Tim Ferguson was once a Doug Anthony Allstar.
In the late ’80s and early ’90s this popular Australian comedy trio thrilled audiences with a mixture of songs, schoolboy humour and pranks. They were high energy, confronting and if you attended their live shows you risked becoming the object of their jokes.
The trio had onstage personas that contributed to their notoriety. Paul McDermott was cute, Richard Fidler sweet and Tim was the meanest with a cynical, critical and unpredictable streak that was ever-ready to belittle those without provocation.
I interviewed Tim In 1991 when The Doug Anthony Allstars were at the height of their popularity. They’d won awards at the Edinburgh Festival, regularly performed on the ABC’s The Big Gig and sold out shows worldwide.
It was a daunting interview because the Allstars mixed fact with fiction to mislead and ridicule journalists.
It was no surprise, then, that during the interview Tim said the Allstars were filming Batman Returns — the Tim Burton directed feature. He spoke at length about working with Burton, and actors Michael Keaton and Michelle Pfieffer.
When the movie was released the Allstars were notably absent and it was clear that Tim had fabricated the whole story.
Twenty five years have passed since we spoke and the Doug Anthony Allstars broke up in 1994. When I caught up with him last night, I reminded him about this Batman story and he laughed.
“I’m really sorry about that, he apologised, “but that was part of The Allstars act.”
The act, he said, is getting back together for a tour later this year. Joining him will be Paul McDermott, but Richard Fidler has other commitments and will be replaced by Paul Livingston, a long time friend and fellow comedian.
The reunion is bitter sweet as Tim is suffering from multiple scheloris and confined to a wheelchair. However, he has a mischievous tone when he says there hasn’t been another Australian act at the Edinburgh Festival that set the room alight (literally).
Whether the Doug Anthony Allstars ignite any comedy venues on this tour is debatable.
One thing is certain, however, and that is that Tim no longer tells his Batman story.
I’m sure journalists everywhere will be relieved.
You can read Sue Bell’s original article with Tim Ferguson in Beat Street