“The Kids” vote the “old fella” into fame

He calls his wife, Turtle, recycles jokes told in shearing sheds 30 years ago and  loves to berate himself as “the old fella’’.

However, at 68 years of age, retired Yorke  Peninsula farmer, Rod Gregory, has reinvented himself as a stand-up comic, who will perform in the finals of Australia’s Got Talent on Channel 7 on Tuesday week, July 19 at 7.30 pm. And no-one is more surprised than the “old fella’’ himself. “I am in the top 18,’’ says Rod on the telephone from Maitland, Yorke Peninsula this
week. “I am quite mesmerised..I really have the tiger by the tail. “This has all happened because of the young people, a demographic who are voting for me that I would never have imagined. “I got through on telephone calls, y’know – that’s why the whole demographics of it is so amazing!’’

Rod rabbits on in an awed manner about “the kids’’ who have started a Facebook page called “turtle’’, using his on-stage
affectionate name for his wife to drum up voting support for him. “These kids have set it up to vote for me. Their SMSs got me over the line.’’ “It was always my thought that I won’t go far (as a comedian) because my age group doesn’t text messages. “I was a farmer all my life until two years ago…And the old farmers that I am tied to, don’t text.’’

His success on Australia’s Got Talent which sees him performing on television on July 19 to get through to the grand final is a
big turn-around from dismal audience numbers at The Fridge earlier this year. At one southern suburbs performance, only
12 people saw Rod perform – and half of them were family. “I really have no idea why I am popular now,’’ says the old country boy. “All I am doing is the old fashioned stand up knock-em down comedy. “It’s the jokes of a comedy routine and some people will recognise them as off the internet, but most are the same jokes we were telling around the shearing shed floor in the 60s.’’

Which begs the question is laconic Rod rising up as another Paul Hogan? Because Rod, with his touch of the Aussie larrikin has tapped into an iconic Aussie brand of humour which we all recognise and can identify with, whatever our age. And wasn’t that was Hogan’s claim to fame, too.

Rod’s revolution began when he retired from mixed farming and he took a comedian course with Adelaide’s renowned comedian Dave Flanagan, who owns the Comedy Cellars in  Adelaide. “I wouldn’t be on stage if it wasn’t for Dave. He is one of the few comedians who bothers to teach you how to do it.’’    The course includes one on-stage appearance before the live audience at the Comedy Cellars. “I did my first gig there not quite two years ago,’’ says Rod, still chugged by his television success.  “All I like to do is to be funny.’’

Life hasn’t always been funny, though for Rod, who tells how he has had three back operations and has just recovered from
painful surgery to fix  chronic pain in his  thumb.

He has two adult children and four grand-children, two of whom have autism. More on www.theoldfella.com.au.

Be Sociable, Share!

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply