Lano and Woodley: Together again
ITS not often you see Australian entertainment legends return after a massive farewell tour, but for fans of comedy their wishes have been answered.
And no, it's not John Farnham.
THE history of Lano & Woodley as a comedy duo dates back to 1986, and there is a whole generation of Australians who grew up laughing along with them as they played live shows, made a TV series for the ABC and created laughter all over the world.
After 20 years together as a duo, the comedians decided to call it a day, and spent most of 2006 playing in no less than 45 towns and cities as part of their Goodbyeeee tour.
Frank Woodley went on to forge a successful career as a solo performer on stage and screen, while Colin Lane also was in demand in theatre and as the host of TV's Ready, Steady Cook.
Now, 12 years later the pair are back together for a new show, Fly, based round the exploits of the Wright Brothers, and tickets have been selling like hot cakes.
Colin Lane seems to be the person in real life that we all know from stage. He says things as he sees them, yet retains a humility about how his career has panned out.
"It was a weird feeling saying goodbye back in 2006," Colin said from his Melbourne home. "Frank admits that after two decades the cracks were starting to appear. If you can imagine going to Europe and backpacking with your best friend for six weeks...then imagine doing it for 20 years.
"We both thought it had come to a point that things were getting a bit repetitive, and to be honest it's great to come back like this and have people saying 'yay' not 'ugh'.
"You get to a mature vintage of age...I mean old, and you realise life is short, just don't worry about the negatives. The fact you're back together, people like what you do and they are genuinely excited about this fact, so you know what? Bugger it."
The duo had always kept in touch, but it was when they were asked to do a skit together for the 30th anniversary of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival that had them back on stage for the first time in 12 years.
"Truth is it was someone else who ended up getting us back together, and we didn't want to do old material for it, we wanted to do something new that recognised we hadn't performed together in all this time. So we drew up this skit where were said we had contracts that said we couldn't be on stage at the same time. We were mucking around, laughing, writing, and we sort of went,' what do you reckon...well I reckon maybe...what do you think?'
"Twelve years is a good time. If we'd have got back together after 2 years it wouldn't be special. We're still fit but of course a bit older. When we fall down we don't bounce back up, we lie there and think 'Ooh this is nice.'"
The current show Fly began a national tour in the ACT, and ticket sales for the national tour have been incredible, showing that fans still love the duo.
"When we finished the first show back together in March, we had an enormous sense of relief. We did a year to 18 months of pre-production with this show, and at the same time we're in a very privileged position when we know people who are coming to see it, already like us. It's not like we are going to Edinburgh and performing to 12 people in a 200-seat venue...we are up there for people who want to see our show.
"So we did the goodbye tour 12 years ago, we're doing a Hello tour at the moment then next year we're thinking of breaking up again," Colin laughed. "Not to put too many John Farnham reverences in there but we have the joy of saying goodbye and then hello we're back.
"Frank and I have maintained to this day we've never taken ourselves too seriously. We followed our noses, and honestly thought at any time any day someone was going to tap us on the shoulder and say 'Okay boys. Come on. You've had a great run, but you're not that funny.' We have a self-deprecating attitude on stage, and that's offstage as well."
Now in his early fifties, Colin loves the fact that for over thirty years, Australians have loved Lano & Woodley to this very day, and it's not something that is lost on him.
"There's probably people in that audience who came and saw us when they were 25 and now they are 55. They've had children and now some are grandparents...so we are possibly into our third generation of fans. We've had kids at these shows, it's terrific" he said.
"Our audience goes from five to 65, and that's so satisfying as a performer to know there are people who still want to see two dickheads running around on stage desperately seeking attention."
Lano & Woodley 'Fly' is at the Brisbane Powerhouse from June 5th to 17th. Tickets at www.lanoandwoodley.com.au