Raunchy and full of laughter
ONE of Australia's founding comedians Col Elliot is back on the road bringing his raunchy roadshow and entourage of classic characters with him.
After a stint in the navy where he first discovered his comedic timing, Col started performing stand-up after leaving the force at 23.
"It was around in 1972-73. I had other jobs too like being a brickies' labourer but I really just wanted a new set of tyres so I went on Ken Dennis's New Faces. It was really by accident I got into at all but it just went from there. I've got a garage full of tyres now," he laughs.
Col Elliot says he used to do men's only shows in those days and developed quite a following but still didn't have any idea how popular he was.
"I never considered releasing any recorded material until some bugger started bootlegging me. I remember turning up for a gig and someone came up to me and said 'can you sign your album' and I thought what frickin' album."
And so Col started making his own, becoming the first Australian comedian to release a comedy album which went on to achieve gold and platinum status.
His career really took off as he was embraced by the likes of Bert Newton and picked up by EMI.
"I got a nice break in showbiz and was able to travel around the world and I've been selling albums, making DVDs and doing TV ever since."
Col has also just released his memoir In Between the Laughter, contains the stories behind the comedy and the man who many Australians grew up laughing along with.
And after four decades of performing Col has slowed down considerably since the heady days of live shows.
"I've been a busy boy but it's not the hard slog of the old days. Before I'd do six week tours and come home and do interviews and go straight back and do another tour. The kids were calling me uncle. It was no way to live. What I used to do in a month I do in a year now. Which is really nice."
Col said being a full-time comedian wasn't always a laughing matter especially when you are a bit unsure about where such an unconventional career was going to go.
"At the start you think this is not going to last so you work even harder. It gets to that stage where it gets out of control and you have no balance in my life."
Col must have worked it out eventually as he has been married for 41 years and is the father of three daughters.
When we spoke to Col he was at the Melbourne Zoo with his grand-daughter.
"My life is really good now. I travel overseas, go out fishing on my boat. Then when I want to vent I go out and do some shows," he laughs.
"And I still love it. I absolutely love walking out on stage."
Everything Col performs is inspired by things he hears and sees in everyday life. "I do conversational comedy, gag comedy and character comedy. I still enjoy coming out as Chooka my roadie or Slugger Mulligan with a guitar to sing Who Put the Sand in the Vaseline but everything's a work in progress.
"As soon as someone opens their mouth in politics we are all onto it. I'm forever writing. There's a lot of new material in this show, everything from the down-to-earth to the true blue raunchy comedy. I always take the mickey out of myself and talk about everything from my first job to men's health issues."
"We are all getting on. Kevin's (Bloody Wilson) in his late 60s and Rod's (Rude) also getting up to 70. We are definitely the last of the old blokes."
Col said he had always combined his humour with "my country and my stand-up" and despite four decades of laughs is still attracting new fans.
"I've had three generations come to my shows. You just have to see the Facebook comments. I think the key is to keep the classic stuff but keep it relevant. I do a lot of requests for people but lace it with lot of new stuff."