The condition that forces Wil Anderson to live in chronic pain.

What most people don’t know about Australian comedian, podcaster, writer and television host, Wil Anderson, is that at only 43 years old, he lives every day in chronic pain.

Growing up on a dairy farm in Sale, Victoria, Anderson inherited what he identifies as the “… male mentality of not attending to those medical things in the way that I should.”

As he toured stand up shows around the world, Anderson used running as a means of stress relief.

“I loved running,” he told Mia Freedman on Mamamia’s No Filter podcast. “As a stand up always on the road, running’s just the easiest thing in the world.”

Wil Anderson speaks to Mia Freedman about living in chronic pain on No Filter. Post continues below. 

But in his early 30s, a little over a decade ago, he began experiencing problems with his back and hips.

Anderson saw physiotherapists and chiropractors, seeking an answer as to why a fit, young man, would be facing this sort of pain following exercise.

He spent thousands of dollars attempting to uncover the root of the issue, but in retrospect, regrets never demanding an x-ray.

“I did all this unnecessary stuff,” Anderson told Freedman.

It wasn’t until a doctor ordered an x-ray, that a diagnosis was determined. In his early thirties, Anderson was suffering quite severely from osteoarthritis.

Wil Anderson lives with osteoarthritis. Image provided.

"Part of it's genetic," he explained. The condition is aggravated by kicking ball sorts or karate, and Anderson played AFL growing up.


"It starts to rub and tear away," Anderson said. "It's particularly bad in my right. I kick with my right."

The pain he'd been enduring was a result of bone rubbing on bone, and despite the sensation, Anderson had continued to jog every day.

"I was in excruciating pain... all the nerves and whatever. I'd have days where I just couldn't do anything," he said.

Since then, Anderson has had to give up running, and now is unable to do anything other than walk. The adjustment was a difficult one.

Either ready for show or returned from the future to kill John Connor #Stan #fireatwil

A post shared by Wil Anderson (@wilarious) on


Anderson cites osteoarthritis as one of the reasons he doesn't "...  celebrate success as much as people would like sometimes."

The Gold Logie nominee said he has no interest in awards nights or after parties. "It comes a little bit from the dairy farmer thing," he reflected. There is always more hard work to be done tomorrow.

"Sometimes I'm going to get off a plane and I won't be able to walk for a while..." he said.

But he has adapted, and learned strategies to cope.

A decade on, Freedman asked if Anderson still lives in chronic pain.

"By other peoples standards, probably yes. But by the standards of how bad it was at one stage... like this is a deteriorating condition so it just keeps getting worse until you just have to get something done about it.

"It's probably at the point now where I should get my operations," Anderson said.

The comedian is optimistic that the medical science continues to improve, and hip replacements aren't the debilitating ordeal they were 10 years ago.

As painful as the condition has and continues to be, Anderson laughs that it has offered him plenty of new material.

You can listen to the full episode of No Filter with Wil Anderson, here. 

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