Interview with Perth Comedian Jez Watts, who runs Infinite Jest, the weekly open mic & experimental comedy night, at the Flying Scotsman in Perth. He's also had some great opportunities in his 2.5 years of comedy, including opening for US comics Joe Mande, Esther Povitsky, and just this week, Duncan Trussell. Jez's stand-up is confessional and truthful, in a story-teller style.
We discuss: Reflections on finding your comedy voice and honing his craft over time, learning more from failure than success, insecurity about receiving help and support, Jez’s other career in Neuroscience, overcoming unhelpful thought patterns in order to do the things he loves, a bit about Jez’s previous marriage (he’s now happily divorced and the relationship helped him get into the mindset that he could study), Jez’s study repertoire including molecular biology, biomedical science and biotechnology, an Honours thesis in genetic disease and starting his Doctorate in Neuroscience, starting the PhD and comedy at the same time and balancing the two highly demanding vocations, more about the thoughts and drugs that led to his marriage, the positive grounded-ness of his current relationship, what Jez has learned from previous bad decisions (and getting away with them), the reality that worst case scenarios rarely eventuate, Don’t Propose While On Crystal Meth!, philosophy and revelations of self-medicating, seeking a sensory deprivation experience, prioritising of his relationship and comedy, back to the (family) beginning: candid and insightful discussion about Jez’s Mum, self-protection and preservation, the difficulty of revealing the truth to his partner, reflection that most people have some level of mental unwellness at some stage in their life, comedy reinforcing emotional highs and lows, the idea that how you “should” feel – and feeling short of that – is its own trap, what’s important is working towards your own goals and focusing on your own journey (with the exceptions of being on meth and getting married in Las Vegas by Elvis while on LSD), Jez’s advice to DO MUSHROOMS (based on research data* that they can reduce symptoms of depression), and the adage that “neurons that fire together wire together”, ie. Negative thought patterns can reinforce themselves to repeat, as can positive thought patterns, so Jez avoids the negatives and rewards/reinforces the positive thoughts/behaviours.
Jez will be doing his first solo show at the 2016 Perth Fringe, titled: Sex, Lies and Videogames. If you’d like to know more about Jez and where else to see his comedy, check out his website at www.jezwatts.com
*Research data not provided, but I did a brief search and found this info to start with: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ecam/nep201.