Australian character comic Steen Raskopoulos was an unknown in the UK before August. But one immensely popular run at the Edinburgh Fringe (including a Best Newcomer nomination) and he’s gaining attention from all comedy quarters for his exciting and risk-taking approach to live comedy. We spoke to Steen ahead of his second run at the Soho Theatre this year.
You had a very successful Edinburgh Fringe. Did you enjoy the experience?
I had such an amazing and surreal time. I enjoyed every moment, except for the lack of vegetables… I missed vegetables.
You’ve already a run at the Soho theatre. Are you looking forward to being back?
Definitely. I had so much fun performing to an English audience and I think with a bigger room its just going to mean more fun!
Your act is a mix of characters and audience interaction. How did your stage persona develop?
I used to host Theatresports at Sydney University. Every Thursday at 1pm, 200 students would pack into Manning Bar. I learnt very quickly that in order to deal with a lot of drunk student heckling, I couldn’t be my usual softly spoken self.
Did you ever try being a more conventional stand-up?
Involving the audience can be a risky business. Do you ever worry that things may not go to plan?
Not until after the show has finished and I think of better ways to deal with people who are very shy. Everything is done with love and I wouldn’t get someone up to do something if I wasn’t comfortable doing it myself.
Is there a secret to wearing two suits and still being comfortable?
Not really, that’s why they came off within the first 5 minutes of the show… ladies.
Your brother (Jordan Raskopoulos from Axis of Awesome) is also in the comedy world. Was performing a big part of growing up?
I guess we always hung out a lot. Playing video games and toys but we were quite the opposite growing up. Jordan didn’t really start doing school plays until he was in his final year of school and I was too busy with sport, JOCKS RULE (at school and then never again)!
Is there any rivalry between you and Jordan?
Only when we play Street Fighter. We perform a lot of improv. together and he has always been a loving and supportive older brother – even when I stood on his Game Boy whilst wearing rollerblades in 1993 and denied it for three and a half years.