Wil Anderson’s favourite objects: ‘My mates bought me a trophy that says Knob of the Year’

The comedian, TV and radio host talks nostalgic desk ornaments and ‘revolutionary’ gadgets

Wil Anderson wants to talk about fake news. For his latest TV gig, the longtime media personality is putting scams, false claims and dubious reporting under the microscope – all in the name of entertainment. Question Everything, which he co-hosts alongside Jan Fran, premieres on Wednesday at 8.30pm on the ABC. The eight-part series will enlist a rotating cast of comedians to take a look at the week in news and sort stranger-than-fiction stories from the downright phoney.

For Anderson, Question Everything is the latest move in a more than two-decade career that has spanned comedy, radio and TV. The ABC mainstay has also kept busy in the world of podcasting, hosting several of his own shows and helming the network TOFOP.

One $500 audio recorder has facilitated all of Anderson’s podcast ventures – making it the purchase he rates above all others. Here, he tells us about that very useful object, as well as the story of two other important belongings.

What I’d save from my house in a fire

This is one of the hardest questions I have had to answer, as apart from family members and pets, I am really not attached enough to anything I own to bother saving it from a burning house. I would be running as fast as my wonky old hips would take me. Luckily heat is good for warming up arthritic joints.

Being a standup comedian and living out of a suitcase, you get used to going without the more-than-basic life items. There is one thing, though, that I have kept since childhood. I don’t really care about awards; I’ve won some but don’t have any trophies at home – apart from when, in high school, I won the Victorian Lions youth of the year prize and my mates chipped in and bought me a trophy that says Knob of the Year. I still have that one on my desk, so I think I would grab that. Plus, it’s light and wouldn’t slow me down.

Wil Anderson holds his ‘Knob of the Year’ trophy
Wil Anderson holds his ‘Knob of the Year’ trophy Photograph: Wil Anderson

My most useful object

Without a doubt the most useful item I have ever owned is a Zoom H6 Handy Recorder. It cost me $500 six or seven years ago and since then I have recorded almost 1,000 hours of my podcasts on it.

When I started my career, recording an hour of comedy involved radio studios and producers and expensive equipment. Devices like the Zoom have been a relatively inexpensive way to democratise the making of entertainment. Because of this technology, there are now thousands of people around the world who can turn their idea into a show. That’s revolutionary.

Without that Zoom, our podcast network would not exist. That said, I wouldn’t save it from a burning house, I’d just treat myself and just buy a new one.

The item I most regret losing

I didn’t technically lose this but it is the thing I most regret not having any more. Many years ago my girlfriend and I decided to buy our dream car: a 1965 Ford Mustang. It wasn’t an expensive purchase but it was the car that we had always wanted, so we found an old one and had it lovingly restored over a few years until it was in perfect driving condition.

And just when it was finished, someone stole it. I think it actually would have been better if I had lost it. Just walked away one day and forgotten where I had parked. My favourite memory from the time is ringing the police and asking, “Someone stole my car, what should I do?” And the policeman just deadpan replying: “Well, mate, you are going to have to buy a new car.”


As told to Katie Cunningham

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