Have an out­ra­geously good time

The Riverine Herald - - NEWS - By Kim­ber­ley Price

AL­WAYS bring­ing the laughs to the River­boats Mu­sic Fes­ti­val is the ou­tra­geous yet charis­matic Brian Nankervis.

Let’s be hon­est, there’s not many places he can go with­out bring­ing a smile to those around him.

For the fifth year, Nankervis will wel­come and guide you through, the week­end fes­ti­val. Promis­ing to bring along his trusty Fris­bee and stacks of mu­sic trivia, the co­me­dian, writer and pro­ducer is look­ing for­ward to one of his favourite events.

For those who aren’t fa­mil­iar with Brian Nankervis, his ca­reer has spanned more than 30 years. From star­ring in tele­vi­sion se­ries, be­com­ing a reg­u­lar on Hey, Hey It’s Satur­day and co-cre­at­ing Rock­Wiz, the 63 year old is a vet­eran of the Aus­tralian en­ter­tain­ment in­dus­try. Yet, the path of arts was not one he ini­tially fol­lowed.

“I came from a very con­ser­va­tive back­ground, a very quiet, gen­tle and con­ser­va­tive home life where art, mu­sic, the­atre and lit­er­a­ture were not a big part of our house,” he said.

“So I think, in a way I yearned for it.

“I fell in love with The Rolling Stones and ev­ery­thing they rep­re­sented was com­pletely dif­fer­ent from my home life.

“I sort of al­ways had this feel­ing that it would be great to per­form. But I never thought I could do it. It sort of hap­pened in a way with­out me re­al­is­ing it.”

In his first ca­reer, Nankervis was a teacher in Mel­bourne, a job which gave him some of his most dif­fi­cult au­di­ences to please.

“I think hav­ing spent six years as a teacher I learnt to per­form in front of an au­di­ence, the ba­sics of hold­ing a room full of faces and I en­joyed the per­for­mance side of be­ing a teacher.

“I’d al­ways been in­ter­ested in ra­dio. I’d done shows at 3RRR, while I was teach­ing and loved it but it was all vol­un­tary.

“I de­cided to have a break from teach­ing to try and get paid work in ra­dio. It quickly be­came very clear to me that was go­ing to be very hard.

“So I ended up work­ing as a waiter at a the­atre restau­rant in Mel­bourne called The Last Laugh which was a sort of breed­ing ground for co­me­di­ans.

“I was in­vited to be a part of an im­pro­vised soap-opera weekly show called Let the Blood Run Free. I kept wait­ing for them to say; ‘Look we’re go­ing to get a real ac­tor or a real standup co­me­dian now,’ but they didn’t and I kept do­ing it.

“I started de­vel­op­ing this char­ac­ter who was a poet, Ray­mond J. Bartholomeuz. Some­one saw me one night and said I should do it on Hey, Hey It’s Satur­day. And in 1986 I did, and I won Red Faces by re­fus­ing to ac­cept the gong.

“Then I be­came a reg­u­lar – that meant I was in about a mil­lion lounge rooms a week. I started do­ing stand up and that was about 32 years ago and I never went back to teach­ing.”

Nankervis’ ca­reer is one which is ex­cep­tion­ally var­ied. From dip­ping his toes in writ­ing, pro­duc­ing, act­ing, com­edy and the­atre, in the realms of the arts, there’s not many ar­eas he hasn’t ex­celled in.

One par­tic­u­lar suc­cess of the one­man Nankervis band has been Rock­Wiz; the mu­sic trivia show which has run more than a decade on SBS. “I love the va­ri­ety. “It’s hard some­times mov­ing from one area, or one au­di­ence or one style, it’s very chal­leng­ing and I think it keeps me match fit.

“I never dreamed we’d still be do­ing Rock­wiz 14 years later.

“I think we have al­ways cham­pi­oned the vet­eran per­form­ers but we’ve also cham­pi­oned the up and com­ers and I think that’s been a rea­son for its suc­cess.

“We came up with the orig­i­nal struc­ture - the two artists com­ing out, the ques­tions, the au­di­ence mem­bers and the duet at the end - in 2003 and we’ve re­ally stuck to it, that’s been solid the whole way, it’s been in­cred­i­ble.

“It’s been one of the great joys of my life and I’m re­ally proud of it.

“Un­for­tu­nately they’ve said they’re not recom­mis­sion­ing us, which is dev­as­tat­ing, but we’ll con­tinue to tour and we’ve got a whole run of shows lined up for this year.”

But if there’s one thing that de­fines Brian Nankervis, it’s his love of mu­sic.

As an avid fan and sup­porter of the clas­sics and the new­com­ers to the scene, Nankervis knows ev­ery­thing that needs to be known about mu­sic, artists and their songs.

He brings this knowl­edge, his in­fec­tious laugh, hi­lar­i­ous and witty jokes and that voice to River­boats once again.

“Get there at the start and leave at the end – it’s that sim­ple,” he said.

“It’s a re­ally, re­ally in­cred­i­ble fes­ti­val. With one stage, a lot of peo­ple re­ally like that there’s no mov­ing from stage to stage. It’s re­ally well cu­rated. The set­ting is re­mark­able with the big river­gums, the river nearby and the in­cred­i­ble lush green grass.

“Over the years I re­ally think the line-ups have al­ways been in­cred­i­ble.

“Get there early, I’ll be there to greet you at the gate.

“I’ll bring you in, I’ll set­tle you on your rug, we’ll have some quizzes, there will be some Fris­bee throw­ing, bring a hat, plenty of sun­screen and get set for a great time.”

Week­end passes to the 2019 River­boats Mu­sic Fes­ti­val have now sold out with only a few Fri­day night passes left.

For more de­tails and your last chance to pur­chase tick­ets head to river­boatsmu­sic.com.au

THE RINGMASTER: Brian Nankervis will MC River­boats 2019 — his fifth year at the helm of the week­end fes­ti­val.

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