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Clive James interview 1987 3/4 Peter Cook, Barry Humphries

Mar 31, 2024
and Peter unleashed Dame Edna on an unsuspecting public. Was it a success from the beginning? No, not really. I think Edna started her London career here in Britain as a dismal failure. I think Pika is so skilled at guessing talents where it wouldn't otherwise be evident. I met many years ago when she was playing an undertaker in Oliver, which was a musical version of Oliver Twist. No one thought that she would still be running somewhere. He was in Beyond the Fringe. I was in Oliver. We were neighbors in the West End and someone gave me. I gave him one of my first Australian-made gramophone records.
clive james interview 1987 3 4 peter cook barry humphries
I don't think they even call it gramophone records anymore and he thought I had promised him and a couple of years later he had founded a satirical nightclub in Soho called The Establishment, it was the A clever place to go and a lot of Very talented people did Harold Macmillan impressions there, among other things, and he hired me to go there and do my Australian monologues, one of which, of course, was Edna and no one laughed at all. I remember the first night. The discerning public very quickly recognized my lack of talent and all the germs in the bar, except the ban on bat-gas.
clive james interview 1987 3 4 peter cook barry humphries

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clive james interview 1987 3 4 peter cook barry humphries...

Yes, that's a real name for a real person. He was then the drama critic of The Spectator and he alone. I stayed and watched the show. He was sitting at a small round table about a meter away from me and he could see that he hadn't shaved my legs, so that was it. I thought I'd never play these Australian characters in London again, although Peter Cook thinks they're funny, but what do they think of you in Australia? Well, you just have to trip, you know, to get trampled to death and my wonderful son, Bronzetone Landon. I remember one time, from time to time they have a campaign against For me, let's be frank, it's hard to believe that this could happen, but my wife gave me a little son six years ago and I took him home to see my mother in a suburb from Melbourne.
clive james interview 1987 3 4 peter cook barry humphries
We looked out the Sun room window where my mother was sitting like she was listening to a transistor radio I said here's Oscar you know my mother said Shh listen to this she said this is what they think of you Barry and a disc jockey called Patrick Tennyson all They are named after poets in Australia I was


ing housewives about how bad it was for Australia and the woman said well I agree with you Patrick. I've never seen Brian Humphrey shows. I'm sure he gives a very bad image of Australia and that's blowing up this migrant son coming here. and my mother didn't look up one bit and said that's what they think of you, Barry, that's what they think of you.
clive james interview 1987 3 4 peter cook barry humphries
I couldn't get a word out, so I went to another room and called the radio station as Edna. I contacted him immediately. I entered the program and said hello Patrick, I'm Dame Edna. I just listened to your program and I totally agree with you. Larry Humphries is an artist per se, in my opinion, he was never funny and I know his mother agrees with my mother turned off the center we devote our attention to his grandson Peter Peter was not only responsible for unleashing the editor on the British public but also through private detective Barry McKenzie, wasn't it?
Yeah, what happened to Barry? How are things looking for Barry despite Edna? establishment failure Peter still had this crazy faith in my ability, he said one of your recorded sketches is about an Australian in Earls Court, we all lived there, I mean he's South African now, wow I guess these are the old days, It was called Kangaroo Valley I think a dentist settled there and all the Australians went there and that's it, and he said this character wanders around Earls Court and drinks a lot of Foster's beer, which was a type of drink that you could only get in a shop without license and and in a pub he said that the characters had potential, why don't you make a comic strip about it?
So he told me more about the things Barry said, which ones you actually made up because some of the famous ones, like pointing Percy towards the china, were that was Australian folklore or maybe you don't remember it anymore. He may have heard it once. I certainly did it more than once, of course, in a comic strip. If you want to teach the reader a new form of language, a new use, you must keep it. repeating, I really like the word chunda, which was Barry Mackenzie's for being sick, you know, having fun backwards, also there were various explanations for the origins of the word shuttle, there was a suggestion that it might have meant looking under, there might have been made.
It's been something you shouted if you're on a ship, maybe even a convict ship, that's the one I prefer to subscribe to, but I had to keep repeating the word to teach readers about Hungary, which made Barry McKenzie have to get very sick. He was sick in almost every episode, surprising that Beer ever took off. Yes there were unusual experiences there with Mr Gore's visit I remember he went to a London suburb called Rickmansworth to meet a family who had fats sent to them during the war. I remember that in Australia you are too young. Remember this class, but there are many houses, many houses in Australia. during the Second World War they were fat for British warehouses and people on Sundays would simply save the roast drippings and the fried and roasted potatoes and leave them in a tin that had been in someone's house and this would easily be sent to the palms of hands.
Luckily for you, most of it was torpedoed by the jetty, so there are plenty of Aussies dripping at the bottom of the Pacific, but Barry stops being Gators in this Rickmansworth family, whose boss was played by the late Dennis Price, the distinguished star by Kind. By then Hearts and Crowns were going through harder days and he played the role of Ronald Gort, who invited Bhairava Kensi to his study and then put his schoolboy hat on her head, spilled the ink and said: Oh, sir. . Mackenzie look, I've been naughty, you better punish me and you leaned over to offer Barry Mackenzie a running shoe of some kind, a fantastic incident which of course could never happen as you know, some people are quick to turn this thing around ugly, so some people in Australia suggest that Barry McKenzie and Liz Patterson are holding back Australia's image abroad.
Is there something to do with this? It is your opinion. Well, it's working. I think they really maybe are, but that was my intention after all. It is not weird. Don't people like it? John Cleese, who makes wonderful comedies about poor service in British endeavors, never gets his knuckles rapped, but in Australia you only have to make a few little jokes about our most endearing failings to be accused of treason, indeed ridiculed as traitor.

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