The Scared Weird Little Guys Are Back
The Beloved Comedy Duo at Brisbane Comedy Fest
For the first time in 8 years, the hilarious Australian duo known as the Scared Weird Little Guys will be returning to our stages! John and Rusty, affectionately known as the “Scaredies” will be bringing us their biggest and best hits accompanied by some incredible new stunts, jokes and songs that’ll get you laughing like nobody’s business! Be sure to catch them at the Brisbane Powerhouse the 8th - 10th of March!
Hey John and Rusty! How was your holiday away from the stage for the past 8 years?
John: Well, it's been a whirlwind! I've been putting together a Powderfinger cover band called Talcum Digit. So I've actually been on stage quite a bit. What about you Rusty?
Rusty: I've been doing a lot of on-stage stuff as well. I've learnt how to do it by myself - performing on stage that is! I've also been working with another guy in a duo, and playing in bands and wrote a couple of books and all that sort of stuff. So it's not been away from the stage, but away from each other. We've done the odd thing over the time together.
John: It's kind of like whenever the cause or the money is right the Scardies will reemerge. But it's very interesting symmetry that our very last show in 2011 was in Brisbane and our first public show at this moment of coming back is in Brisbane.
Awesome, so what brings you guys back to the stage?
Rusty: Loneliness, need for affirmation. *laughs
John: Stability. No, over the years we've had a few people ask us if we wanted to come back and do a run of shows but it never felt like the right time. But the producer who is working with us at the moment framed it in a way that we really couldn't say no.
I love it! So what can we expect from your farewell tour?
Rusty: Well it's a greatest hits show, some of which we'd forgotten how to do which is really funny. So we had to look on YouTube to work out who's line it was and go through some old stuff. But there's some new stuff in there as well, a few new tricks.
John: But basically Scardies, two guys, two guitars, talking crap and singing songs in harmony.
Rusty: Yeah, it's been our experience in the past that if we're having fun the audience is too. So we're just going to get on the stage and enjoy ourselves and see what happens.
That's a great motto! So who/what is your motivation for your incredible acts?
Rusty: Well we started performing in a five-part acapella group, and when that was finishing we saw this Canadian group called Corky and the Juicepins. It's a three-part group and we just saw this energy and absurdity and musical tricks they were doing and wanted to do something like that. So they were certainly an influence on us. But comedically, I love Steve Martin and Monte Python.
John: Yeah, all those influencers have a glancing little look at music and I guess there's also coming out of a classic sort of vaudeville tradition of two guys standing on stage. Now I should say for the first 12 months to two years we hardly spoke on stage at all, we would just sing the songs. Then we started doing things called talking bits where we'd talk and that got more and more until we probably half and half with talking and having fun and telling jokes and interacting with the audience then we'd sing a song.
That's a great format. So what do you hope the audience gets out of your shows?
Rusty: Enjoyment and entertainment.
John: Yeah, certainly a smile, and sense of them being included. At the very best our shows become inclusive so it's like we're all there together and there isn't a performer and an audience, although of course there is. But there's a unification where we start laughing together and that's pretty great.
I love it! So how have your performances evolved since you started working together?
Rusty: Oh my God, like John was saying with the experience thing and the talking thing and learning how to tell jokes and do that kind of thing, that's improved. Because we've come from musical backgrounds and that's always been there, we've done over four and a half thousand shows in the time we've been together and everything improves if you do it enough.
John: And over the course of the 21 years we were together working, we reinvented ourselves multiple times and worked with symphony orchestras and rock bands and in lots of different venues and we did the opening of the closing ceremony for the Commonwealth Games. Which is in front of ninety thousand people on a stage, that was an amazing experience. So all of those things influence who we are as performers and musicians and so that means we aren't anxious about being on stage, we just get on there and have a good time.
Rusty: Since we've been performing a little bit over the last year or so, it's a very comfortable place on stage when we get together. I'm very at home, I've trained him well!
So what's been the biggest challenge as a duo and how have you overcome it?
John: A lot of the time it has been pretty straightforward. We get asked to do gigs or we think of gigs to do and we do them and it's pretty straight ahead. I guess in a sense, the fact that we did finish in 2011 and we made the choice not to work as the Scardies anymore, there was obviously a divergence in what we wanted to do, in a sense coming back and realigning our aims around doing these shows in Brisbane, I guess you could say that was a challenge, although that was kind of easy too.
Rusty: One thing I've noticed when we had the break, writing things for a solo act and anything you decide on is in. You don't have to consult with another person I guess. And the writing process can never be 50/50, so there's gonna be give and take and that's probably a challenge. But I've only noticed that since I started doing it by myself.
How did this show come about? You guys have obviously split and now you're coming back together so what made you decide on this occasion that this is a show people want?
Rusty: This promoter who has done a lot of shows at Brisbane Comedy Festival told us he's always been such a big fan and asked if we wanted to do another show. And initially we didn't want to because it sounds like the same thing we used to do all the time, but he made an amazing offer and here we are!
John: It's win-win all around. From what I understand the shows are selling well so that's really good to be welcomed back by Brisbane as well.
Definitely. So what's the craziest thing that's happened to you guys on tour?
Rusty: There was a fight over snowmobiles that got broken out in Northern Canada. It was the beginning of winter and it was a college gig in a small town and it was just starting to snow and we were all excited about the snow but the college kids were all over it by then. We were talking about Ski-Doos, thinking that snowmobiles were Ski-Doos and we didn't realise they were a brand. And some people started yelling out "Ski-Doo's sucks, Yamaha rules!". It's like a Ford, Holden kind of thing. There was abuse and a chair slid across the floor then there was a full on fight break out defending the honour of snowmobile brands and we had to run off stage.
John: Probably around that same tour in the snow we used to carry around a football with us to kick around. And it got so cold in the car at one stage that the football burst, it was the temperature where it's the same in degrees as it is in Fahrenheit. Minus 30 or something, that was pretty wild!
So can you tell us a bit more about the story behind your name?
John: It's actually an anagram ... no, it's not! We were actually trying to think of a name, we'd put a whole lot on this blackboard, we didn't have whiteboards back then! And we watched a movie and this line came up that leapt out at us and we crossed all the other names off and that one was left. The name ceases to mean anything after a while, certainly to us, and hopefully to other people.
Rusty: We just like the three words and how they sound together.
And now it just is. So, I know it's probably like having children and you can't have a favourite, but for each of you is there a favourite song that you've written?
Rusty: There are some fun ones to do live. I love Deadly Animals, The M&M, Waltzing Matilda.
John: We do a bit where we sing four songs at the same time and get the audience to join in, that's always fun! And I love the 80s song too. It's very hard to pick a favourite but I know which ones I'm leaving in my will.
Do you guys have a favourite thing to do in Brisbane when you're not performing?
Rusty: I love the tracks along the river. I'm a keen runner so I love to do that. I used to bring the rollerblades back in the day.
John: I was gonna talk about the river too! How lovely it is in South Bank and all that. The first time I really spent any time in Brisbane was around Expo 88, so the whole area has totally been converted. But it's nice to walk through there and see what it's like now. But Brisbane's just cool.
We've talked about favourite songs, but what's been your favourite performance and why?
Rusty: There's been so many! I've loved the Closing Ceremony of the Commonwealth Games, that was pretty amazing! But my favourite was the State Orchestra of Victoria and the 200 voice choir at the concert hall in Melbourne that we did our own show for.
John: I would have to agree with that, it was an outstanding experience to be in the centre of that.
If you guys weren’t comedians, what would you do for a living?
Rusty: I was a roof plumber in Brisbane for two years once I left school. I was there long enough to know I never wanted to do it! But I always thought I could work in a toy shop and invent toys or games because that's something I've always loved. Or maybe just in a band I guess.
John: I have a Bachelor of Biochemistry. But I've recently been working in festivals and events so if I could I'd probably work there.
So onto some fun questions, if you could invite three people dead or alive to a dinner party, who would you choose?
Rusty: Probably, Elvis, Ernest Shackleton the Antarctic Explorer and Kent Williams.
John: I would invite Leonardo Da Vinci, Barack Obama and this Great, Great Grandfather of mine whose name was Thomas Lowe who made and lost like four fortunes across his life and I'd like to just ask him about that.
Rusty: Can we finish up our dinner parties then swap? Yours sounds fun!
So if you were kidnapped and held for ransom, what TV show would you get to rescue you?
John: I haven't actually owned a TV for the last 10 years, so is Netflix ok?
Yeah, that works too!
John: I would have the Hearse from Six Feet Under come and get me out of trouble.
Rusty: The Walking Dead! They're gonna kick some serious ass and get me back!
Well, thanks for chatting with us, we look forward to catching your show! Is there anything else you want to tell our viewers/listeners/readers?
Rusty: Ah, I think we covered it.
John: It was great. I don't think we've done any shows at Sunnybank, and we're doing a show in Sunpack on the 7th of March, so we're really looking forward to going down there and playing for that audience. It's amazing to be back at the Powerhouse, we've had such good experiences here, so we're looking forward to those shows.
Awesome, well Brisbane's looking forward to having you perform!
Be sure to check out our social media for a cheeky preview on what to expect at The Scared Weird Little Guys show!
About the Author
In an ideal world you'll find me on a beach, but in reality it's more like anywhere my friends and family are. I'm a lover of pups (especially my own), travelling and new experiences, I'm constantly up for a challenge! I'm always keen for an adventure, so let's go on one!