Breaking The Booze - Adam Rozenbachs at The Melbourne International Comedy Festival
Adam Rozenbachs is a well-known comedian who has featured on a variety of TV shows and is a regular radio personality on ABC 774 Drive and Triple M Hot Breakfast. He was also the comedy writer for shows such as Spicks and Specks, Before the Game, The Project and many more. He has been doing the Comedy festival now for 8 years to critical acclaim and this year returns with his latest show ‘Breaking Booze’ (from 27th March – 20th April).
A social drinker, Adam’s latest show takes a look at his life both on and off the drink. Gone were the late night kebabs, bad hangovers, empty bank balance and waiting hours for a cab, and it was hello to designated driver, saving money, weight loss and a clear head every Sunday morning. He said, “I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. I knew I’d be bored, hate myself, get mocked, have no mates, have withdrawals and find other things to do with my time. And that was day one, which was a Monday!”
TWLM: What is the best thing about being a comedian?
Freedom - I can say what I like on stage, I can drink at work, I get paid to be the class clown, and I can do the most stupid, juvenile, foolhardy things “all in the name of research”. A few years ago I nearly died from anaphylactic shock and all I could think when the doctor told me I was going to survive was “this is a great five minute bit for my act. Now give me more morphine.”
TWLM: What is the worst thing?
That the comedy will run out. Even before a show, when I’m backstage pacing, thinking about routines that have worked previously, I’ll think “maybe this isn’t funny, and this is the audience to point that out.”
And the comedian’s anxiety dream is horrible – my recurring dream is being on stage and not remembering the punchlines to any of my jokes. After one of those nightmares I immediately have to hold a microphone and tell a joke in a theatre in front of 3000 people. Tough to organise at 2am, but well worth it.
TWLM: What can we expect from the show Breaking Booze?
Insight into the mind of a drunken fool. As told by a sober fool.
I’d made a lot of notes during my abstinence about what happens as people get drunk, and it helped remind me of what I was like, and the stupid things that went with it from getting kicked out of the races to car theft [Grand Theft Auto is popular, right??]
And, just to get a few more accounts of how I was, I asked my friends to recount tales of what I was like when I was drinking. DO NOT EVER DO THAT. It’s like organising your own intervention. If you’re bad enough they'll come to you.
TWLM: What was the hardest thing about giving up alcohol?
Breaking the habit. I cannot think of one instance in this country where you can’t have a beer. Ok, maybe at an AA meeting, but everyone there is thinking about it. It’s just ingrained in our culture, so getting used to so many events without it was difficult. And people [read: my friends] don’t make it easier, like when I went to a wedding and everyone was in shock at the fact I wouldn’t break by non-drinking streak “for free booze!!!” I know it’s the done thing to drink as much as you’d spent on the wedding present, but I just stole cutlery instead.
TWLM: What did you learn about yourself during this time?
That I can actually live a life – a normal, happy/sad/stressed/tired/
I also learned that I have an ability to eat absolute rubbish food for a year as a “reward” for not drinking. My liver was happy, but my 360kg frame was really testing my bones out.
TWLM: What didn’t you miss about drinking?
Offending all my friends, pissing off strangers, eating every fried item in Melbourne, getting locked up, forgetting people you’ve “apparently” been intimate with, blowing thousands of dollars – and that’s just one weekend.
TWLM: What does it take to prepare for a large comedy festival such as this?
I find that lots of panicking, stressing yourself out unreasonably, completely forgetting that you’ve been able to do it before and deciding that sleep is not for you seems to have worked for me over the years.
TWLM: What are your thoughts on today's drinking culture? Or should we simply come to the show to find out...
It’s made to feel like it’s inescapable – but I’m living, bored-for-a-year proof it’s not.
And everything is so sweet now; in half a generation’s time we’ll be dealing with alcoholic diabetics. But at least they don’t smoke.