A couple of standup guys
MELBOURNE celebrity TV panellist and standup comic Peter Helliar, who with Tom Gleeson will do a show at the Port Douglas Yacht Club on Saturday, October 14, is happy to get out of town for a gig.
“People used to ask me my favourite gig and I would tell them I love playing regional places because those audiences really appreciate it when you come to town.
“And then the more I said it I realised I hardly ever get to do those dates anymore.
“So I said to my manager that if anyone from a rural area wants me to go out there then to let me know and I’ll do my best.
“I’ve known Tom for years and it’s the same thing with him.”
So that helps explain why two of the most recognised faces on national TV are leaving the bright lights of the studios for the lower wattage of a regional town (albeit one in paradise – a point not overlooked by the pair who are bringing their families too).
Helliar still does heaps of standup – in fact, he sees it as his mainstay. “It comes in waves a little bit,” he said.
“Usually around February it’s the start of the festival circuit and you’ve got to start getting match fit.
“I’ve done a couple of gigs recently and I’ll have done a couple more before I get to Port Douglas.
“I still consider myself a standup comedian who happens to do some other stuff.
“I never wanted to be one of those guys who steps away and then it goes pear-shaped as soon as you step back into a room for the first time in years. It’s important to me to keep it up. I love it. And it’s still the biggest test in the area I work in, to get on stage with nothing but a microphone.”
Helliar has made this test a bit harder by having Tom Gleeson on the bill.
“Tom, I think, is the best standup guy around at the moment,” he said. “Then one day it dawned on me I’d have to be going on after him.”
One thing they have sorted out is the funniest guy issue. It’s officially in the contract that they are equally funny, he joked.
And to sort out who follows whom, they toss a coin, and then next time the other guy goes first.
Peter Helliar and Tom Gleeson: On the same bill and officially equally funny