Ferguson was in excellent form as he basically gave the audience a tour through his life and times.
A nice point was the mention of sedition. Beginning with his father, Tony, who was a war correspondent in the Vietnam years where the rest of the family was ensconced in Singapore while his father was in the field. Ferguson told of a family tradition which began when his father returned to Australia and with several ex-army journalists (Bill Peach and Richard Carlton among them) founded the television programme This Day Tonight. Purposefully controversial, the show aired such topics as lesbianism. Cue to clip of show in 1971. This lead to Ferguson senior’s dismissal from the ABC.
Subsequently the family moved to Canberra where Ferguson met up with co-conspirators Paul McDermott and Richard Fidler and formed a successful busking team. These bright young boys went on to form the Doug Anthony Allstars whose anarchic humour changed the face of contemporary Australian comedy.
Another hilarious film clip projected was footage of the ground breaking show Don’t Forget Your Toothbrush. After this Ferguson was seconded to the “Ideas Unit” for Channel 9. Here he and 30 assistants dreamed up notions for new shows. There was some hilarious footage shown here of dreadful proposed pilots which didn’t make production.
After Kerry Packer sacked him (in the nicest way) Ferguson began to take his falling incidents slightly more seriously but it didn’t stop him working. Together with legendary comic writer Marc Gracie he made television comedy Shock Jock, film Spin Out and worked on Good News Week.
Ferguson then devoted himself to the analysis of comedy. He has written two books about this and is a lecturer on the art of comedy writing on the international university circuit. He still tours with Paul Mc Dermott and Flacco, standing in for Richard Fidler who is happily welded to the ABC Radio show Conversations.
Ferguson is inexorably optimistic. Despite the limitations placed upon him he accepts few. He tried motivational speaking, “but he just got bored”. That quip sums him up perfectly, a humourist with remarkable will to live life to the fullest, prepared to laugh at himself in order to inspire people be brave enough to follow their hopes.
Those who missed this season will be delighted to know that he is booked to play the State Theatre in early June 2019
Serious Comedy presents
A Fast Life on Wheels
Venue: Middar Room at State Theatre Centre | corner of William & Roe Street, Northbridge, WA
Dates: 1 – 3 February 2019