I, WOODLEY

Co­me­dian Frank Woodley talks with QT Mag­a­zine about his new show that is com­ing to south-east Queens­land as part of the Bris­bane Com­edy Festival this month.

QT Magazine - - STARCHAT -

FOR 20 years the com­edy duo of Colin Lane and Frank Woodley wowed au­di­ences around the globe. Since they called it a day in 2006, Frank Woodley has crafted his own stage per­sona which, in truth, isn’t that much dif­fer­ent from the per­son he is, and that’s why au­di­ences love him. In fact, it’s fair to say he has evolved be­fore our eyes and he is con­stantly at­tract­ing new fans. “I think it’s true that for the vast ma­jor­ity of comics it is the case – that who you see on stage is who we are,” Frank said. “The na­ture that I’m a solo per­former, has seen my per­sona grow with me. “I’m about to turn 49 and as I’ve grown into that age I’ve found my­self talk­ing about kids, or just con­cerns I have in life…and that has re­sulted in this in­ter­est­ing evo­lu­tion where my per­sona has be­come a lit­tle more grown up. “It’s a bit pre­ten­tious but peo­ple were talk­ing about this when I was study­ing drama. They were go­ing on about ‘find­ing your in­ner clown’…which sounds a bit wanky…but that re­lates to the fact we all have a way of show­ing off or en­ter­tain­ing in a way that comes most nat­u­rally to us. “I made the Woodley TV se­ries which was an out­landish over- the-top non­sense show. My wife kept say­ing it was a doc­u­men­tary ... that stung but maybe there’s some truth in it what she said.” Frank brings his new show I, Woodley to the Bris­bane Com­edy Festival this month, and it has taken time for him to find his niche as a solo per­former, some­thing that took while to get used to. “At the Mel­bourne Com­edy Festival last there was a 30-year an­niver­sary event at the Re­gent Theatre in Mel­bourne. Colin and I got back to­gether and did a 10-minute spot, it was the first time to­gether since we split, even though we are still great mates…for me it was like putting on a beloved coat, or get­ting on a bike. “It felt so ef­fort­less, so com­fort­able and so I think while I don’t have the same feel­ing any more wait­ing for Col to do his bit in a live sit­u­a­tion, in say­ing that, it’s a pro­found place where my com­edy in­stincts have come from, over all those years. “I think be­cause The Ad­ven­tures of Lano and Woodley be­came a cult thing, for the most part even kids of about 10, more of­ten than not will tell me they love my TV show, that’s the one they are talk­ing about,” Frank said. “Still it does feel like Lano and Woodley is the greater con­nec­tion that au­di­ences have with me, that’s where they know me from, but I’m the youngest of seven kids so I’m grate­ful for any at­ten­tion.” This new show is di­rected by Bob Franklin, a vet­eran of the live com­edy cir­cuit and best known for his work with Jimeoin and on ABC’s The Li­brar­i­ans. Hav­ing some­one view the live show from a dif­fer­ent an­gle has taken away a lot of stress from Frank. “Bob sup­ported me in writ­ing then di­rect­ing this show. After a few months the show has gone through a few shifts, so I gave him a draft of it. “Next time we got to­gether he was bru­tal with the writ­ing, we went from 15,000 words over two hours to just 8000, which ended up be­ing a great im­prove­ment, as he has such an as­tute comic in­stinct and un­der­stand­ing. “His feed­back through the writ­ing process, and then through trial shows, has been quite ef­fort­less and I have to say you of­ten hear peo­ple spruik­ing their lat­est al­bum say­ing ‘oh it’s the best thing I’ve ever done’… they say that ev­ery time but the process of this has re­ally sur­prised me how easy it’s come to­gether with no

stress. “Nor­mally when I do trial shows be­fore tak­ing them on the road, it’s like hav­ing 60% of the show com­plete and it’s like an edit­ing process to get that other 40%. There’s lots of crash and burn but the first trial show for I, Woodley I’d say was 90% there. It’s worked re­ally well hav­ing Bob on board and I’m re­ally happy with the re­sult.” Frank loves do­ing phys­i­cal com­edy, and his he­roes in­clude Buster Keaton, Stan Lau­rel and Harold Lloyd, all from the early part of the 20th Cen­tury when short black and white films filled cine­mas across the globe. Frank will also tour later in the year with his show writ­ten for kids, called NoodleNut, and it’s a form of per­form­ing that Frank re­ally en­joys. “I’d done shows with kids in the past with Colin. I think it was a fam­ily day or some­thing and we just cob­bled stuff that we thought would be good for kids. “But when you write a show, know­ing that it is for kids, I have since found that I could per­form the same way now that I do with adults.“I did some shows and I thought ‘why haven’t I done this for the last 30 years’? “I have a rou­tine in the kids show when I come out suck­ing on a mango, talk­ing about how much I love man­goes and, when I get to the pip, it slips out of my hand like a bar of soap. Kids love it. “I used to do a sim­i­lar rou­tine with a gold­fish but the au­di­ence never re­ally re­lated to it, it just felt flat. But when it did it with the mango pip, I thought yes…I’ve found my peo­ple! You un­der­stand! You un­der­stand!”

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

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