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Byron Shire
June 1, 2023

Interview with Austen Tayshus

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Austen Tayshus playing in front of the only crowd in Australia he believes actually ‘gets’ him, in Byron Shire and surrounding areas.

Austen Tayshus – I was born funny

Wikipedia says: Austen Tayshus, born on 17 March, 1954 (despite what he says) is the stage name of American-born Jewish Australian comedian Alexander Jacob Gutman. He is best known for the 1983 comedy single Australiana, a spoken word piece that is filled with Australian puns; it is Australia’s best-selling single ever.

A tall man at 6’6”, he appears on stage wearing a black suit and dark sunglasses. He is characterised by a resonant deep voice. He is often moody, and taunts his audience and the venue staff.

Mandy Nolan says Austen Tayshus is dangerously funny. ‘Austen likes to make people think, push them to the brink of their comfort zones and sometimes way over the edge. He is a lone wolf – but be warned – he’s a lot more dangerous. There are few comics with the tenacity and killer instinct of Austen Tayshus. ‘

Seven wanted to find the man behind the comedian and asked Mr Tayshus a few important questions – the tone of the answers was not unexpected.

Does being Austen Tayshus ever get old? 

I have been doing this thing for 40 years, hard to believe I’m 41 on Friday. It seems like yesterday that Scummo became PM and Hillsong is only 35 years old. Time for him to go. Bring back John Curtin or David Williamson. Vote 1 Mandy Nolan. Never get sick of this. Dying on stage at 107 is the plan. Not in Tea Gardens.

Is finding new things to be funny getting harder as you get older and the world gets more jaded?

Being funny has never been an issue. I was born funny, unlike Elon Musk. That’s the thing with Stand Up, you got it or you don’t got it. If you don’t, give it away, give it away, give it away now. You don’t want to end up like George Smilovici.

Do you find things in life that can make you laugh?

Everything comes from living. Being a human is a great source of humour, particularly those who take themselves seriously, like Barnaby Joyce and Tony Abbot for example. Unfortunately there isn’t an alternative to being vulnerable, so we are all füç#éd. Why not be funny about it all? This is why I have been so successful and become so rich.

Do you bump your head on lots of things?

COVID is very frustrating – as a very attractive 35-year-old male I hate being hit on and abused by so many people for not wearing my mask. I think only ugly people should wear masks. Makes sense.

What brings you joy?

My grandkids bring me joy, even though I have none. Also unvaccinated people are great to argue with because they are unmovable. I make it a point to engage them publicly and loudly. This brings me immense pleasure.

See Mr Tayshus with special guest, Mandy Nolan.
Wednesday 5 Jan, Bangalow Bowlo, 8pm.
Thursday 6 Jan,The Regent, Murwillumbah, 8pm.
Monday 10 Jan, Byron Ex-Services Club, 8pm.
Thursday 13 Jan, Federal Hall, 8pm.
Friday 14 Jan, Mulum Ex-Services, 8pm.

Tickets $30 on trybooking or mandynolan.com.au

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