Australian comedy legend Austen Tayshus is a stand-up comedian who rose to fame in 1983 with a spoken word single, Australiana.
It is a cleverly worded sketch using equivocation about Australian names, saying and places.
He will be performing this Saturday night, January 13, at Casa Mia Ipswich.
Ipswich First called to interview him ahead of his performance and discovered Austen Tayshus is a funny story teller, if not a little … erm … let’s say, unusual.
We knew he was taking the mickey right from his first answer (that he was born in Toowoomba when he was actually born in New York).
He has a reputation for putting people outside their comfort zone, so rather than interpret what he said, we thought it better to let you decide. Here’s the transcript.
IPSWICH FIRST (IF): It’s Jodie Richter calling from Ipswich First, I was wondering if you had a few minutes to answer some questions for a story ahead of your performance this Saturday?
AUSTEN TAYSHUS (AT): Yeah sure, that’s no problem.
IF: I wondered if you have any Ipswich recollections, connections or stories?
AT: Yeah, I grew up in Ipswich. I was born in Toowoomba and I grew up in Ipswich. Right now I’m 64 but in 1954 I was born at the Toowoomba Hospital and my father was a farmer and we had a big farm out there.
IF: What sort of a farm?
AT: A dairy farm.
IF: Oh right, not too many of those left?
AT: And he grew cotton as well.
IF: So you’d pass through Ipswich on your way to Brisbane?
IF: I notice from the research I did on you, that you spend a lot of time travelling doing stand-up comedy shows on the road.
AT: I’ve been doing that for 40 years now all over Australia and the world.
IF: How has your style changed during that time? Is it similar to when you started or totally different now?
AT: Well Australia is a much different country. It’s a much more multicultural country now. I don’t think the real Aussie thing is as deeply engrained as it was when I was growing up.
IF: That’s true I suppose.
AT: When I was growing up in Grafton. Things were very, very different there in Coffs Harbour in those early days.
IF: Does that mean you try to be more sensitive to different cultures?
AT: Certainly not. But I’m inclusive, I get involved with everybody. Everybody is involved in the show. I grew up in Wauchope in NSW, do you know that place?
IF: No, I don’t sorry.
AT: At that time it was mostly Australian but now it’s fully Iranian.
IF: [LAUGHS] Okay, interesting. So you kind of change your act depending on where you are?
AT: For instance, when I work in Chatsworth my act is fully in Chinese
IF: You still get a big response from the crowd? Do you still get asked to do Australiana?
AT: I do it in Chinese in those places. I grew up in Taree NSW and in that time in the 1990s when I was born it was a totally different vibe there.
IF: You are impossible to interview [LAUGHS]
AT: Mostly Turkish people there.
IF: You know you’re not doing a gig right now – right?
AT: [LAUGHS] It was a very different time I must say.
IF: Would you say you are enjoying stand up more now or back in your heyday?
AT: I’m not doing it now because I’m sleeping now but ah when I did do it last night, I had a full house last night at Byron Bay, all the people there were American. They were all from the South and they were all Trump supporters unfortunately. It was a wild night I did a 32-hour show last night. A long show.
IF: Can some of your gigs get a bit wild?
AT: They get pretty wild. The night before I was in Coffs Harbour I don’t know if you know, but they have introduced compulsory euthanasia in Coffs Harbour.
IF: What, if you’re sick or old?
AT: No, if you’re young and healthy.
IF: [LAUGHS] Okay, um. What was I going to ask you? I’ve forgotten the other thing I was going to ask you. You’ve kind of thrown me a bit.
AT: Why’s that?
IF: Because you are speaking gobbledygook [LAUGHS]
AT: That’s not very friendly.
IF: Oh no, I don’t mean to come off as not being friendly, I’m just confused.
AT: You’re right I’m just winding you up but you are confused, most people in Ipswich are confused. It’s sad.
IF: You’ll come and set them straight.
IF: [LAUGHS] That’s pretty good, that’s probably about it, thanks for your time.
AT: You’re a good man, thank you very much