If Tim Ferguson ever decides to pen his autobiography, it will be a cracker.
The former Doug Anthony All Star, TV host and future Senate candidate condenses his 20-year career in entertainment into 60 minutes in Carry a Big Stick – and boy, does he have some stories.
From inciting a near-riot in Barcelona by performing All Stars’ classic ‘I Fuck Dogs’ at an Olympic Games-related concert in the early 1990s, to lunching with Kerry Packer when Channel Nine promised to turn him into “the new Graham Kennedy,” Ferguson tells his tales with relaxed charm and humility.
Carry a Big Stick – a reprisal of Ferguson’s sell-out Comedy Festival show from last year – is named after the walking cane the performer now relies on. The comedian went public with his battle with multiple sclerosis several years ago, and talks about ignoring his body’s warning signs in the height of the All Stars’ heady success in the UK and Europe.
The first two-thirds of the show are essentially a recap of Ferguson’s work, complete with video clips of the All Stars, mid-'90s Working Dog cop parody Funky Squad and the sugar rush of Nine’s short lived but popular Don’t Forget Your Toothbrush (which, the comedian explains, was the most expensive Australian TV program ever made, helped in no part by his producer who would siphon funds from other program’s budgets).
Things then take a personal twist as Ferguson talks about the failed pilots he made for Nine – 13 in total – after Toothbrush was axed, the day he was flown to Sydney and sacked by Packer, and his eventual MS diagnosis. He makes it clear he’s not after sympathy; his disease comes and goes in waves whereas some other MS sufferers “have it real bad.”
It’s an enjoyable show and over too soon. Now, for that autobiography…