<p>When Jacob first joins me in the office I feel a little flustered, but he kindly reassures me: “There is no such thing as good or bad questions, only human connection.” We’re off to a good start. To continue with this theme of human connection, Jacob shares a recent, personal experience of participating in a medical study, which has left him with a sore spleen due to an increase in white blood cells. I quietly (but sincerely) hope that this won’t be an issue during the interview.</p>
Last week I fell Into the Abyss with rising comedy star Jacob Sacher, to talk about his upcoming show at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2018.
When Jacob first joins me in the office I feel a little flustered, but he kindly reassures me: “There is no such thing as good or bad questions, only human connection.” We’re off to a good start. To continue with this theme of human connection, Jacob shares a recent, personal experience of participating in a medical study, which has left him with a sore spleen due to an increase in white blood cells. I quietly (but sincerely) hope that this won’t be an issue during the interview.
Sensitive spleens aside, Jacob describes himself into the microphone. “I’m obsessed with being a Jew,” he says. “I have been performing comedy for four years and would like to make it my career.” As a Melbourne Jewish comedian, Jacob has performed at seven synagogues around the country, the Melbourne Jewish Comedy Festival, and will be performing in the upcoming Jewish Community Council’s Jews vs Muslim comedy debate. Jacob has also produced and performed at seven shows at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival (MICF).
I take this opportunity to ask Jacob about his previous experience at MICF, where he tells me he sees over fifty shows a year, at least. “It’s the one time of the year you can see the best comedy in the world, at any time.” Jacob elaborates, “Throughout the year the comedy scene is good, but during the Festival, like, if an alien came down and they were like ‘show me the best’, I really would take them to Comedy Festival.”
And “the best” is exactly the genre-defying approach to comedy that Jacob and co-improviser Jack McGorlick hope to explore in their upcoming show Into the Abyss. When Jacob and Jack first started creating the show, they set out not to write the best stand-up, sketch or improv show – but to make the best comedy show. “It steals elements from every type of comedy that we’ve done. And we’ve done every type of comedy,” Jacob tells me. “It’s sketch comedy, that’s improvised, there’s audience interaction that’s integrated into the sketches. We have no idea what’s going to happen.”
Jacob describes his usual approach to improvisation and sketch comedy with co-star Jack McGorlick: “We think of a premise (something stupid, ideally) and then improvise it until it’s funny. When we can make it work, we’ve got a good sketch.” But Into the Abyss takes a different approach. As Jacob explains, “All stand-up is the same, all sketches are the same and all improv is the same… so maybe by doing this and mixing all three, we’ll create something that you’ve never seen before,” a style Jacob fondly refers to as “fucked-sketch”.
As the interview wraps up, I ask Jacob about what initially drew him to comedy. “For a career, I want to tell the truth,” he replies. “If I weren’t a comedian I’d be an academic, or a politician, or a journalist. When we think of them we often think they’re hacky and disgusting, but if they’re really doing their job, they’re just telling the truth. And that’s good comedy, just telling the truth.”
Jacob hopes audiences of Into the Abyss will take away from the show a willingness to find small truths in dumb things. “For people who do end up coming to the show, they’ll look at it and see us just doing stupid, stupid things—dressed up in these dumb costumes. But I hope that the truth comes out. I think they will see the glimmer of truth, in the stupidity.”
Into the Abyss runs from 27 March – 8 April 2018 at Tasma Terrace, 6 Parliament Place, East Melbourne, Victoria.
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