At the age of 23, James Pender wrote and performed on Channel Ten’s The Ronnie Johns Half Hour. Ten years later, he is presenting his debut solo stand up show Let’s Get Started. According to Pender a lot has happened in ten years. He moved to Europe and worked as an international lawyer for the UN and various firms defending war criminals and governments like Iran and Syria. Now he’s ready to talk about the journey from partying with Mr Big from Sex And The City at the Logies in 2005 to defending war criminals in The Hague.

The Clothesline sent James Pender some interesting questions. Here’s what he had to say.

Favourite comedian?

‘Love Simon Amstell, Dave Chappelle, Stewart Lee, Ricky Gervais (of course), Chris Morris.’

Favourite joke you knew as a kid?

“I used to poke my finger through my fly and then join a conversation in a big group of people and see how long it would take them to notice. Define ‘kid’ though. I was technically 19 when I did that.”

Most famous person’s number you have in your phone?

“Ummmm… There was this bloke I used to drink with in Paris who is in my phone as ‘Julian Pisswreck’. I since learned he is quite a big deal in the UN. So, either him, or Ronny Chieng… Go Ronny Chieng, Go!”

Favourite movie line?

“Anything by Walter in Big Lebowski. ‘Calmer than you are’.”

Best gig, worst gig and why?

“The best worst gig I heard of was a comedian friend of mine who burned a heckler during his gig, only to find the dude waiting in his dressing room afterwards with a shot gun. Not sure what he expected to happen. ‘Nah, you’re right mate. You’re clearly not a psychopath at all and I should never have called you that’.”

Your porn star name?

“Samson O’Keefe. Porn star by day, struggling Irish novelist by night.”

Favourite childhood memory?

“My mum used to make me banana smoothies when I was little. They’d just be waiting on the bench when I got home from school. Thanks mum.”

Celebrity meet that left you star-struck?

“I met Kerry O’Brien once. He was articulate, and hammered. Impressive guy.”

Pet hate?

“Washing up. We invented a machine that does that for us. I don’t understand people who actively choose not to have a dishwasher. My mum will take plates out of the dishwasher and wash them manually, because she feels so guilty about the amount of electricity the dishwasher uses.”

Secret crush?

“I love that girl from Crazy Stupid Love, although clearly not enough to learn her name, but I will fight anyone who says anything bad about her.”

Time travel; where would you most love to go and why?

“I’d love to go back to 1970 and just buy up all property in the inner city suburbs in Australia’s capital cities.”

How do you deal with annoying people who insist you tell them a joke once they discover you are a comedian?

“Unfortunately, I usually tell them a joke that only works with a ten minute lead up. And when I’ve finished, they sort of look at me, and I can see that they regret everything. They don’t just regret asking me to tell them a joke; they regret other, unrelated things about their life.”

Best or worst advice you were ever given?

“When I was younger I was really worried about being so much taller than everyone else. I complained to my dad that no one would go out with me because I was so tall. He said, ‘It doesn’t matter when you’re lying down.’ Thanks Dad.”

Has anyone literally wet themselves laughing at one of your shows?

“My Grandma, but that’s not really fair.”

What’s the best chat-up line you’ve ever heard/used?

“I saw a guy walk up to a booth of girls, look one of them in the eyes, gesture with one hand and say, ‘Up and out’. She laughed. He just stood there staring at her. After an awkward silence, she got up and went with him. The line between virile confidence and a vague domestic violence vibe is wafer thin.”

Favourite or worse heckle you’ve ever had?

“I once saw a guy absolutely destroy a comedian by saying ‘you’re lying’ whenever the comedian told a joke. It was brutal, but just so honest.”

James Pender performs Let’s Get Started at The Garden Of Unearthly Delights’ The Spare Room from 9.30pm until Sun Mar 11.

Book at FringeTIX on 1300 621 255 or Click here to purchase your tickets.

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