerging Artist and Best Comedy at the 2019 Melbourne Fringe.
(laughs) I feel like I’m doing something right! I got to quit my day job in 2022 and just do comedy which is crazy to me! Its something that I didn’t think I could do for another 5 or 10 years but I’ve also gotten very lucky in a lot of ways. I’ve just lucked into really great producers and supportive directors and others in the scene who have taken me under their wings and shown me the ropes. I feel like I’ve gotten really incredibly lucky.

I guess I’m going to keep doing this until I find something better to do. Maybe I’ll go back to Shakespeare one day if I bomb badly enough!

You could always combine it? (laughs)
Oh no! I can’t do that! I can’t cross the channels.  Its so wild as comedy has so many ups and downs. It takes an incredible amount of resilience to stick at it and I mean for anyone in the Arts but I feel like for comedy in particular you are so vulnerable on stage. Best case scenario people laugh at you, worse case you get heckled or booed off. I’ve never been heckled to that extreme but I’ve had some weird heckles over the years.

I just did a gig in Sydney, last gig before I took a break for the end of the year and it was a packed house of about 100 people in this old basement in Chippendale. I reckon it was one of the best gigs I’ve done, it was so much fun. I got up on stage and immediately tripped over the stage and fell on my face. I normal person would have been humiliated and incredibly put off by it but the adrenalin completely shot right through me and I was like “Fuck yeah! Let’s do it!” I had one of the best gigs I’ve ever done.

I still have this bruise on my leg from where I tripped over but, in my mind, I was like if I had trip over on stage then bruise myself and hurt my leg really badly but I knew that I would then have a good gig I would do that every single night! That’s when I realised that I have a toxic relationship with comedy and I’m probably going to do it for ever!

(laughs) Well, if it works for you, keep tripping over!
(laughs) Exactly! They say “Break a leg!” and I did it literally!

What are three words to describe your show?
Heart-warming, dumb and clever!

Fringe Interview by Anastasia Lambis

Tickets and show information for Scout Boxall’s Buck Wild at Fringe Tix. Grab Ya Tix!

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