Lehmo on standup, radio and playing for Australia

‘It was never a goal of mine to do radio.’

Anthony Lehmann never saw himself doing standup. 

In the latest episode of podcast ‘You’ve Gotta Start Somewhere’, Rachel Corbett explores Lehmo’s path from regular country kid with no comedy aspirations, to one of Australia’s best-known media personalities.

Life in Peebinga, SA, where Lehmo grew up was underscored with a no-nonsense approach to the future.

No fancy bullshit. You either become an accountant at best, a teacher or nurse. They really put a lid on your dreams. It meant no-one really had big dreams.’

But with a natural talent for comedy and a good memory for jokes, Lehmo was already on his way. 

‘Could you always tell jokes?’

‘I was a big joke teller, and I had an incredible capacity to remember jokes. I could go to our football club on Saturday night and tell jokes for three hours.’

Lehmo spent ten years working as an accountant before the idea of doing standup took shape: ‘I wanted to play footy for Hawthorn and cricket for Australia.’

‘It never occurred to me that [standup] was something I could do for a living. And how it started was I was 24 and a mate of mine in Adelaide said there’s comedy on at this venue, I said cool, l’ll come with you. And we saw this show, it blew my mind it was so funny.’

A friend of Lehmo’s nominated him to get on stage the following week, Lehmo wrote a five-minute bit, and standup suddenly seemed less elusive. 

‘That’s been my life. None of my path has ever been pre-planned. I’ve never sat down and set goals and achieved them. Colin Hay said, “I never made a plan, I just followed the plan in front of me”.’

Lehmo’s break in radio came after Marty Sheargold announced his departure from Adelaide’s SAFM and Craig Bruce was set on finding a local replacement. After Lehmo’s name was thrown in the mix, Bruce picked up the phone and offered Lehmo a slot on the breakfast show. 

‘It was never a goal of mine to do radio. Craig was amazing, airchecked me everyday and I was forever grateful for it. He gave me so many great radio tips and sharpened my act immensely,’ said Lehmo.

Asked for his thoughts on the worst thing about the radio business, Lehmo said ‘the uncertainty. You could get fired at any moment from any of these jobs. You’re never fully comfortable. 

‘For an industry that sacks so many people you’d think they’d get better at it. I’m not sure what the perfect sacking is. 

‘But the best thing is the freedom to do whatever you want. Being the master of your own destiny.’

Listen below.

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