Dan Ilic walks into the room confident and ready to engage his audience. He starts with great energy which immediately fills the space with his presence. One could easily tell that he is in a familiar space, it is just another workday for him.
He calls himself an investigative humourist which brings elements of journalism and comedy together. He hopes to educate and entertain audiences and he has been honing his craft for the last ten years.
He has devised a personal formula to deliver content where he combines facts with jokes and call them ‘Infobombs’. “Infobombs, if done right, can galvanize a group of people and move people to change on an issue,” says Ilic.
It all started off from his parody of the “Where The Bloody Hell Are You” campaign by Tourism Australia. The parody went viral and it was then he realised that starting conversations and causing a little bit of trouble was what he was most interested in. He found it really fun to do and was addicted from that moment on.
He is clearly not one to shy away from controversy and has since applied his brand of comedy on a variety of topics such as racism, climate change, conflict etc. “There’s no topic that I don’t think you can deal with humor, ” says Ilic. “I tend to just try and make sure my jokes are pointed, and it’s pointed the right way, and … they are attacking the right subject for the right thing. I always try and punch up, not down.”
Ilic does not consider himself an activist but just someone who likes sharing content he finds interesting. He reveals that creating content can involve months of keeping track of a story. He likes to listen to why people are feeling the way they are feeling so that it can inform the things he create. He even goes online to follow things that he does not believe in so he can understand what people who do not think like him are thinking.
The success of Ilic’s approach has given him the opportunity to work in foreign media. His experience has him further convinced that Australia’s media landscape is far behind from the rest of the world, due to a lack of will and flexibility to change. He points out the lack of diversity in mainstream media as one of the obvious differences.
“Because MediaWatch has a rusted old audience, they think that they need to gingerly walk around that audience and give them the same thing that they’ve always had.”
However Ilic asserts that this is not the case. When he did Hungry Beast, a television show structured as a hybrid between a current affairs program and a comedy show, he had more silver haired people than young people stop him on the street to give compliments. “It’s really nice to see that even an older audience can understand new forms of production,” says Ilic.
He sees the future of media in the digital space and encourages television producers today to think about new ways of telling stories. “I think if you’re going to create a television show in 2015, you need to be thinking of it as a digital first show and consider how this is going to travel online,” he suggests.
Despite his frank criticism of Australian media, Ilic believes that this is not a time for pessimism about the media, this is a real time for optimism. Soon people who grew up with digital media will be entering the industry and he deems them primed to take over in a really strong way. Ilic advises millennials who plan to join the media industry, “…really listen to what your instincts are and trust yourself, because it’s basically your world.”
For a dose of his humour, click HERE