Chris Lilley: Happy to offend

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Chris Lilley isn’t afraid to offend. From his first hit mockumentary We Can Be Heroes, through the wildly successful Summer Heights High and most recently, Angry Boys, Lilley has proved that there’s no one he can’t dress up as and nothing he won’t gladly profane. Lilley’s latest venture, the Angry Boys Official Soundtrack: The Collectors Edition CD/DVD is out now – and complete with track names like Squashed Nigga, Grandmother Fucker and the S.Mouse classic Poo On You, it's a pretty clear indication he’s not about slow down. Just a few weeks out from launching Angry Boys on American HBO, the comedian took the time out to chat to inthemix about cross-dressing, getting cosy with pre-teen boys and how much he’s upset rangas – a lot, apparently.

Hi Chris. So, is it difficult to play women half of the time?
It’s actually the most difficult of all the characters. In this show it was really hard to play Gran and Jen because they’re both such intense characters, they’re leaders and really bossy and really loud and it’s really quite removed from what I’m normally like. I remember shooting Gran, it was just so uncomfortable and being around all those boys in the prison I had to sort of dominate them as Chris, as the boss/director of the show, but also as Gran. It just seemed wrong yelling at them as Gran!

And it’s a bit awkward being really female. It was strange…I shot Blake a week after Gran, and it was so relaxing – all the costumes off, just in shorts and t-shirt and so much more comfortable! But I like the challenge of stretching it to the point of being uncomfortable and embarrassed and looking hideous, as long as it’s funny and a compelling story. Gran was a nightmare because she had like corsets and like weird fake bums and boobs and everything…it was really tough!

So was she the hardest to perform then, out of everyone?
I think Gran was the hardest because it was so hot – the location was so hot, the costume was so hot. And the things she had to get up to, running around soccer fields swearing abuse at these boys and stuff…it was so real, because they were like these real kids that we found. I didn’t know what I was going to say half the time – it was a really hard situation to put myself in.

Do you know how hip-hop artists felt about the S.Mouse character? Did you get much of a reaction from anyone in the industry about it?
In the Australian hip-hop industry, for some reason, they’re always really behind everything I do – referencing me in stuff. Like Bliss n Eso and Hilltop Hoods and all those guys, just doing little references to things with S.Mouse – and there was that rappertag thing, I got so many requests for that, but it was hard to get involved. But I feel like they’re really behind it. It’s hard to say, I mean I haven’t talked to everyone!

But no noticeable instances of anyone getting upset?
No, no. But I don’t read everything. But everyone gets a bit upset about everything I do! It will be interesting in America because it’s a lot more about the American music industry, so it’ll be interesting to see how that hip-hop scene there takes it. I’m sure they’ll realise it’s a joke! I always worry like ‘Oh, the Tongan community’s going to be upset about Jonah’ or the Chinese community about Ricky Wong – but people just love it, they love being represented in the show, the references to themselves.

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