Comedian Robin Williams knows more about Australia than most Australians might think. He practically lived here, in a beach house on the Central Coast, for many years during the 1980s. This gave him opportunities to make unannounced appearances at Sydney stand-up comedy venues, like The Harold Park Hotel. During one of these shows, he improvised about Australian men and culture for more than 20 minutes, and it was absolutely brilliant.
Williams is still riffing on Australia, in his new show The Crazy Ones about a NYC advertising agency:
In a recent episode, he pitched a campaign to officials of the Australian Tourist Board, who kept telling him to “dumb it down”.
Williams improvised this aside to his colleagues: “Oh God how I hate them. They’re so smug in their board shorts. And that accent. It’s like sand in your ears. Gday mate, no worries, put another shrimp on the barbie, Sheila this is Bruce. Their two dollar coin is smaller than their one dollar coin. Every single animal down there can kill you. And it takes forever to dry your hair.”
One of his colleagues protested that “they gave us Naomi Watts”. Williams replied: “They also gave us The Wiggles, which are only enjoyable if you’re high. What kind of message is that for kids?”.Williams admits his only experience of Australia was a drinkathon, after which “I woke up in a speedo on a beach in Perth, being pulled into the bush by an eastern grey kangaroo. An Aboriginal woman fought him off and I was with her for a while. There’s more, but I don’t want to bore you.”