Scoop’s Sasha Louise caught up with comedian, director and producer Paul Fenech to chat about bogans, thongs and what he’ll be getting up to in 2018.
Paul is on his way to Queensland for the next leg of his tour when we chat, and he’s feeling great about his upcoming shows in WA; ‘it’s where some of my biggest fans are’ he says.
Winning a Logie for Housos a few years back came as a surprise to the multi-talented comedian who explains that, as he was leaving the auditorium that night, ‘I had a bloke come up to me and say that I’d hit his missus with a thong after I’d been throwing thongs out into the crowd.’
‘I thong a lot of people, they love it, so when you think about it I should go for a world record. I must have thonged the most butt cheeks in the world. I do a lot of that in the show so I’m thinking I might have to do a world record – a thousand bare asses, there we go.’
Paul created Fat Pizza by drawing on experiences he had as a teenager driving past pizza shops with guys watching TV and no customers in it. He also worked as a pizza delivery driver for a while and used the crazy characters he came across to inspire the show, which SBS took on for 5 seasons. After it ended on a high, Paul moved on to Swift and Shift Couriers for 2 seasons – again drawing on hilarious real stories to create a show about life in a courier company.
Given his knack for using real-life situations to make hit shows, when Paul stumbled across the housos culture he immediately saw the potential for a show. ‘Housos is, for me, part of a tradition in Aussie comedy that is being eroded in the current climate of nanny state political correctness,’ he says. After Housos finished a two-series run on SBS, Paul says ‘Bogan jokes were the number one jokes in Australia, so we had to do a show about Bogans’. Reality show Bogan Hunters was born – 7mate’s second highest rating show to date.
Bogan Hunters was born from ‘good Aussie characters,’ he says.
‘I love funny people, and they’re some of the most naturally funny people I’ve ever met in my life. I love subcultures, I love the underdog and I love comedy.’
With an equal love for both touring and filmmaking, Paul has been making movies and TV for 15 years and touring for the last 2 years.
‘Making film is like a relationship, whereas a stage show is like a one night stand. I think it’s good as long as you‘ve got a good mix of the two.’
Film-maker, writer, director, producer and actor, how does he wear so many hats? ‘I was bitten by a razorback spider with superpowers,’ he jokes.
He’s looking forward to heading to WA soon and when asked what we can expect from the show in Perth, he says, ‘who knows what kind of mayhem there’s gonna be, there’ll be my new single, lots of comedy and lots of videos they’ve never seen. It’s gonna be a mad, funny adult comedy – don’t bring the kids whatever you do – but its good adult comedy.’
His new song Smash It With a Thong – a rock tune song that starts with sirens blaring – is Paul’s ‘public service message’. ‘Everyone’s got so many dramas in their lives these days,’ he says. ‘I wanted to sing a song about how you can fix all your problems, if you just get a thong and smash them, then they’ll just go away.’
Next up, Paul is due to release his new book The Bogan Bible, which forms the basis of another national tour next year, along with the continuation of his solo tour and the possibility of a new TV show. It’s a busy year for him then? ‘I love it, I love it,’ he replies. ‘I used to have a real job but this is much easier.’
Fat Pizza + Housos is at the Astor Theatre on Dec 1 and at Goldfields Arts Centre on Nov 30. Find out more.