Pauly Fenech has been creating nuggets of Australian comedy gold for TV, film and stage for over twenty years. Pizza was a late night SBS staple in my house growing up, and Housos is a cult sensation just to name a couple. He’s bringing his new live show to Geelong, and between the jokes, the audience thonging’s and the de-facto-at-first-sight segment it’s sure to be a unique performance with far more to offer than the run-of-the-mill stand-up show.
We got to have a chat to him ahead of his show at Geelong’s Sphinx later in May. Pauly’s stayed there before and reckons you have to try the feast, but most of all he’s just amazed a piece of ancient Egypt ended up in Geelong. He reckons “the theory of ancient aliens is proved by the discovery of The Sphinx in Geelong. It could only be ancient aliens mate.” Strap in.
Pizza first aired almost 20 years ago now, how did the original idea come about and how did it first all come together?
Well, I was a pizza delivery boy for a very short period of time so that was a bit of inspiration. Before that, when I was in high school I used to drive around in Valliant’s, and I used to go to the drive-in, and drive past this really lonely pizza shop. There were always just two guys in there watching TV. It always looked like it was empty, right? And I always thought how funny it would be to do a TV show about this really crappy pizza shop, even as a teenager I thought it’d be funny. So, I kept it in my mind, and then I did a bunch of short movies that won a few little awards and, next minute, it was a TV show. There you go…
You’re touring your new live show later in May, do you want to tell us a bit about it?
It’s a bit of a crazy show. It’s a mix of stand-up comedy and audience interaction, there’s a lot of videos and stuff people haven’t seen before… there’s thong slapping, there’s beer drinking comps. It’s really Aussie and it’s really adult. If you’re watching Disney every day or go to church about three times a week, it’s probably not your kind of show.
In the last twenty years, what have some of the highlights of your career been?
Definitely some of the threesome scenes in Housos, they were a highlight… and winning the Logie, of course. I never thought I’d win that. I got nominated like four or five times for Pizza and stuff, and the night of winning the Logie I just wrote it off and said ‘no chance’ so I got really pissed with Kev the Kiwi and I’m surprised I could actually even speak when I won the award. That was a highlight, just the fact that I could speak with the amount of alcohol that had been drunk prior to the speech. It’s all a highlight really – and it gives you a great life, comedy is just the best thing. What else can you manufacture that makes people feel good besides handjobs?
What sort of goals do you have left, any boxes you want to tick?
I’ve already done everything I could possibly do in Australia, there’s nothing else I could do. I’ve done radio, TV, film, stage, what else can you do, you know? Maybe it might be nice to try something in America – but then again, I’m in a movie with Paul Hogan that’s coming out this year which is an American movie. It’s got John Cleese and some very big stars in it, Mel Gibson, Olivia Newton-John. I got to do four or five pretty cool scenes with Paul Hogan playing a Mexican, so I was going to say I could do something in America, but I guess I have! I have ticked the box, there you go!
What’s that one called?
I don’t know if they’ve settled on the title, but I think it’s called the excellent Mr Dundee, or that was the working title anyway. I should’ve mentioned that, that was definitely a highlight. Working with Paul Hogan, ya know, you’re probably a bit too young to remember the TV shows of Hoges. I used to sit there as a little kid watching them, he was such a big star, and then he had that massive international success… he’s probably the biggest star Australia ever produced in terms of movies, at least until some of these new ones. Maybe Nicole Kidman but c’mon… you marry a Scientologist, I think you give up your citizenship when that happens, I dunno if she’s an Aussie anymore, I think she’s a reptilian.
How much practice does it take for you to jump those big metal back yard fences as smooth as Franky does?
Mate that’s just natural talent. That’s all I can tell ya, there are Olympic athletes who can’t jump those fences. I’ve challenged high jumpers and Cathy Freeman. I said, ‘C’mon jump the fence mate!’ she couldn’t do it. It’s just a natural talent that comes from running from cops as a teenager.
For fans of any of his shows, Pauly also let slip that there’s “going to be some fat pizza specials later. I can’t say where, or when, or how, or why, but Fat Pizzas coming back!”
Catch Pauly on The Plaza Tavern, Werribee on May 24 & Sphinx Hotel, Geelong – May 25.
Written by Liam McNally