May 29, 2017
The Australian satirist and TV presenter is obsessed with Google Maps but admits he prefers to lose himself on holidays. Interview by Kate Barracosa.
What’s your worst technology habit?
Walking while looking at the phone. It’s one of those things you hate other people doing then find yourself doing it.
Have you ever run into anything as a result?
Yes. Because everyone does it, no-one is looking up so it increases the chances.
How much time do you dedicate to technology each day?
Way too much. I’m either writing on the computer or flicking through my phone, looking at Twitter.
Is Twitter where you spend the most time?
Yes, sadly. I get a lot of my news that way.
Do you feel pressure to be funny in your posts?
Sometimes but it’s a bit of a mix. I can be serious but I’m more likely to post a joke than get into a long conversation.
Do you recall why you joined Twitter?
Somebody told me I should get my handle before someone else did. I didn’t use it for a while but then I got into it
How did you get the verification tick?
That was quite hard. I got it after being at several of the same events as a Twitter rep and constantly harassing them. I still use the profile photo from when I signed up; it’s a giant prop that was hanging in The Chaser office. That might be why it took me a while to get the tick...
What websites do you frequently visit?
I mostly go to The Sydney Morning Herald as a starting point, although I end up all over the place: The Guardian, The New York Times, The Australian. When I’m browsing websites, I’m reading news.
What about apps?
I’m a Google Maps obsessive, even though I generally know my way around. I’m a massive Evernote user, too. I’m quite boring – I don’t play games on my phone. My kids [aged 15, 12 and 10] get frustrated that there aren’t any games apps.
Is that a strategy to stop them from taking your phone?
It’s the only way to keep it away from them!
Do you upgrade often?
No, I use technology until it dies. I tend to get years out of my phones.
What are your thoughts on recycling?
As part of the TV series War on Waste, we’ve been looking at e-waste. It’s amazing how many of us store phones at home thinking we’ll use them again and we never do. It’s a real problem. We should be recycling them.
What technology do you wish existed?
If I had an answer to that, I’d be a millionaire! I wouldn’t mind a phone with a battery that lasts more than four hours or I’d love to have a solar-powered battery.
Have any gadgets changed your life?
Drones are awesome; they allow you to get the most amazing footage.
Have you ever operated one?
No. Watching someone else operate one makes me realise I’d crash it very quickly.
Do you ever have tech-free time?
The best part of a holiday is not looking at my phone. And we try to go away where there’s no internet so the kids can’t use it.
What do you tell your kids about using technology?
I’ve got two kids in high school and one in primary school and it’s a constant battle to get them to use it less. They’re pretty savvy. Though, surprisingly, there are times when Dad has to help them out.
Do you consider yourself tech-savvy?
Reasonably but I’m not the earliest adopter of anything. Once someone else figures it out, I’ll get on board.
Is there anything about your tech habits that you’d like to change?
I’d like to waste less time on Twitter and figure out how to use Snapchat. My kids are right into it but it’s another world to me. ￼