• Ben Ryan

Shad Wicka – when life gives you lemons, be thankful that life didn’t give you a coffee mug instead.

Ok so that title and the two happy snaps below are the only references I’ll be making to the time radio announcer Shad Wicka served the Prime Minister of Australia a hot mocha cuntacinno...

As I say, enough said. But it's on record, it happened, and I think it's fair to say that the fallout was a tough time for Shad. Personally, in a selfish way I'm kinda glad it happened because it forced him to move from Cairns to the big smoke which means I get to listen to him on the regular.

Shad is one of the funniest guys on Australian radio right now. When you hear him on air, something that immediately strikes you is the way his breaks feel so effortlessly funny, but the thing I like most is the way he is so consistently good. In a comedy sense, he never lets you down. I wanted to find out a bit more about his process.

Ben - Shad I listen to a lot of radio and mostly I hear radio announcers that are ok with occasional flashes of greatness. On the other hand there are rare presenters like yourself who seem to be able to maintain consistently great output over a long period of time. How do you manage to feed the content beast day in day out?

Shad - I need the money.....And it's fun to do! Its just radio mate. Get paid to talk about stuff and have a laugh? Yes please.

But I've also been lucky to have some pretty awesome co-hosts over the last few years who knew how to get me going. Push my buttons keep me motivated. Notably Illy Brophy and Carly Portch. They know a lot more than me and had a good idea on how to trick me into working harder, ha ha.

Ben - Some stand up comedians seem to thrive on air and yet some very talented ones struggle. Any advice for aspiring stand ups on radio?

Shad - Keep doing stand-up, ha ha. But if you must be on air...Listen. That's probably the biggest one for anyone doing a show with a team. Most of the gems pop up during the conversation so if you're not paying attention then you won't get the best moment. Also don't be precious, which is a tough one. On stage it's just you and the audience and that's awesome but in the studio it's not really a performance. I like it being a pub vibe. Just chatting away, and at any time anyone can be funny. If you can be ok with setting up as well as bringing it home the  you should be sweet.

Ben - You’re great at spinning a yarn in your stand up monologues, but when you’re on air I hear someone who is also a great ‘twitch thinker’ with the ability to bounce off others instantly with great lines. Is it a skill that develops over time or did you start back chatting the teachers at school from an early age and just never stopped?

Shad - Definitely had the classic "if Shad spent less time talking..." on my report cards. But you should get better at anything if you keep at it right?? So yeah it's definitely helped me being on breakfast most of my radio life. But I'm a smart arse and shit stirrer by nature. It gets me in trouble, as you've already hinted, but it also makes things fun. I'm the same with mates I've known for years. We sit around have a few drinks and rip shit on each other for hours laughing. I think doing that for so long means you have to be quick.

Ben - What does your show prep consist of? How often do you write down ideas or jokes? Is it a daily event that you do pre-shift or do you just come up with it on the fly, kinda go with the flow?

Shad - Depends. If it's a music shift it's really looking through the songs and then finding content that relates. But with the fun stuff (breakfast and team shows) I'll usually have some stories and an idea of where I want to go with them. I do the same thing for radio and standup. Notes in my phone about anything that happened. News. Stories. Some guy cut me off. Whatever.

But I rarely do a bit from on stage on air. They never quite worked. I think because I've already spent time getting it sorted for an audience where it's just me. When it's then brought on air it doesn't have the flow and might not follow the same path because hey, there's other people in this show and they have views on stuff. 

So instead I bring my stories and let it flow, Iike reacting to whatever the chat brings. If you write a joke or a punchline you can sometimes get caught up in wanting to hit that gag and the conversation becomes this laboured journey to that joke ignoring all the gold that pops up along the way. So screw that, I'll listen and hopefully what comes up on the spot is gold...or I'll set up someone else.

Ben - What's your ultimate radio gig? Scrap that question, what's your ultimate gig not just in radio but in any format?

Shad - I want the best of both worlds. Let me do my standup at night and just drop me in a team of funny people during Breakfast, drive, whatever.

My ultimate gig is having a good time and getting paid for it.

Know anyone hiring??

Ben - Thanks for your time mate. I'm glad I was able to get through the interview without making any cheap puns about your 'incident' or else I might have come off as a bit of a mug. Oops.

Check out Shad's website for upcoming gigs and some killer standup highlight videos.


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