All star comedy comeback


The Doug Anthony AllStars burst onto the comedy scene back in 1984, finding their place in the  hearts of satire-loving Aussies on the weekly Big Gig.

Around 1994 they disbanded, but now, more than two decades on, they make a comeback, with Tim Ferguson and Paul McDermott welcoming Paul Livingston to the stage in place of the now serious and very respected ABC host, one-time fellow DAAS dickhead and guitarist, Richard Fidler.

Tim Ferguson spoke with The Echo about getting the band back together.

So why did you get the ‘band’ back together?

We have un-finished business with Lismore. They know what we’re talking about.

What did it feel like stepping onstage again after all this time?

That was in 2013, when I could actually step (thanks for reminding me). It was daunting; they’re funny guys, with fashion sense and educated palates. These days, I get wheeled onstage. Much easier, especially when I’m drunk.

Why didn’t Richard do it? Is he too serious now?

Richard is too smart to hang around McDermott, Livingston and me. Plus, it’s hard to get a man in a tour van when he owns elite racehorses.

What has been the biggest challenge for you guys besides not having Richard?

Everything. Richard used to carry the luggage. And his telephone manner was impeccable. The voice! These days, we tour without luggage or telephones, so it’s very challenging.

What has the reaction been to DAAS?

The UK laughed, wept and gave us a prize (Edinburgh Spirit Of The Fringe Award).

The USA gawked at us with their customary dismay and horror. But they gave us their money. All of it.

What’s your show content – how much is new, how much is from the vault?

A couple of the pretty songs are back (for the mums and their new lovers). The rest of the show is a fresh collection of songs, witticisms and one joke. But we’ve kept the sex, violence and pet care – the classics.

You’ve been lecturing and teaching comedy now for some time. Does that make you more nervous about making mistakes or taking risks, or does it give you a better idea of what will work?

Teaching comedy writing is far more nerve-wracking than performing. Explaining irony to Americans is our nightmare! Onstage, there is nothing to fear. We’re the Doug Anthony Allstars – it’s the audience who are nervous.

As for mistakes, we make them all the time, often on purpose.

What’s the weirdest thing that’s happened on the road thus far?

The Byron Bay hippy couple. Joyous at the time but, once we thought about it, unacceptable.

It’s a weird career, comedy. Did you ever stop and wonder what the hell you were doing? What did you do after that?

Comedy is a perfectly normal career. It’s travelling salesmanship. Working 9–5 goes against every human instinct.

What should we expect for your show in Lismore?

Nudity, comedy, gratuitous filth, hillsongs you’ll love. And a tongue.

DAAS play Lismore City Hall on April 6

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