Lane in Don's Party (above) and part of Lano
Colin Lane in The Mikado
already conquered the world of comedy as one half of the legendary
comedic duo in Lano & Woodley, you would think Colin Lane would
have had just about enough of the showbiz life.
However, it seems the bounty of awards and accolades were just the
After a string of TV appearances on Good News Week and Spicks & Specks,
along with well received stage turns in Don's Party and The Mikado - Lane
is returning to where it all began... The world of comedy.
Sean Lynch caught up with the comedy legend on the eve on the eve of
him taking the leap into his first major solo outing.
2006 you're album "Lano & Woodley Sing Songs" won Best Comedy
Release at the Arias... but you didn't even turn up!
Well, I was kind of quite pissed off at that myself, because Frank and
I had a 40th birthday to go to - and the date had been changed a couple
of times to suit Frank already - and so he said "I'm not going [to the
And I went "Well, I perhaps should go to the 40th as well".
Then we arrived at the 40th, and it was a pretty relaxed "pub afternoon
thing" - not that exciting really - and then when we left... we found
out that we won!
beat us [The Shambles], and we made the effort to make the trip! Surely
they can overrule that decision based on punctuality...
In 2007, we were nominated again. I went along... and we didn't win!
Karma coming back to bite you on the arse Lane!
And disappointing to be in a venue where 99% of the [music industry]
don't give a f*ck about comedians being there. [Laughs]
question that's asked to comedians all the time is "What is your
greatest comedic influence?" - but that's quite an annoying question.
So let's go to the opposite end of the spectrum... Who just shits you?
Well that wouldn't be very professional or diplomatic of me to tell you
say Paul McDermott if you want... we're all thinking it [Laughs]
Well, see, Paul McDermott is a lovely
I was talking to someone the other day about the Doug Anthony's [80s
comedy group, The Doug Anthony All Stars] and how he was the one I...
um, "least" enjoyed the company of at the beginning of our friendship
with that trio.
Now, however, I think he is probably the one I do get on with the
You guys used to go back to the days of the ABC's The Big Gig didn't
We [comedy trio, The Found Objects] used to support them at the Prince
Patrick in Collingwood back in the late 80s. They would be doing a
Thursday residency, and we would do half an hour up front, then they
would do an hour after that - and they were huge.
I remember Tim [Ferguson] would go "Sometimes we make $900 a week" -
and I'm going "Far out!"... because we were only getting paid $60
between the three of us.
new show, "I'm Not Sure About The Music", the first major solo comedy
outing since the break-up of "Lano & Woodley"...
Yes... is my answer... to that question.
Yes. It. Is. [Laughs].
I did a 15 minute short work at, funnily enough, a place called "Short Works"
at VCA about eighteen years ago. And then I've done MC-ing and Corporate
things here or there, a bit of Comedy Festival Roadshow - but yes, as a
60 minute show this is my first foray into it.
So, it's kind of nerve wracking.
At the same time, it's kind of "What are you getting yourself so
uptight about - It's going to be fine".
Just the repetition of the word "Surely" is going through my mind.
"Surely... Surely... I mean you've done it for 20 years... you know
what to do, you're on telly and stuff... Surely... Surely.... you write
actor on your passport...so... um... Surely...?".
prospect of not having someone to bounce off and pick up the slack
isn't too daunting then? [Laughs]
I have no idea Sean [Laughs].
Russell Fletcher is an old friend of mine - and he came in
and looked at it and said he liked the persona I was using.
And I said "I don't really know what that persona is, it was really
just a run through - but if you think that's good, I'll keep it".
on the night - with 50 people in the humongous surrounds of The
Butterfly Club - it could all change and I could go a bit mental [Laughs].
I could panic half-way through, when I can actually see people. Where
as in the old days [of Lano & Woodley] you'd have lights in
your eyes. And I kind of liked having that sort of safety net - I
didn't like to see people in the audience.
I mean, I like to see people in the audience because they've come...
but I don't like seeing their faces because it FREAKS me out.
guessing if this doesn't work you'll head back to hosting TV? Something
like Wine Me Dine Me
- was that just an excuse to see Tom Croydon [actor, John Wood] on the
I had a couple of "work experiences" with John. Nice guy. Slight
tendency to want to say to him "Would you rather be somewhere else?"
Just a tad like his [Blue
Heelers] character, kind of going [sighs and proceeds with
a spot-on Tom Croydon impersonation] "Alright, come into my office".
But hugely popular... and a huge man to boot.
regards to the Theatre roles you've taken on since Lano &
Woodley - is that something you always wanted to do, but were never
There were times when we were offered stuff, and I just couldn't do it,
because we were touring. And that's fair enough.
But I was very excited to do Don's
Party. Coming from the comedy world into MTC world - it's
a very different world. When they say you start rehearsals at 10am, you have to start at
have any difficulty coming from a career where you knew what was funny
and what wasn't - and then having to listen to someone else telling you
what is "funny" and what isn't?
Well that's what was weird as well. First you're given a script that
you can't change, then you're given a director that you couldn't
change, and third - you have to perform the same script every night!
You couldn't change it, you couldn't muck around, you couldn't
improvise, you couldn't talk to the audience - you couldn't hang shit
on somebody that's coming in late. And sometime the director would say
"Don't do that in that way" - and you can argue the point - but he is
the boss. And me and Frank never had any directors.
that experience turn you off doing more theatre?
Well in some ways it was immensely refreshing to be told where to stand
and what to say. Because, Frank and I had written so much stuff over
the years, it was kind of nice to be told how to do it.
Because, in a way, it was nice to be told what to do - instead of
having to try and invent it.
had to invent the new show by yourself. What's the writing process
there (without Frank) and is it something you might look to tour at the
I kind of started to sit down to write it by myself. And after about
four weeks, I couldn't think of what else to write so I thought
"Alright, I'll just start learning it" - and I've learnt it.
I mean, I hope there are no shit bits - because if there is, I haven't
got anything else to replace it!
Really, it's just a chance for me to sing some songs and do some stuff
without Frank in front of an audience and see how it goes.
we go - I must point out that you probably had the neatest and most
well groomed hair of anyone in comedy during the Lano & Woodley
years. Do you ever feel like growing a beard and not showering just to
Well, I've been growing my hair for the last six to ten months now.
And I tell you what Sean, if you want to get some attention through
doing pretty much f*ck all - and that is just not getting a hair cut -
Because during the time of Frank, I pretty much went to the hairdresser
and said "Give me a Don Adams". It's something I'm not short of is
hair. And as Frank said "Isn't it funny how heirsuit sounds like Hair Suit".
always like to finish off with this - so if you could just finish this
sentence: "It's better to have loved and lost, than too..."
It's better to have loved and lost than
too... have lost... a game... ten - love.
"Colin Lane in I'm Not Sure About The Music" When: April 1 – April 25 (performances Wednesday to Sunday) Tickets: $27 full, $22 concession, $22 (Groups of 8 +), Previews $22 Where:The Butterfly Club (204 Bank Street, South Melbourne) Bookings:www.thebutterflyclub.com