Thirty years ago, The Doug Anthony Allstars were conceived on the streets of Canberra, busking in local shopping malls (setting fire to themselves in bins, starting fights, getting arrested). In 1987 they launched at the Edinburgh Festival and took over the world comedy scene.
DAAS bombarded unsuspecting live audiences with their formula: songs, sex, violence, sex, feminism (and sex). They played to huge crowds, breaking the mould by taking comedy into rock venues. They were the biggest-selling act at the Edinburgh Festival for eight years.
UK-wide audiences bathed naked (literally) in the mob-rule chaos that DAAS shows inspired. From the famous Theatres in London’s West End to tiny late night shows in Irish pubs, DAAS were fast becoming Australia’s most feared, loathed and adored of all comedy exports.
Australian comedy producer Ted Robinson stole them for his live-to-air ABC TV show The Big Gig. At last, Australia woke up to DAAS! The trio launched DAAS Kapital, the ABC sitcom that outraged viewers round the world. It was banned in Japan and Germany, attracting what Rolling Stone US called “the most suspect fan-base on earth”.
The show featured DAAS trapped in a submarine with Paul ‘Flacco’ Livingston, cabaret king ‘Bob Downe’ and the misunderstood psychopath ‘American Bob’. After two seasons of moral mayhem, and sellout world-tours, the group relocated to the UK and New York. Timeout London described them as ‘the rock stars of comedy’.
DAAS attacked Canada, USA and Europe (including the notorious performance at the Barcelona Olympics Festival where their song about dogs was met with stony silence by the 12,000 international attendees). They starred in award-winning shows on the UK’s BBC, ITV, CH4, regular appearances on HBO, ABC, NBC, The Today Show, a live TV broadcast of DAAS performances in New York & London, winning the Best International award two years running at Tokyo Comedy Festival…
It wasn’t plain sailing: DAAS were thrown out of the Belfast Comedy Gala for reasons they still refuse to explain. They famously provoked a riot at Edinburgh’s Bear Pit comedy venue, resulting in several arrests and one stabbing. Ferguson’s Dance Of The Winged Monkey was banned from the Hammersmith Odeon.
In 1995 when they threw in the towel, it stuck to the wall. Now they are back, again – meet the men who built the legend, as Paul McDermott and Tim Ferguson join forces with their mentor, Paul ‘Flacco’ Livingston.
Often seen on stage as a regular DAAS sidekick, Flacco is the famous alter ego Paul Livingston created in the mid eighties when he got up on stage as part of a bet, and the audience mistook his nervousness for a comedic character.
Flacco’s trademark curl of hair on a pale bald head went on to regularly appear on many shows across Australian TV and radio networks (including DAAS Kapital). Livingston has also won a Sidney Myer Performing Arts Award, written a play about Sigmund Freud, Wilhelm Fliess and their patient Emma Eckstein, and has toured his stand up comedy around the world.
“The most offensive comedy on earth. Loved it!” – New York Times
The Doug Anthony Allstars with Flacco are performing selected dates around Australia including Melbourne, Wollongong, Perth and Brisbane. For more information, click here!
Image: Flacco, Paul McDermott and Tim Ferguson