Ben’s a class clown

Comedian and teacher Ben Tiffen. 178231 Picture: STEWART CHAMBERS

By Casey Neill

A Dandenong teacher-turned-comedian is on the Melbourne International Comedy Festival bill.
Ben Tiff started stand-up just over four years ago.
“That was just before my 40th birthday,” he said.
“It’s just a passion that I’ve always had.
“I really dragged myself out of my comfort zone.
“The first time I did it I pretty much felt sick in the stomach.
“The second time I did it, it wasn’t much better.
“For some silly reason I persisted.”
In his first full-length show, Tiff Upper Lip, Mr Tiff will cover his speed dating business succumbing to Tinder and uncovering an awkward family secret at a dinner party.
“I still get nervous, but it does wonders for your confidence,” he said.
Mr Tiff is the head of English at the Narre Warren South Prep to 12 College.
“Being in front of a captive audience every day such as a classroom really does help,” he said.
“My comedy has helped my teaching as well.”
He said he’d always been more of a writer than a class clown.
“People who are funny socially don’t make great comedians,” he said.
“I’m not very spontaneous.
“I really like to write and craft my work until I get it just right.
“There’s a lot of work that goes into comedy that you don’t see.
“They say professionals should write an hour of new material every year.
“That doesn’t sound like much until you start doing it.
“It’s taken me four years and this is a showcase of my best work in 40 minutes.”
Friends and family will be in the audience to lend support.
“It gets a bit frustrating sometimes because you often get asked to tell a joke,” he said.
“I feel extremely unfunny in those situations.
“A lot of people are actually terrified that I’m going to write jokes about them.”
Mr Tiff would like to take his comedy “a bit further one day”.
“Whether it’s just in the comedy clubs or whether it’s by doing something a bit different,” he said.
Tiff Upper Lip is playing at 8pm from Friday 13 to Friday 20 April at the Kingston City Hall.
St Kilda Comedy Club is producing the show.
Visit www.comedyfestival.com.au for tickets.

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