The Little Aussie Bleeder
May 4, 2008 3:21 PM   Subscribe

Garry McDonald, aka Norman Gunston, aka the "little aussie bleeder," may be well known out Australia way. For most Americans, however, Norman G remains far, far down under the radar. But he's the forefather of the UK's Ali G; he's Canadian Nardwuar thee Human Serviette's nerdier dad; he's America's Lazlo Toth (US) with a combover and a microphone; he's Jiminy Glick's Jack Sprat. Perhaps you saw Norman long ago in a segment on USA Network's Night Flight variety show. [bonus: many many youtubes of Night Flight segments, courtesy of this awesome website.] But I bet you didn't know he released a KIckaSS single (among others), jammed with Frank Zappa, and was at the right place and time to upstage a piece of Australian History. Not bad for someone whom Keith Moon dumped his drink on and called a "great pooftah."

Norman Gunston got his start on The Aunty Jack Show, whose theme song promised that if you didn't watch the show, the giant Aunty Jack, a transvestite boxing biker, would rip your bloody arms off.

You Aussies out there who already know Garry McDonald can amuse yourselves with a quiz.

Norman Gunston Celebrity Interviews
- Sally Struthers
- Mick Jagger
- Boy George
- Muhammad Ali
- Ray Charles
- Tim Allen
- Paul & Linda McCartney
- Olivia Newton-John
- Robin and Maurice Gibb
- KISS ("Which one is the construction worker?")
- A very confused Dionne Warwick (with Quincy Jones) at the Oscars
- Cheech & Chong

And Norman gets Lost in London.

[Nardwuar thee Human Serviette previously on MetaFilter]
posted by not_on_display (21 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
Funny guy. Is there a version in english?
posted by hal9k at 4:23 PM on May 4, 2008

What is this post about yet?
posted by humannaire at 4:32 PM on May 4, 2008

Great stuff. Norman Gunston really was like Ali G, 30 years earlier - doing comedy interviews with celebrities who didn't realise that he was taking the piss the whole time.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:35 PM on May 4, 2008

^humannaire: What is this post about yet?

No, This post is about Norman Gunston and other mockujournalists. What's the man's name on second base.
posted by not_on_display at 5:43 PM on May 4, 2008

A Salute to Abba
posted by Wolof at 5:59 PM on May 4, 2008

> What's the man's name on second base.

No no no, he's asking what the post's about. By my estimate, it's about to be six long, but it could grow further.

And while we're at it, can somebody provide a short version of the Gough clip? Somebody important was kicked out of something while being interviewed for a comedy show?
posted by ardgedee at 6:18 PM on May 4, 2008

Somebody important was kicked out of something while being interviewed for a comedy show?

See the photo at the top of the page? It was taken directly after that clip was shot.
posted by Wolof at 7:04 PM on May 4, 2008

whoa, 200 proof nostalgia. The Aunty Jack show aired (briefly?) in the UK when I was a little 'un. I remember describing it to some friends at the time, and they (as usual) thought I was on another planet. So it was real!
posted by scruss at 7:04 PM on May 4, 2008

Gary McDonald is an astonishingly gifted actor with a range that most in the craft would donate a major organ to inherit. He is a treasure.
posted by Henry C. Mabuse at 9:27 PM on May 4, 2008

I loved Gary McDonald as Norman Gunston - although the 90s revival of the character caused McDonald to have a nervous breakdown. And he was excellent as the put-upon son in "Mother & Son". Having recently seen him on stage in "Guys & Dolls", he's a great actor but a terrible singer.
posted by crossoverman at 9:33 PM on May 4, 2008

If you ever get to see a tele-play called Jimmy Dancer starting McDonald, you should. It's great
posted by mattoxic at 10:15 PM on May 4, 2008

Gary McDonald is an astonishingly gifted actor with a range that most in the craft would donate a major organ to inherit. He is a treasure.

True. I've seen in in at least a couple of serious plays; either Sydney Theatre Company or Belvoir St Theatre, I forget which, and comedy is certainly not the only string to his bow.
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:32 PM on May 4, 2008

Oh my gosh, I miss Frank Zappa terribly.
posted by jessamyn at 11:31 PM on May 4, 2008

Here's the transcript of his turn on Australian Story, in which he discusses his anxiety disorder at some length, among other things.

His and Effie's interpretation of Amigos Para Siempre was one of the funniest things I'd ever seen at the time, but I'm having no luck finding a vid now. For straight work, he was brilliant (and poignant and moving and funny and pathetic and...) in Eggshells, another Geoffrey Atherden-penned show.
posted by goo at 1:04 AM on May 5, 2008

goo> Here's the transcript of his turn on Australian Story

That transcript contains one my favorite Garry Macdonald moments, his speech from when he accepted his Hall of Fame/Life Time Achievement (not sure what it's actually called) Logie award.

Thank you very much. I must say I was, very surprised when they told me I'd won this award because only a couple of months ago I was on 'Where Are They Now'. Which didn't seem to be a great reflection on my career, especially as I was actually on air in two shows on two different networks at the time! But, you know, you get used to that. One year you're on 'This Is Your Life', the next 'Where Are They Now', until you slip into obscurity in a 20-part drama on the ABC.

It cracked me up when I he said that. I'd seen him on "Where are they Now" and it was so perverse I wondered if Seven wasn't trying to undermine his appearance on channel Nine that same week. At the time it seemed too surreal. As he said, the thing on the ABC was long running, but I'm pretty sure the other thing he was in that week was a one off guest star thing.

Man he's good. He and Ruth Cracknell in "Mother and Son" were sublime. I would compare them to the on screen chemistry of Judi Dench and Geoffrey Palmer. Which is perhaps unfortunate for Garry 'cause it seemed like "Mother and Son" and "Norman Gunston" haunted his mainstream career. Although no doubt his own personal demons played their part. Extremely selfishly I wonder if had he 'made it big' in the way his talent warrants, smaller productions, especially on the stage, would have been deprived his presence.
posted by adamt at 1:59 AM on May 5, 2008

I may be misremembering this, but I do seem to recall hearing that Norman Gunston was the only fictitious character ever to win a Logie, and that this pleased Garry McDonald no end.
posted by flabdablet at 3:48 AM on May 5, 2008

I just love that clip where he's jamming (sorrying - jellying "You call it jelly over here") with Frank Zappa and breaks into the ABC News theme while Zappa looks at him like he's a complete dill. Genius.
posted by awfurby at 4:11 AM on May 5, 2008

This post is full of win.
posted by turgid dahlia at 4:48 AM on May 5, 2008

Such a beautiful genius.
posted by The Monkey at 6:32 AM on May 5, 2008

To have a drink dumped on you by Keith Moon is a great honor!
posted by Mister_A at 8:17 AM on May 5, 2008

Fantastic humor. Seems like Paul McCartney liked him.
posted by gorgor_balabala at 8:43 AM on May 5, 2008

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