Coming out of retirement to bring Australia his ‘wrong hole tour’, Rodney Rude promises to leave audiences in fits of laughter with his renowned comedic style, which includes, more often than not, explicit language and offensive references, while poking fun at everyone from heckling audience members to the odd politician or two. But there is also a down to earth, serious side to Rude.
> Rude, You’re coming to Laurieton United Services Club in August, Tuesday 24th, right?
That’s right. I know it’s a really nice club, and normally any big clubs like that we would go and do them on the weekend. But it just worked out this way, because we are going to Brisbane and they wanted to put in a weekday, so that was that.
> How are people going to handle you on a Tuesday night?
I don’t know, I seem to get a crowd on any night, you know.
> Will you get them revved up mid week?
Yeah, and I think that sort of comedy, the stuff that I do, they like to have the opportunity to have somebody to be really insulting and that.
> This comedy tour has brought you out of retirement. Did you get a little bit bored?
Yeah, well I think it was the wrong thing to say you’ve retired, ‘cause I have found that the whole time I was still writing jokes all the time and doing things.
The emails I’ve got since I did that last tour in 2005; I’ve been averaging about 200 emails a week for the last four years, and they’re all from young people and kind of insulting, saying, “Aw Rude, ya p***k, I’m just 18 and ya finish ya tour. I was 14 and now I can come and see ya; you’re not touring, you p***k!”– that sort of stuff.
> Is this a new show?
Yes, every show is new, but you still got to cater to what the audiences crave. I still do my midget act, and I still do my common characters, but you just sort of give them a new set of clothes every now and then.
> What is your favorite part of the show?
I always like the stuff that is nonsensical. I’m not really a social commentator in that I’m going to discuss things at length and hang around and wait for a punch line at the end of it.
It’s a little bit faster, with a shorter period of time between punch lines – anything that is kind of absurd and silly. There is not a lot of truth in anything I say, you know
> Is there any particular recent event or something that has been happening in the world recently that you talk about?
There are things; the debate was on recently, so there are always jokes to come out of anything that a public figure says, and of course, everything I do has sexual connotations, as you know.
Comedians know they are going to get laughs out of things that everybody knows about. And of course, as far as anything goes of a sexual nature you can’t go wrong.
> What do you do apart from being funny and rude?
I’m on the farm. I’ve got a tractor and I’m around the cows, Jerseys. I’m on a dairy farm you know. I’m in a farming area, and I just like being out of the way of people and out in the bush … you know what I mean.
> What are 3 things that people don’t know about Rodney Rude, other than the farm?
They probably don’t know that I write a lot of serious poetry. I write short stories and that sort of stuff. They are not for publication; they are just for pleasure. I write a lot of poetry, mainly inspired by my mother. I wrote poems for my mother – it is a big communication part of our lives. She always expects a new poem when I go to see her and to take the guitar and sing songs.
They probably don’t know that while I drive around Australia, I collect rocks from all over the place. I don’t write where they are from or anything. I just like rocks, so I put them all over me house, in all the rooms and everywhere … there are a lot of rocks in my house.
And I also collect keys, old keys, so I have piles of keys that don’t open anything!
> How very quirky of you!
Yeah, well I suppose it is quirky, and I also like stockwhips.
> Well, they could probably be introduced to the show, couldn’t they?
Well, when I was a kid I started off on the showgrounds in the tent shows when I was a boy. That’s how I started in show biz, you know, and I used to do a whip act on the showground – just an old thing cutting cigarettes out of people’s mouths and all that sort of stuff.
So I’ve always enjoyed different sorts of whips, and I have different collections of different whips and I’m always chopping things with them and that.
> Do you follow a set sequence for your show, or do you just see how you feel and wing it?
I’ve always had a basic outline of starts and finishes, and I always have material in the background that’s sure-fire stuff. I always go on with doing whatever and making stuff up the minute I get on, and if I need to I can resort to stuff that’s written.
Very loosely based, very loose it is, and it gives you the opportunity to do a routine that is a tried and true one, or make something up on the spot.
> Do you think that people particularly sit in the front row because they know they want to be part of the show, or do you think it’s just unfortunate that that’s where they sit?
Most comedians will tell you that it’s a lot better without hecklers, because you can get through more stuff. But if they are around, that’s just part of it, you know. Remember that episode that came up with Kramer from Seinfeld, when he got angry with the hecklers?
Well, that sort of thing would never happen with me. I would never get angry with them, because I really couldn’t care less what they do. It’s better when you don’t have them, but if they’re there they’re just part of it, and anybody that heckles is usually having a good time and they’re just sort of vocalising how they feel.
> Most favourite place you’ve been on tour?
Gee, that’s a hard one. Everybody likes going into the Far North of Queensland, but I like the far North in WA, I think. I like the deserts the most. My favourite places are right out of the way, the mining camps and places that are really out there where I go and do little shows.
I feel more at home in the small places, but I am obliged to work in the big cities because I have a show and a crew and people to look after. But for enjoyment, I like the little towns the best. I always have and always will. I grew up in one and am definitely a country person and don’t like cities and avoid them wherever I can.
> When you first started your career, the explicit language you use was probably shocking for people back then. Do you think people are becoming immune to it?
Well, if they are becoming immune to it, that doesn’t affect me, because all the explicit language I ever used and use and whatever, is all simply for timing, you know. All those swear words are a tool … like a Jazz musician might improvise a syncopated passage or something.
Swearing is all to do with timing, and there are a lot of people, entertainers in the world today that miss that and swear at the wrong time. I have heard a lot of the American comedians; it almost sounds like they throw in a swear word, and it’s got nothing to so with timing.
I think a lot of the comedy around that is social commentary doesn’t pay enough attention to timing maybe, and you know, it’s one of those things … the swear word and the timing go hand in hand.
> So it really is an artform?
Well, if you left out the swearing you’d be putting another word in there that had the same phonetics. If you didn’t put a swear word in there, you would have to have a pause of some sort or something else to emphasise. It could be such a simple word like ‘gosh’, as long as the timing is what makes the sentence work.
> Do you keep the words and explicit words just to the act or do you use them every day?
I’ve always been surrounded by young girls, my daughters, and I’m now surrounded by grandchildren who are also girls, and I have introduced them to life through show biz.
My daughters came on the road when they were little babies, and they’ve grown up knowing and hearing all that language. They’ve grown up fine, young women and very smart and are right on to everything. I’ve been really truthful with them with everything, and they know that all that swearing and that is an act.
I don’t hear them swearing that much, and I have never really sworn that much around the house. Unless you were trying to put across an animated opinion of something or anger or whatever, but not in normal every day speech.
I’m very interested in speech; I left school very young without any qualifications, but I’ve always still been interested in language, you know.
> Well, it sounds like there is a serious side to Rodney Rude, so it’s good to find out about that …
Yeah, I think there is, but we’re all like that, aren’t we?
I appreciate you asking me about it, and since we’ve been talking I’ve formed a great respect for you … and in fact, if I was talking to you on the mobile now and I happened to be in the toilet and I happened to drop the mobile and it fell in the bowl, I respect and like you so much that I’d pluck it out of the bowl and I’d keep talking to ya even with urine running down me face. That’s how much I’ve enjoyed talking to ya!
> Thank you Rodney Rude.
Rodney Rude will perform at Laurieton United Services Club on August 24 2010 at 8pm, cost $44. Contact the club on 6559 9110.