raver who really grapples with his lines, by Alexa
18th July 2002
The Sydney Morning Herald
Brett Sheargold is the comedian that other Sydney
comics rave about. They talk of his tendency to do
the unexpected. One comedian called Sheargold "anarchic,
brilliant but dysfunctional", another said the
comedian had a homicidal girlfriend, yet another that
Sheargold was obsessed with wrestling.
did the tall, thin, nervy 38-year-old comedian become
so legendary amongst his peers?
fidgets with his hair, and counters the question with
- what else? - a joke.
I'm the 'loose cannon'. All of those gigs where you
heard those things happen, they did," he says.
I don't know what I've done. My material is clean.
It's average material. It has a lot to do with the
legend being beyond the fact.
heard stories of things that I've done and it's not
true: it's ended up being Austen Tayshus or someone
else who did it," he says.
his childhood among showbusiness types is part of
the myth. Sheargold's not sure if that's true, but
he does confirm that his background and contacts are
how he got the Hollywood in front of his name.
mother was the assistant for a magician and he remembers
growing up around people like actor Slim De Grey and
entertainer Jan Adele.
a stint as a child reporter for Channel 9's The Mike
Walsh Show, he left school at age 15 and worked as
a DJ at a roller disco on George St.
where Planet Hollywood is now," Sheargold says.
I said 'I'm Captain Fantastic and I'm spinning the
plastic.' Time for Funkytown."
did his first comedy gig at age 18, at the Penshurst
Hotel and honed his routine at the original Sydney
Comedy Store. He credits comedian Rodney Rude for
helping him stick with it.
I was starting out and dying in the arse, [Rude] was
the one who said get up there and keep doing it. People
that ran the venue were saying 'go home, give it a
miss'. I'm grateful to him, very much so," Sheargold
well as limited stand-up, Sheargold has been involved
in a television pilot and writes the choreography
and characters for wrestling matches, which play around
the RSL circuit. He admits to a passion for wrestling
which started when he was a child.
mum took me to the Hordern Pavilion when I was seven
or eight years old and she must have known someone,
as it ended up that Andre the Giant was standing in
front of me," he says.
was out the back, near the dressing rooms when he
came out. He was 7'5" or something and he weighs
like 40 stone. To a small kid these were like real-life
monsters. So I used to watch it knowing that it was
rehearsed, knowing that the endings were always pre-determined
- I knew that before I knew that Santa Claus didn't
come and visit my house."
later, Sheargold started to incorporate wrestling
props and moves into his stand up routing, using dolls
like Mr Potato Head and Barbie as wrestlers. One evening,
a man who organised the local wrestling bouts saw
his act and asked him if he wanted some work.
Sheargold creates characters and catch-phrases for
wrestlers, as well as choreographing the moves.
made one of the wrestlers at Oxford St, the gay one,
his name's Andrew Bumthorne and his catchphrase is
'Everyone's horny for the Bumthorney'. He goes out
there and talks about grappling with men," he
is now a kid's matinee thing. The adults aren't getting
into it nearly as much as they used to. It's really
quite funny going up to the seven foot guy and saying,
'now, the gay guy's going to root your leg,', and
then the Bad Man from Iran's going to come out and
call people camel droppings. The kids all go, 'Ew!',"
the rumour about the homicidal girfriend?
says that the girlfriend is definitely an ex, and
it hasn't gone to court yet. He lifts his hair to
show me the coin-sized scar on his neck. The woman
was a heroin addict, he says, and went a little crazy
woke up and there was this weird girl - and she was
now nothing like the girl who had moved in - and she
was freaking out about drugs and I told her to get
out of the house. She picked up a bottle and stabbed
me in the neck and started punching me," he says.
she called the police and then said 'my boyfriend's
trying to kill me'. So the police arrived and saw
me lying on the floor splattered in blood with her
standing there saying, "that's the killer, that's
the killer there." The police were unsure about
that and so they dragged her off.
he using the incident as material?
he says, "I'm definitely not using it in my comedy.
Sydney Morning Herald
on Australian wrestling history in the making