Double album and new book
Aussie favourite continues
to deliver the laughs
BY SHIRLEY BROUN
COMIC genius Col Elliott says he will never retire. “I’d get too bored if I didn’t do a gig,” he said.
In July the man who brought us characters such as Guissepe Lasagna and roady Chooka Dennis turns 65 and to mark the occasion he has launched a new double CD set COL-FESSIONS and will soon release his book `In Between The Laughter’.
You would have to ask yourself where would a man with such a massive data base (in his head) of funny stories, anecdotes, life adventures and gags actually start when it came to writing a book? “Actually after almost 42 years of hearing me tell all my stories it was my wife that told me to sit down and write them out before I got too old to remember them. It was a cathartic experience,” said Col.
The road to success
In Between the Laughter will present a comedic …. and sometimes serious … walk through Col Elliott’s life extending from early childhood to the present day told in the colourful personality’s own inimitable style.
“The stories include my early childhood and a little bit of sadness, joining the Navy `to get a new suit’, fighting in Vietnam at 17 and working on gun-line operations and dangerous stuff, my diving course in the navy and becoming an instructor … that was all before I even got into showbiz. Then meeting my bride of 41 years (Kaz and I are celebrating 42 years this year), having five grandchildren and one on the way. Plus a heap of stories from my career.”
Col says apart from his on stage persona and comedy not much is known about the rest of his life and In Between the Laughter will be a real eye-opener for most.
It wasn’t until Col left the Navy that he first turned to show business as a means of making a crust. “I’ve been working in the industry since I was 23 … long before the likes of mates such as Kevin Bloody Wilson and Rodney Rude first appeared on the scene,” he said.
Talk of the town
His natural down to earth Aussie wit took the attention of audiences almost immediately and early recordings were soon the talk of the town. Taking on different personas like an Italian describing the game of Aussies Rules kick started a fan base which now extends generations. “The record companies knocked me back at first then EMI took me on board and my album went platinum followed by 13 gold albums. The first cheque I got I paid off my farm!”
Television specials, national and international tours, CD and DVD releases and TV guest appearances became the norm for the talented Aussie son with the passion to make people laugh.
Enjoying an incredible run throughout the 1980s kept Col on the road for extended periods. “It was something I never expected especially as all I was qualified to do was track submarines,” said Col. “But I thought I could make a difference and I enjoyed it.”
Unfortunately, the hefty workload was cut short when at just 37 Col suffered a huge heart attack and lost 20 per cent of his heart muscle. “I took a lot of pills to keep me going. I had become a workaholic and went crazy.”
Since then Col has learned to balance his career with family life and says he couldn’t be happier. “You have to cherish what you have, time moves so quickly.”
“I still love showbiz and keep touring, recording, television appearances and charity work plus I’ve been writing my book and I don’t want to ever stop that but I also know the value of spending time with my family,” said Col.
Changing face of comedy
He says comedy has been good to him and he has been able to change with the times while still keeping his unique style. “There were not a lot of stand-up comics around when I first started and then all of a sudden it became popular. Everyone realised comedy was a great means of communication,” he said.
“It is a great place to air your views as well because you can say things masked in comedy. There is still room for conversational, musical and character comedy like I’ve become known for but most people don’t do all that any more. Many prefer straight stand-up satire, apart from acts like the Umbilical Brothers.
Col’s new album COL-FESSIONS is two hours of this comic genius at its best. It features some of his most popular stories to date. “The idea sprang from a radio show of the same name I did where I told stories about being on the road and the things that happened. It was obviously very funny and it became so popular that people would ring in and ask me to repeat the stories.
“Stories like when I was waiting to go on stage and had a bit of a wait. The organisers told me to help myself to what was in the fridge which I did only to discover I had eaten the raffle prize – a big crayfish. I had no idea!”
The Gold Coast-based performer admits he is thinking of new stories all the time and would be bored if not able to continue to perform and record. “Being diverse and giving value-for-money are important to me and you have to keep delivering something new. Do that and what I have found over the years is that people are loyal. I have the luxury these days of selecting the gigs I do. I don’t have a bucket list of things I want to achieve. I’ve already done it. My priority now is spending quality time with my family while still putting a smile on the face of audiences whenever I appear on stage. Life doesn’t get any better than this.”Tweet