The good, the bad and the guitarist.
"D.A.A.S - We're the best forget the rest!"
The Doug Anthony All Stars (DAAS) were an Australian musical comedy group who performed together between 1984 and 1994. The band was an acoustic trio comprising Paul McDermott (of Good News Week
fame) and Tim Ferguson on main vocals and Richard Fidler on backing vocals. They were known for their aggressive, provocative style; their habit of involving (and attacking) audience members and their tendency to go after controversial, topical and taboo subject matter. Each band member adopted distinctive onstage personas, with Paul playing the evil bastard
and Tim assuming the part of the ignorant narcissist, while Richard's character was the eternally, cheerfully naive victim
of the others' cruel jokes.
After a sell-out run at the Edinburgh Fringe DAAS built up a strong British following, although both their studio album (DAAS Icon
) and their book (DAAS Book
) were briefly banned in the UK. A regular role on the popular Australian comedy show The Big Gig
helped them achieve recognition in their home country; they were a weekly feature on the show until 1991, when they left to create their own comedy series, DAAS Kapital
. Along the way they also made a number of live comedy albums, two VHS videos and one film, and were inexplicably invited to play at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics where it's said their heartfelt rendition of "I Fuck Dogs" brought the house down.DAAS Kapital
ran for two seasons between 1991 and 1992. Set fifteen years into the future
, the show takes place in a dystopian world ruled by a global government-corporation
called Shitsu Tonka
. Under the universal Common Cents currency and the homogenised culture imposed by the government, the world is no longer troubled by petty nationalism or war and is ostensibly flourishing. History has been declared officially over and, to protect the population from dangerous ideas, Shitsu Tonka has assigned three men to catalogue all the artistic works and historical artefacts of the world... preferably as far away from civilisation as possible. Cast adrift in their submarine-slash-spaceship, the Titanic II
, their existence denied by the government, the Doug Anthony All Stars find themselves left to their own lunatic devices. The show was almost universally panned by critics, but developed a loyal fan following.
The boys were well known for their tendency to tell outrageous lies to journalists during interviews, with the aim of getting them published as fact. Which, oftentimes, they were. In one particularly memorable occasion, the band told a British reporter that their namesake, Doug Anthony (in reality a fairly unmemorable Deputy Prime Minister of Australia), was a beloved and dearly departed Prime Minister of Australia who had been assassinated by right wing extremists on November 11, 1975. This choice piece of bullshit made it into The Times
, The Guardian
and The Independent
before anyone thought to question its validity. On another occasion, they announced to Australian reporters that they had been cast in the 1989 Batman film and had subsequently become best buds with Jack Nicholson - a lie that made headlines across the country and achieved front-page status on the TV guide of Melbourne's Herald Sun
They split in 1994, but their lunacy lives on.
Their comedy provides examples of:
- Audience Participation: Usually to the deep misfortune of the audience member in question. Paul was prone to stealing shoes and shoving them down his pants. If ever anybody was fool enough to complain about the stench of the boys' never-been-washed costumes, they were tackled and their heads buried under Paul's armpit until they stopped flailing.
- Berserk Button: Don't make Paul do the Joan of Arc song. Really.
- Black Comedy: This is a band that used to sing about necrophilia ("Necro-romancer"), bestiality ("I Fuck Dogs"), their desire to murder Oprah Winfrey ("Oprah"), the Twelve Apostles' drug habit ("Catholic Girls on LSD"), their wish to crawl back inside their mothers' wombs ("Mummy Dearest"), and snogging grandma ("World's Best Kisser"). And that's just for starters.
- Butt Monkey: Richard, the eternal victim.
- Catch Phrase: Richard's teacherly "eyes this way, people!" bit.
Paul: That's a fuckin' gift you've got.
- Comedic Sociopathy
- The Cover Changes The Meaning: The boys' baritone cover of "I Am Woman" (here) gives the feminist anthem a whole new meaning.
- Hypocritical Humor
- Mood Whiplash: Live At The National Theatre: Violent slapping competition turned garbage throwing and All Star-carrying event (all involving the audience) suddenly turns into a heartfelt rendition of "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood"
Tim: Wake up to yourselves, people, that was rubbish.
- Trouser Space: Did I mention Paul shoved female audience members' shoes down his pants? Also in Live At The National, Paul shoves an audience member's pants and jacket down his trousers.
- Lighter and Softer: Paul's shtick on Good News Week is a toned down version of what he did with DAAS.
- Lyrical Dissonance: I Fuck Dogs sounds like a cheesy early sixties love song.
- You Bastard
Their show, DAAS Kapital, provides examples of:
- All Just a Dream In one episode.
- Anything That Moves: Flacco.
- Ax-Crazy: Psycho Bob, a psychotic American serial killer with a fixation on Tim.
- Black Comedy Rape: "Don't turn your back on Satan. I learned from that simple mistake."
- Brain in a Jar: Saint Peter's brain, in fact. It turns into a Dirty Old Man thanks to Tim and Richard's bad influence.
- Brainless Beauty: Tim.
- Cargo Ship: Tim/Stella. It's canon.
- Catch Phrase: "You hate me!" "Oh, funny man, funny man!" "I could GO for you!" "I'm Bob, and I'll be back." "I got a problem."
- Death Is Cheap: Richard explodes in the season 1 finale. Fortunately he's all better by the time season 2 rolls around.
- Domestic Abuse: Paul's family.
- Drugs Are Bad: They're really really really really really really really...
- Embarrassing Middle Name
- Evil Twin: Richard's evil Siamese twin Jesse who, subsequent to being murdered by Richard, takes up residence in his brother's brain.
- Fractured Fairy Tale: The episode "Lust", which is loosely based around Cinderella. Paul and Tim are preparing for the Royal Rhino Misogynists Lodge's annual ball, but Richard isn't allowed to go to the ball because he isn't a member of the Lodge. Instead, he has to stay home and do the cleaning... until his Fairy Godfish intervenes!
"Tim, Tim: you've got no brain. Paul, Paul: you've got no heart. Richard, Richard: you've got no courage... you wimp!"
- I Am A Humanitarian: Wayne Kerr and his pals, Spinner and Paddlefoot. Also, the Allstars themselves at one point.
- Incredibly Lame Pun: When Richard dates a mermaid in "Lust", a lot of bad puns ensue: "What are you doing, Rich? You're only a prawn in her game, you'll never kipper. My sole cries for you, Rich, but I won't carp on - look, I'll hum a happy tuna... salmon enchanted evening."
- Jackass Genie: Flacco, in the episode "Anger".
- Mega Corp.: In the future, the world is ruled by the Shitsu Tonka Corporation.
- One Nation Under Copyright: Try One Globe Under Copyright.
- President Buffoon: World leaders mentioned include President Donny Osmond and President Shirley MacLaine (though both are presumably puppets of Shitsu Tonka).
- The Pope
- Reset Button: Used constantly and shamelessly. Main characters die, are revealed to be exploding robots or secret aliens or were-cockroaches, only to be completely back to normal in the next episode.
- Riding the Bomb
- Running Gag: Lots of them.
- Space Is an Ocean: And their spaceship of choice is a submarine!
- Strawman News Media: The news media, like everything else, is run by the government-corporation Shitsu Tonka. Memorable news announcements include "Another day of global peace where nothing much happens. No war, no inflation, no violence, no rainforest. That's a Shitsu Tonka day." and "As the Titanic bomb ticks towards detonation, Shitsu Tonka suggests those on the western seaboard of China step outside for a good view of the explosion. Shitsu Tonka: bringing you better sunsets."
- Virgin Sacrifice: Paul threatens Richard with this.
- We Will All Be History Buffs in the Future: Subverted; the government-corporation Shitsu-Tonka has declared history officially over. All artwork and historical artefacts are therefore regarded as dangerous and have been stored on the submarine/spaceship the Titanic II for cataloguing by the Doug Anthony All Stars.
- Why Am I Ticking?: Richard, who in the season 1 finale "Anger" is discovered to be a robot-slash-time bomb.