Interviewed by Greg Manchurian. Transcribed by Betsy Goodspeed.
Greg sits down with writer and performer, Josh Mensch, to talk about fear, regret, and his new show, “Abomination”.
Greg: Hi Josh, thanks for joining me!
Josh: Of course! Happy to be h-
G: What are you most afraid of? What comes to mind when you hear the word “fear” or “scared”? Is there something you feel you’re disproportionately afraid of?
J: Wow, okay, um, yes. It’s a bit embarrassing though.
G: Is it clowns?
J: No, although I totally understand that one. My biggest fear is that I’m going to shit myself.
G: Is this something medical?
J: I don’t think so, potentially a manifestation of anxiety-
G: Have you shit yourself before?
J: Never accidentally.
J: But it’s usually a performing thing; I’ll be scared that it’ll happen on stage in front of lots of people and it’ll just be too humiliating to keep existing.
G: Right. Well, being on stage in front of LOTS of people isn’t something you need to fear.
G: What is your biggest regret?
G: No need to apologise, just answer the question. Biggest regret; go!
J: Tough question.
G: Lot’s of regrets?
J: No, the opposite, really. Other than small instances of running my mouth that only seem to filter through my memory into my mind in the middle of the night, I don’t really have anything that could be “the biggest regret”. I regret not doing some things. Like, not believing in my own abilities, not going out when people had great nights, not having general social confidence. I guess my biggest regret would be carrying around an inordinate amount of doubt in myself for a good five to six years. Yeah.
G: Okay, maybe a bit too introspective. Bit of a weak answer, really. I wanted something exciting. A spectacle. I wanted a story about you shitting yourself on purpose.
J: Right. Can we move on? Talk about my-
G: You’re doing a show at the Hold- Theb- Holden Street Theatres, yes?
G: What is it?
J: What is… My show?
G: Yup, what is it?
J: Uhh, it’s a one man comedy theatre show abo-
G: Right, why would anyone want to see that?
J: Well, if you hold tight just a minute, I’ll tell you. It’s about loss and obsession, and the absurdity of navigating those things, and the loneliness you can feel, no matter how many people are around you. It’s a fairly universal theme. I feel it’s accessible to most people who have experienced loss of any kind, be it a pet, or a job, or a favourite TV show, or a loved one.
G: So it’s sad, then? How is it a comedy?
J: Comedy is just tragedy with time, so they say, and this show finds those moments of time, where things are surreal, confusing, and sometimes funny. Laughter is pure and involuntary, and I think it has the capacity to be a great healer, or at the very least a good companion. You should take note.
G Right, whatever. So this saddo show, seems like your first rodeo..?
J: No, this will be my tenth fringe as a performer, but my first solo show, yes. Who did you research?
G: I did. So what you’re saying is no one wanted to work with you this year?
J: I wanted to explore my practice from a neutral, singular place. I wanted to reassess some goals, and find some strategies to achieve those goals. Something I recommend for those vocationally frustrated, like yourself perhaps. I had a hiatus from performing and creating last year, and this show is the result of that time off.
G: Alright… Do you have anything else you want to say?
J: No. I think we’ve covered everything.
G: Nothing you want to ask me?
J: Um, other than “what’s your problem with me?”, no.
G: My problem… I’ve asked you tons of questions about yourself, and you finally ask me one and it’s about you… What about my projects? What about me?!
J: Oh, sorry, I thought this was press for my sho-
G: My show! MY SHOW! Put my fucking name on the top so people know it’s MY SHOW!!! What about my show, Josh?!?
J: Are you doing a show?
G: NO! But you didn’t know that, and you didn’t care.
J: I’m sorry.
G: Whatever. Get out!
Josh Mensch: Abomination is playing at Holden Street Theatres from the 28th of February to the 15th of March, except Mondays.