Aussie legend Rodney Rude talks life, comedy and swearing
“I’VE never thrown a pair of shoes out in my life.”
It’s quotes like these that make an interview with the one and only Rodney Rude almost impossible to take seriously.
The legend of Australian comedy, with three million album sales and a career spanning four decades, said Saturday night’s Roma show, his first in 10 years, will unfortunately be his last here.
With a knack for rude comedy that focuses on Australian irreverence and working class culture, Rodney’s shows have been infamous for their raucous nature and side-splitting audience involvement.
But the 73-year-old, who was born Rodney Malcolm Keft, said he won’t ever tell a joke to an audience if it didn’t make him laugh.
“I don’t say one thing that I don’t find funny. I’ve got to laugh at it first, otherwise I don’t tell it,” he said.
Rodney’s use of the f-word and c-word have become almost legendary, with audience members treated to a literal diatribe of disgusting humour.
He pioneered the use of swearing as a comedic device, accepting and embracing the controversy surrounding it.
But contrary to popular belief, Rodney doesn’t just swear at random but rather treats it like any performance device.
“I just think there’s a big difference between the people who use those words and me,” he said.
“You get those people who use clichés like if you have to swear to be funny, you’re not actually funny.
“Ray Martin was one of those who used to say it to me, but what they don’t realise is the poetry and rhythm behind using a swear word.
“Nowadays people say a swear word for the sake of using it.”
Rodney’s deliberate use of swearing and timing, along with pointing out the opposition to the Americanisation of Australia (“it’s not McFries, it’s f***ing chips mate!”) has an affinity to the late comedic legend George Carlin.
Having met him on several occasions, Rodney listed missing the chance to work with Carlin before his death in 2008 as one of his great regrets.
“I was over there for 15 years ago (in North America) and he came to a little pub I was playing at in Ontario, and over the years he contacted me... and wanted to communicate about comedy and I didn’t follow it up,” he said.
“He was a great iconic performer and put down the in-roads for a lot of us.”
Rodney will unfortunately settle down to full-time retirement after this final tour, which will conclude in 2017.
He still has fond memories of shows like the Club Hotel almost a decade, saying it was audiences like Roma that made his job so enjoyable.
“It’s been 10 years since I’ve been there and what a great audience it was last time,” he said.
“Things have changed but still the kind of audience you get, they’re just fair-dinkum Australian people.
“This will be my last year, and I want to go back to some of the plum places I’ve been to.
“It’s a pity I’ve been so long away.”
Rodney Rude will appear at tthe Club Hotel from 8pm. For more information, give the Club Hotel a call on 4622 1322.