We had an electrician sort something out in the gallery the other day, and when he left, a coworker told me he was a comedian.
‘You know, that sparky that was just here? He’s also a comedian,’ said my coworker. ‘You’re kidding,’ I replied, and then checked to make sure I was wearing rubber-soled shoes. ‘Nup. He’s legit a comedian. And he’s funny too!’ I nodded and thought, I’ll be the decider on that, thanks. Because someone’s always a comedian, aren’t they? You’re always getting told such-and-such is a hilarious comedian you have to check out, but then they turn out to be about as funny as one of those little bits of skin that strip away near your fingernail. I reluctantly did some research and discovered that the sparky/comedian’s name is John Cruckshank and he is in fact very, very funny, and he’s made a movie that premieres Thursday, May 13 (8 PM) at Sydney’s Chauvel Cinemas. Also, according to someone in the comments on his comedy special, Weed Cunt, John Cruckshank the comedian/electrician has a ‘solid frontside 50/50. I’ve also seen him on occasion do frontside rocks.’ Incredible. I gave him a call.
So, the movie is premiering Thursday and it’s called Redfern Electrical?
Yeah, Redfern Electrical, that’s it.
And Redfern Electrical is also the legit name of your company, right?
Well, you’d have to define ‘legit,’ but it is the name of my electrical business; I’ve got the Instagram, no underscores, no fuckin’ numbers, nuthin’.
What came first, comedy or electrical work?
Well, I did stand-up a bit when I was in primary school, I suppose, but then I was an electrician when I finished high school. I don’t really know… Since I started comedy, I’ve done both, I guess.
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In the movie, you play yourself, but is that you or a character?
Well, I mean, it is a show, a comedy show, it’s a scripted thing. And even if I am mortgaging my own soul to do it—so be it, because there’s not enough funny things getting made in Australia, that’s for fuckin’ sure.
This is true.
Y’know? So, I’m doing what has to be done.
And it’s a great film. And I watched a sneak preview with you here at the office, and I was worried I’d have to pretend it was funny because you were sitting next to me. But, thank god, it’s hilarious.
Yeah, you said were scared. But listen, don’t worry, mate, I’ve heard it all before after shows: ‘Yeah, mate, oh, that was great, good, mate, very funny, good, yeah.’
But it was really funny, and I told someone in the office about it, and they said—and you may not like this—they said, ‘Oh, so it’s sort of like Kenny,’ which it is a bit, but way funnier, and you are actually an electrician.
Oh, yeah, yeah, some other cunt said Kenny as well. But, you know, the Australian people like Kenny, and I am the Australian people. I’m not one of these cunts that fuckin’ got, y’know, fifty grand outa Sydney Uni to make some shitty show or whatever—I’m out there; I’ve filled in the annual leave forms, I know about work in Australia, I know about fuckin’ lunchtime and RDOs, y’know? But it’s all good, all good stuff.
Based on what I’ve seen—the film, your stand-up—you’re headed for a place where you won’t have time to be an electrician anymore. Will you miss it?
Well, you have to keep doing it to keep the whole machine running, y’know? It’s all part of it. And I quite like the work I do as an electrician because I work for myself. It’s only when you’ve got some other cunt giving you what for at six in the morning that you think, ‘Fuck this.’ But, in saying that, I do have trouble getting to a job before 2 PM, as you guys know with half the gallery lighting done. It is nice of you to say that, though, because that’s always been my plan, but now I’m running my own business, I actually quite like it.
Would you say being a sparky paid for you to chase your dream of being a comedian?
I’d almost say jobseeker paid for it, but… You know, in Australia, the trade cultures are always sort of… Not exploited, but no one really knows anything about it because creative people don’t go anywhere near it and they think it’s all chocolate milk and meat pies and energy drinks and all that—which it is, but y’know, there’s fuckin’ heaps of crazy cunts doin’ all sorts of crazy things, not just, like, you know, what cultured Australia thinks it is or whatever. I dunno, I just think [tradespeople] have always been underrepresented.
So, you’re saying tradies aren’t just the people you see on the job. They’ve got lives outside of their trade, and they’ve got projects and creative stuff they’re doing?
Actually, I don’t know if I wanna go on the record with all that, because they are a bunch of dumbs cunts as well. I guess what I’m trying to say is I’d feel a bit inauthentic doing [comedy] if I wasn’t pullin’ wires as well.
‘Pullin’ wires,’ is that sparky-speak?
Yeah, runnin’ circuits, you know, getting electrocuted here and there.
Have you been electrocuted? I’ve met a few electricians and they all seemed a bit mental. I put it down to having been zapped so many times. But you seem pretty sane.
I’ve had a few belts over the years. Like, it’s gonna get ya. It’s just something to make friends with I suppose.
What’s the highest voltage you’ve had pass through you?
Well, I only ever really copped the main supply, which is 240 volts in Australia; but it’s not the voltage that’ll kill you—it’s the current. But I haven’t had heaps of current… Y’know, the scariest thing about electricity is you can feel the way that it would kill you.
Wow. That’s dark.
Yeah, and I’ve got a new comedy show out this week!
Thursday night at The Chauvel! And it’s sold out?
Yeah! Not a fuckin’ ticket left; can you believe it?
Yeah, that was genuinely unexpected.
And it’s a big theatre, too, like, 300 seats?
A bit over, I think. And it sold out so quickly. I mean, the tickets were free, but I reckon they should be for a premiere. Anyway, should be an exciting event. It’s a beautiful theatre, and hopefully, everyone will enjoy it.
I can’t wait. Okay, last question: what is electricity, where does it come from?
Oh, look, I dunno. It comes from the wires, from the supply authority out in the street and into your house.
But how does it get into the big wires coming in from outside?
Look, that’s all level 2 shit. I’m only level 1: past the point of attachment, which is inside the property. But, I mean, Gods got something to with it, y’know? It’s a collaboration between God and man, not unlike the show we’ve made.
To see if there are any free tickets floating around for the Redfern Electrical premier, get over to the Chauvel before 8 PM and suss out the box office.
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