The Offici...


    Q. What was it like growing up in a show business family?
    A. Unusual to everyone but me. It became quite normal to come home from school to find Mum and Dad working on a dance routine in the kitchen wearing some weird hats or something for a new show somewhere.

    Q. When did you decide that you wanted to be an actor?
    A. I got my first acting work as a child over at the ABC in Bellbird, leading up to a lead role in drama series Marion. I knew then that acting, to me, would always be something I would love. During the last few years I have realised it's where the biggest challenges lay for me. I've worked hard to get my music and stand-up to a level I'm happy with. Now I want to keep building on my acting experience and develop the craft further. I've done a lot of acting work since those early days, even receiving a Green Room Award for "Best Featured Actor in a Musical", but there's always a new role ahead, bringing with it new challenges. I'd like to explore all mediums, but I'll always prefer live performance. There's an old saying: "Film is for money, TV is for fame, but theatre is what it's all about."

    Q. I've heard that you can tell a joke on any topic. Is that true?
    A. I suppose growing up around comedians, I've heard more gags than most, and I can recall most of them. On Hey Hey It's Saturday, we did a segment called, "Comic Relief" where members of the audience called out topics and we had to come up with a gag on that topic there and then. That was real pressure being live national television, so I decided to do some work on the concept and develop a database of jokes, so I'd be less likely to get caught out! Then I used the concept for a while in my live shows and later on radio station 3AW, doing on the spot gags for caller's topics. I suppose it's like a cook knowing a lot of recipes, or a pharmacist knowing a lot of medications and how to use them. But sometimes you have to be a little lateral in the application of the jokes. For example, if somebody asked for a joke on the sea, I'd probably do a joke about some sailors. I could do a gag about the sea, but the sailor joke is funnier. I'll tell it to you sometime.

    Q. Who is your favorite comedian?
    A. I like different comics for different reasons. Generally, I prefer the old comics like George Wallace Junior, Tommy Cooper, and Abbott and Costello because they were groundbreakers. Of the current batch of comics I enjoy John Pinette, Gary Shandling, and The Fast Show team. Locally, I've got a lot of respect for Australian Headliners like Greg Fleet, Vince Sorrenti, Haskel Daniel and Dave Hughes, all of whom I work with a lot. People often ask me who's the best going around in Australia, and I feel that there's a batch of about twenty comics nationally who, on their day, are the best.

    Q. What is your favorite comedy routine?
    A. The dialogue from the Warner Brothers cartoon, Rabbit Season, Duck Season. It's gold from beginning to end.

    Q. I'm a big fan of your mum and was wondering what she is doing now?
    A. Mum's great and really busy making appearances as a public speaker sharing her experiences from over sixty years in the industry. Every now and then we get a chance to work together. A few years ago we both toured Australia with Crazy For You and worked together in The Production Company's production of Anything Goes. She savours every opportunity to get back on the stage. Her spare time is dedicated to writing books. She's had three bestsellers and perhaps another on the way. It keeps her off the streets.

    Q. You're often photographed with your dog. Is she part of your comedy act or something?
    A. Her name is Stella. She's not actually in my comedy act as she tends to "upstage" Ė you never work with kids or animals in this business. I'm a Patron of The Lost Dogs Home. They do great work and I'm always trying to promote the causes of animals and animal rights. she came from there. My last dog, Steven, who we lost back in 2009 also came from a pound, and has been a great addition to my life and lifestyle. When I decided to get a dog, a year after my last dog had surrendered to cancer, I wanted to save a dog's life rather than go to a breeder, so I explored the local pounds. Steven was on death row after having been abused and abandoned. When I got him out of the enclosure, he was so excited he threw himself on his back and peed straight up in the air all over me! I figured he was marking his territory. We were inseperable from that point and when he died, in my arms, I was heartborken. But Stella has really made herself a part of our family. She's an amazing little chocolate kelpie. I'm really dedicated to worldwide efforts to reduce animal cruelty and suffering so I do whatever I can to help out the cause. I actively and financially support WSPA and Animals Asia.

    Q. What has been the highlight of your career to date?
    A. There have been so many. Different eras in my career have different highlights. Being Musical Director of a professional theatre company when I was nineteen, working in the United States as a piano bar performer when I was 21, seasons at Wrest Point and Darwin Point and dominating the early eighties piano bar scene in Melbourne were all early highlights.
    In comedy, my first season at the Comedy Club in 1990 was a break. Five years as a regular on Hey Hey It's Saturday, Battle of the Sexes and the Mo Award were all terrific.

    As an actor, my first big break was getting one of the child leads in the ABC series, Marion way back in 1973. Leading roles in the musicals 3 Guys Naked from the Waist Down, High Society, and particularly Crazy For You, for which I was amazed to win a Green Room award, were all highlights. Getting the role of "Nathan Detroit" in The Production Company's "Guys and Dolls" was fantastic. Performing the role had always been a dream. I've done 12 musicals since then and each one has been a blast. Playing a bad cop on Blue Heelers for the 7 Network was also a terrific challenge. I've been very lucky. And the luckier I work, the harder I seem to get. Or something like that.

    Q. Do you have any goals for the future?
    A. To keep working on my skills, helping up and coming performers, and supporting animal causes.

    Q. What about work related goals and challenges?
    A. Thatís a tough question to answer because thinking about it, I really have different challenges for the different areas of the entertainment industry I work in. After seeing so many great shows and performances on Broadway recently, such as The Producers and One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest my love for live theatre performance is stronger than ever. Although I went to New York to perform standup at the New York Comedy Club, I made sure the trip included lots of big Broadway shows.

    In regard to the MC work I do, every event I host is a new challenge and regardless of how many of them I've done, I give my all to whatever function I'm hosting. You never know when something unexpected is going to happen so you've got to stay on your toes. Your client sees their event as the most important thing you've ever done so you need to see it the same way. Focus and do your homework!

    As a writer, apart from jokes, itís my dream to one day have a show on TV and I plan to spend time over the next few years working towards that goal. We're currently working on a great script for a miniseries which we originally wrote as a theatre musical. Iím also developing some short film ideas at the moment.

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