Only six months short of celebrating thirty years in comedy, yet Bob Downe is still brimming with plenty of hilarious material.
The ‘King Of Polyester’ Mark Trevorrow is thrilled to take the stage, bringing his comedic persona Bob Downe to the Laugh Your Pants Off show at the Gold Coast. “I love Queensland audiences, they're always incredible for me!” he exclaims. “They're very warm and very vocal, that's the thing I love most about them.”
Mark claims to avidly keep an eye on the news and current affairs to maintain fresh and funny performances, often refraining from preparing his gig until only days beforehand. “Comedy is sort of like an applied form of journalism: it's journalism with laughs,” he says.
“You're taking an attitude based on current events and distilling it into your own observation, similar to having to write an opinion column. The best part is it’s a hell of a lot more fun because you don't actually have to sit down and write it!”
Mark’s cheeky, on-stage alter-ego is one of the most enduring comedy characters in Australia, well-recognised for his dazzling teeth, immaculate hair and openly-gay flamboyancy. “I think it’s because Bob Downe is the eternal naughty little boy,” Mark explains.
“I've been playing him since I was a kid, which helps me tap into those childish, silly, fun characteristics. I’d like to think it then unleashes those characteristics in people who are watching me perform as well.”
Bob Downe is as equally popular in Scotland, with a whopping 17 Edinburgh Fringe Festivals appearances to his name. “I get audiences in Scotland who don't go and see anything else but myself at that festival!” he gushes.
“The Scots have the keenest sense of humour. I clicked with them from the first moment I got on stage with the Doug Anthony All Stars in 1988. I couldn’t believe the reaction, it was the first moment my solo character truly shone.”
Since then, Mark has successfully maintained his national and international fan base, titling himself as one of the first gay or lesbian comics in the business. “The topic was quite taboo in the '80s, but it’s not even unusual now!” he laughs.
“It’s great being gay because you've got that ‘outsider’ view: it’s your point of difference as a comic.
“But the most successful gay and lesbian comics are successful because they’re funny, not because they’re gay.”
His extensive career boasts numerous albums, television programmes and published books, yet Mark insists stand-up is still his favourite form of entertainment. “The live work is definitely what I love the most, because it keeps you on your toes,” he says.
“It's challenging, and it's always nerve-racking until you get on stage, and then you realise what fun it is. I'm always scared to death until the spotlight hits me, and then I feel completely in charge and on top of things.”Bob Downe performs at Laugh Your Pants Off, Jupiters Hotel, 2 September.