Paul Fenech is no stranger to politically incorrect mayhem. In fact, he's been doing it for so long now that a 'Fat Pizza vs Housos' tour seems long overdue.
Ahead of a statewide tour, Paul tells us why he set a world record for most selfies taken in a day and why touring is a like a one-night stand.
You've just discovered $20 in your back pocket. What do you spend it on?
Thongs and condoms.
You've got the Fat Pizza vs Housos Queensland tour. Do you prefer touring or hanging out on a TV/ film set?
TV and movies are like a relationship that goes on for ages. It needs more work and attention. Stage shows are like one-night stands. It's just one-night satisfaction at the time, but it's gone the next day. Truth is I love them both equally. It's great to be able to do both for so long. Fifteen years. I can't complain.
You're only touring in Queensland. Why is that?
We haven't done regional Queensland before. While the southern states have been spoiled, it was time to come up there and do burnouts for all the awesome Queensland fans.
You've named Tasmania the bogan capital of Australia. I read you felt more comfortable with 'a bunch of bogans in Tasmania than with people in the film industry'. Why is that?
Yes, I found Tassie to have the best bogans, and yes I do feel more at home with real people in Oz. Film people, politicians, officialdom: at a certain level of formality I get nervous. Maybe playing anti-authority characters has had an affect on me. But seriously, I love down to earth, real people and bogans are the best in Oz.
Would you consider making another serious documentary, like your earlier project 'More Than Legends?' Not that life in Sunnyvale isn't serious.
I used to make serious stuff, but comedy is a greater gift to the world. I’ll leave serious projects to people smarter than me. I love making people laugh. I’ve read that laughter and love are created by the same chemical. So laughter creates love in the world. How special is the gift of humour? I find so many people doing it tough right now. Sometimes a laugh can fix a very bad day.
This Queensland tour has been 15 years in the making. Why so long?
We've been touring for 15 years, but this is the first time as 'Fat Pizza vs Housos'. In a sense, it's all my work over 15 years. And I love it. I get to meet so many people. I can't call them fans that's a stupid word. It's like I meet all these mates I've never met. They feel like they know me and when I see that cheeky look in their eyes, I know they like our shows. So I gain a friend in 30 seconds. It's awesome.
In 2014, when you set the world record for most selfies in 24 hours, why did you chose Barnardo's as your charity?
I believe in helping all children’s charities. No child deserves hardship or suffering. I have done other challenges for Starlight Foundation and Canteen. So if there's a charity out there that helps kids and they want a stooge like me to raise awareness through a crazy challenge, I'm in.
How does the tour fit into the Fat Pizza/Housos/Swift and Shift universes? I read Toula wouldn't be making an appearance.
We try to have elements of all our shows in this comedy tour. And Toula is in the show, don't ask me how or where. Just come and if you love our shows I promise you will laugh so much you may wet yourself.
What was it like working with TV legend Ian Turpie? Did he ever tell you to 'come on down'?
Ian Turpie was one of the most professional and amazing comedy actors I’ve worked with. Not many people realise he came from an era when you had to be able to sing, act, tell jokes and dance; a true entertainer. He never told me to come on down, but I’ll forever miss working with him. He always gave me magic on screen.
You've been working with the same people for so long now. How easy was it to combine the subwoofer-loving staff of 'Fat Pizza' with the residents of Sunnyvale? Are there ever any moments where things just don't go to plan?
Well, we have collected around 40 performers who play everything from the mentally challenged to bikers, bimbos, housos, and stooges. I think every show we do we get better and I get better as a director. Was it easy? Of course not, film making and TV is so bloody hard. You really have to be stupid or a masochist to do it for any length of time. I’ll let you be the judge.
In 2011, you said that “there’s some sort of Nazi political correctness happening in Australia”. Do you still think this is the case?
Sadly our great freedoms in the society are being rapidly eroded: over regulation, political correctness, nanny state government. It's getting worse all the time and it's getting harder to do real comedy without some corporate clown telling you to tone it down. I’ll keep fighting but the fight hasn't got [sic] any easier in 15 years.
A regular theme in your work is 'us against them'. Have you had any negative reactions about your work by people from a low socio-economic background, or do you think your success stems from Australia's ability to take these issues lightly?
The truth is our biggest supporters are real housos, real subwoofer-pumping ethnics and anyone else we play on our shows. It's only the politically correct who look down their noses at us. Why? We hire real Aussies in all their shapes and sizes, and have a laugh at where our country is at. They seem to love Chris Lilley, but hate my stuff? Maybe I should dress up like a Tongan guy and an Asian instead of hiring real talented kids from ethnic and bogan backgrounds.
What do you hope to achieve from the tour? Is there anything new you'll be showcasing, and can you give us a hint about the special guests?
You're asking for all the secrets? Would you ask David Copperfield to tell you how he does his tricks? Come see the show you stooge.
I heard you couldn't find a bogan in Logan; were you looking hard enough?
Your research was wrong. Bogans in Logan are breeding faster than cane toads. We saw plenty and I loved every Australian minute of it.
'Fat Pizza vs Housos Live' plays at Racecourse Hotel 10 March, Miami Shark Bar 11 March, Hamilton Hotel 17 March and Villa Noosa 18 March.