Published on March 11th, 2015 | by admin

Tim Ferguson Interview (Doug Anthony All-Stars) – Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2015

Hey Tim, welcome to Impulse Gamer! How’s your day been?

It’s been good thanks, we’re rehearsing with the boys [Paul McDermott & Paul Livingston]. That’s them in the background so just hang up if they become too annoying.

So Tim, what are you most looking forward to at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival this year?

The great fun working with Paul McDermott and Paul Livingston and as you can hear in the background, they are very funny chaps so I kind of get the easy ride in the show. They’re so funny that I don’t have to be funny and it takes a lot of the pressure off. So I just have to sit there and look good! It’s also great being back at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival after a few years where we played the Town Hall in 2013 which was great fun and it’s so nice to be back with the guys again.


So what was the catalyst of getting the band back together for another season of the Doug Anthony All-Stars? 

It’s just a license to have fun and there’s no other business we’ve worked in where the license has been so fun and completely open. We’ve all worked in network television, record companies and publishing houses and we’ve been comedians in our own right but there is a certain amount of complete dangerous fun that being a Doug Anthony All-Star allows.

So the spiel on the Melbourne International Comedy Festival boasts that you guys have over 100 years of live comedy experience… that’s 100 years… does this make you feel old?

Oh we are old! We’re in our early 80’s and it hasn’t made us any wiser but it may have made us funnier. I also need to laugh at, not laugh with… so yeah, we’re quite proud being old!

It’s good to hear that the Comedy Festival is not just a young man’s game then?

Not at all and since when was it a young man’s game? You have to tell that to Billy Connolly who is still performing. It’s any body’s game such as old woman who likes to be funny to the new neophyte 15-year old comedians. Making people laugh is a universal prerogative which doesn’t matter if you’re old and we’re certainly old!


So it’s an intergenerational festival?

Melbourne is very good for that and there aren’t many old comedians in the festival which is our point of differentiation which is why it went so well the last time we were in the Melbourne Comedy Festival. We were the only people not working in flannel shirts pretending to be working class when everybody knows we live in Northcote! <laugh>

So by trying to keep you comedy fresh, what is the process you guys use to fine-tune your humour?

It’s quite an esoteric process that includes going back and forth, repetition and as you can hear in the background, it’s gone all quiet and contemplative. There’s no particular regime at the moment and <interview interrupted by Paul McDermott with some choice cursing>. See, he’s already starting… but Paul’s got this marvellous song that he and Livingston are putting it together musically and as the hood ornament of the group, I don’t need to worry about it like what cord goes where.

So they’re putting their song together which is a different way of looking at Mathias Cormann, the finance minister that is guaranteed nobody else has looked at him in quite this way, not even his close relatives. So we knock it around, we try a few jokes, it’s all very organic and Paul’s come in with a skeleton and we all make it work. <laugh>


You guys are famous for your music, what else can we expect from this current instalment of the Doug Anthony All-Stars?

There will be the Mathias Cormann song and there will be stuff about war, sex, death, politics and a bit about religion. It’s a little bit violent but only in a very domestic kind of way and hopefully pressing the buttons that nobody else is pressing. One thing we’ve always tried to do is talk about the stuff that nobody else is talking about.

So Tim, who do you think the funniest is out of all three of you?

It’s definitely Paul Livingston, he’s the creator of Flacco. He’s just funny and gives great faces on stage, has impeccable timing and is a comedic genius. He’s the only person in the world that Paul and I are polite too!

You mention politics before, if Tony Abbot and Malcolm Turnball were put in a cage fight, who do you think would win?

Whichever one is wearing the dress [laugh]

Good answer Tim and when you’re on stage, do you still get nervous? Or are you the ultimate veteran comedian now?

There’s only a perpetual state of nervousness in this group because we improvise a lot, so a lot of time when we’re going on stage, we don’t know what’s going to happen. We don’t so much get nervous about that but have an ongoing nightmarish trepidation! Nervousness is for wimps, it’s for something that people feel when they are going to sing in front of nanna. We go on stage knowing that everything will collapse in a terrible miserable heap <laugh> and blame will be cast! That’s how the shows have always worked!

With that said, will there be any audience participation and should people be scared in the front row?

There is no audience participation but if we get the audience involved, there’s no participating because they just take our orders. So it doesn’t matter where you sit because proximity is no more dangerous than sitting at the back row <laugh>.

So besides performing with the rest of the Doug Anthony All-Stars, will you guys be catching up with any of the other comedians?

We’re very fond of Ronnie Chang, Anne Edmonds, a duo called Wrongtown and Justin Hamilton. There’s lots of comedians this year that we have an enormous affection for so we’ll check them out.

Before we go Tim, do you have any words of advice for the younger comedians?

Don’t hang around comedians, they either want to fuck you or kill you.  It’s bitchy, stupid and most of the time we’ve never really hung around comedians before which is why we’re on in Yarraville. <laugh> We don’t need to climb any slippery poles as we bring our own poles, we are our own click and we don’t need clicks of others. Also, comedians are often very depressed people and not that great company. We prefer hanging around lumberjacks and mechanics <laugh>.

Thanks again Tim and all the best for your Melbourne season of the Doug Anthony All-Stars!

To learn more about Tim Ferguson, visit his official webpage at and to see the Doug Anthony All-Stars Live at this year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival, visit

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