Prove your humanity

Why did the chicken cross the road?

It’s the Iliad of the comedic world. We all know the answer, yet when hearing the joke for the first time our minds jump to bizarre conclusions rather than the simple answer—to get to the other side.

Sitting down with self-proclaimed “mid-level celebrity”, comedy great Tim Ferguson, I was let in on a secret pertaining to the art of tom-foolery.

“To make a human body spontaneously and involuntarily react with laughter you have to surprise a conscious mind with truth,” Tim says.

From busking as part of the three-man band (better known as Doug Anthony Allstars) where he would kidnap toddlers from prams, holding them to ransom until their parents begrudgingly emptied their pockets of change, to the world stage—Tim’s life has been nothing short of a whirlwind.

This comedic genius/author/producer/comedy teacher of the great southern land, can also, it turns out, spin a good ol’ yarn (who’d have thought it?). Commanding the stage, his performance follows a loosely cyclical structure. Beginning briefly with his childhood, Ferguson paints a picture of his family: wandering gypsies moving around the country at the whim of his father, an esteemed journalist, Tony Ferguson, who decided moving to Canberra under the Hawke government would be a viable decision. Though, young Timmy would beg to differ.

Jumping to his teens, Ferguson adjusted his reading glasses declaring his age, before delving into the angst filled mind of an adolescent boy—all the while sledging millennials and their egotistical attitudes.

The rabblerousing his father aimed to convey through his journalistic prowess was briefly touched on, and despite snippets of buffoonery from the Doug Anthony Allstars hey-day, Tim insists his show is not intended to be gentle, or as he calls it: “a little back scratch.”

“It’s like going on a ride at an amusement park—people kind of like it,” he says.

“They laugh, grown men sob with their heads between their knees.”

“It’s a little bit scary for people the first time around.”

As a comedian living with Multiple Sclerosis, Tim uses the platform to not only talk and joke about his own experiences, but also to challenge the misconceptions society holds toward people with disabilities.

He explains: “People with disabilities are where women were 120 years ago where employees would just say, I’m sorry…management…a woman!?

“Women are still smashing that, and there’s a long way to go in terms of bridging the gender pay gap and equal representation.”

“But how many people with disabilities are on the Commonwealth Bank board? How many people with disabilities are bank managers? How many people with disabilities are bank tellers?”

“This is simply because of prejudices across all the industry, which is a soft prejudice of low expectations.”

“There’s no need to have low expectations because it’s guaranteed that by the time you wake up, I’ve already been working for five hours talking to the world, typing, writing, shouting into the telephone,” he says.

Though a serious message is peppered throughout the show, veteran Ferguson fans can still expect his signature antics.

A Fast Life on Wheels comes with a warning.

“I am a Doug Anthony Allstar, you know,” Tim says.

“It’s not entirely polite comedy.”

This world class performance is not to be missed and is showing for one more night: Saturday, June 8 at the State Theatre.