HOW I MAKE IT WORK
WHEN IT CAME TO FULFILLING HIS LIFE-LONG DREAM OF WRITING A BOOK, THE 41-YEAR-OLD COMEDIAN TOOK INSPIRATION FROM HIS BIGGEST CHAMPIONS: HIS JOYFUL GRANDPARENTS AND ADORING SONS
Comic Peter Helliar’s grandest admirers.
Growing up, I had very loving grandparents. They were really hardworking, decent people who were fun to be around – there was always laughter with them. I like to think they helped to shape me as a person. In my children’s book, Frankie Fish And The Sonic Suitcase, 12-year-old Frankie teams up with his grumpy grandpa to save the family from a time-travel disaster. My grandparents were the polar opposite of grumpy.
I lost one of my grandads when I was quite young, around 10 years old. My dad always says to me, “Grandie would be so proud of you and what you’re doing.” My other grandad was my biggest PR agent. He’d be down at the bowls club, or in the nursing home later in his life, spruiking me and making sure people watched me on TV.
One of my greatest memories is watching my grandad win a bowls championship. He said, “When I die, this trophy is yours.” I have the trophy in my office at home.
When Nan passed away a couple of years ago, the whole family was around her. We cried together and had some great laughs. Being together meant a lot. Nan got into her nineties and I was very appreciative of the time we had with her, but there is still no escaping the sadness.
I’ve always wanted to write a book. My mum says I always had a pen and paper in my hand when I was growing up. I’d write little stories and they were really my first foray into entertainment. One of my finest works was Indiana Helliar, a parody of Indiana Jones with all my friends from school as characters. The other one was Me, The Sports Star, which was basically me winning sports competitions around the world.
I had come to the conclusion that I was running out of time to make a Pixar film for my kids before they grew up. So when it came to writing Frankie Fish, I was just thankful for the opportunity.
My three boys have always been pretty inspiring for my comedy. They became a beacon of material for the book.
I read the first chapter to my youngest son, Oscar, who’s eight, and he gave me the best review I could ever ask for. He said it reminded him of [UK comedian and author] David Walliams. I was like, “Wow. I’ll take it. You might get on the front cover with that quote.” Frankie Fish And The Sonic Suitcase (Hardie Grant, $14.99) is out in March.