Sunday, February 28, 2010

Paul McDermott

Who is Paul McDermott?

Well, Lord Wiki says he's a performer. His thing now is being the host of a quiz show called Good News Week. The other thing he's well known for is being part of the musical comedy group, Doug Anthony All Stars. I think I've mentioned them before; but I don't remember why.

Baby Paul was born in Adelaide, on 13 May 1962. He had five siblings; one of them is his fraternal twin.

The McDermott family was Catholic. Daddy McDermott was a public servant; and Lord Wiki says that Mommy McDermott was a home-manager. Is that another word for home-maker/stay-at-home mom? Or is it something different?

When McDermott was three, his family moved to Canberra....I guess because his dad was a public servant. He went to a school that was part of a Catholic movement called The Marist Brothers. The Marist Brothers website says they're all about bringing Jesus to those in need. I guess they're missionaries for the most part.

During his school years, McDermott was a shy loner. I'm guessing he overcame some of that shyness.

After McDermott finished with high school, he attended the Canberra School of Art. He wanted to be a painter. This is funny. He says that painting is his first love, and the only reason he started performing was to pay for more art supplies. He said it was a choice between that and waiting tables.

Although he doesn't paint professionally, McDermott keeps it up as a private hobby. That's cool.

Lord Wiki says that McDermott is atheist. I guess the Catholic school failed to brainwash him. Politically, he's all over the board. Sometimes he's ultra-conservative, and other times he's way on the left. It sounds like he's a free-thinker. I admire that.

McDermott has a partner named Melissa. They have one child together named Xavier. The name Xavier makes me think of Xavier Roberts, the Cabbage Patch Doll man.

All right. Now I'm going to read what Lord Wiki has to say about the Doug Anthony All Stars. They did their thing from 1984-1995. McDermott, and a guy named Tim Ferguson, did the main vocals. Richard Fidler was the guitar guy.

They started off with busking in 1984.

In 1986, they won an award from the Adelaide Fringe Festival. After the win, they relocated to Melbourne. Why didn't they move to Adelaide? Well, since that was where the award came from? Plus, it's McDermott's birth town.

The Adelaide Fringe Festival still happens, and in's going on right now.

Lord Wiki says the Doug Anthony All Stars didn't really become successful until they went to that famous festival in Edinburgh. Their success wasn't with Australians though. It was the UK folks who liked the Doug Anthony thing. Australians barely noticed them. But then by 1989, that changed a bit when McDermott and friends made appearances on a show called The Big Gig.

Here's a clip of them on the show. I can't say this is making me laugh hysterically. I don't think my sense of humor matches least not in this instance. The bit around 4:30, gave me a slight smile. That's about all I've managed so far.

Lord Wiki says the group got their attention and applause by saying controversial and politically incorrect things.

Oh! Now I remember why I recognized their name. They took it from a Deputy Prime Minister that I've written about. Do I remember anything about Deputy Prime Minister Doug Anderson? No, not really.

It looks like McDermott's next big thing was Good News Week. Lord Wiki says that was on from 1996-2000, and then back on again in 2008.

Originally, ABC was not keen on having McDermott as the host of their new show. They didn't like that he was best known as being the bad boy from the Doug Anthony All Stars. Plus, he had dreadlocks which further prejudiced the network against him.

McDermott chopped off the dreadlocks, and he also toned down his bad boy act a bit. He showed a more gentle side to himself. I guess it worked out. The show seems to have done well.

Sometimes he sang on the show. Here's one of the songs that was well received by viewers. He has a nice voice. I like their performance. I can see why it became popular.

In 2005, McDermott wrote, directed, and starred in his own play. It was called MOSH! Some critics found it to be quite funny, but others found it to be offensive.

Wow. He has quite a variety of work behind his name.

He acted as a columnist for various Australian newspapers. Some of the columns were published in a book called The Forgetting of Wisdom. That's a parody, right? Wasn't there The Getting of Wisdom? I think it was written by the guy dying of cancer.

Oh. No. I'm totally wrong. The Getting of Wisdom is that Australian book. I watched a clip of the movie a few weeks ago. I don't know how I forgot it. It's the one with the lesbian storyline.

What is the cancer book called then? Ah. The Last Lecture. How did I get that confused? I have no idea.

McDermott has written two children's books. One is Scree, and the other is The Girl Who Swallowed Bees. The latter sounds a little familar to me. It was turned into a short movie. I think I shall watch it now. In 2007, it won the AFI award for best animation short.

It's incredibly dark and creepy.

Well, now it's getting a little more sweet.

I kind of hated it at first, but in the end it's kind of a good story.

Hugo Weaving does the narration. I saw that mentioned on YouTube. I'm not sure I'd have recognized his voice otherwise.

Now I'll watch Scree.

Oh! Ruth Cracknell is the narrator in this! I didn't recognize her voice either.

The younger version of Cracknell's character reminds me of Jessica from True Blood.

The movie is about a mysterious island with a dangerous monster. It's reminding me of Lost.

If Samara from The Ring ever wrote a children's book, I think it would be very much like the books that McDermott has created.

In 2009, McDermott did voice-work for a short movie called Tegan the Vegan. This website says it's about a twelve-year-old girl who learns where meat comes from, and decides to be vegan. She has to face peer ridicule and intolerance. I wouldn't mind seeing that someday. I know some vegetarians and vegans can be annoying at times, and MAYBE sometime I'm one of them. But I think the opposition is annoying too. Tim and I talked about this. With some people, you don't have to push your beliefs on them. All you have to do is HAVE the beliefs (or lifestyles) and they feel threatened.

It's one thing is a vegetarian starts yelling at her table mates. Do you know where your meat comes from? Do you? Do you! But if they get annoyed at her for simply skipping the steak and eating just the potatoes and steamed veggies, that's ridiculous.

I'm fortunate in that my family is very supportive of my vegetarian diet. My dad even goes and buys me special Vegetarian frozen dinners if he knows the meal we're eating at the lake house will be too meat-oriented. People joke around and tease me, but it's all good-natured...and I play along too.

I'm trying to think if anyone in my life has given me a hard time. I don't think so. It's more stuff I see online. One of the most ridiculous is the Hitler-was-a-Vegetarian. Yes, so that must make the rest of us vegetarians genocidal maniacs as well. Hitler also painted. Should we then be antagonistic against all artists? Ah, here's a great essay about the whole argument. It says what I just said, but in much better detail. It also questions whether Hitler was even a vegetarian in the first place. It seems his definition was a bit loose.

I should stop rambling on about this because I'm writing about a vegan in a few days. I can get more off my chest then.

Where should we go next?

Maybe I'll watch some more videos. Or no. I think I'll start with the news. There's something here with Kevin Rudd. I guess he was on Good News Weekly. The Herald Sun says that Rudd succeeded in being funny. They have the video. I'm laughing at them mispronouncing the place names. It makes me feel better knowing that even Australians struggle with it sometimes...although they could be just joking.

I like the bit about his friends declining in number. I like people who can make fun of themselves.

McDermott was in some controversy lately because he participated in an ad for Channel 10. The ad pokes fun at patients in a mental health support group. Mental health advocates weren't happy with that. Now I'll have to watch the ad to know if I find it offensive or not. But my initial feeling is that we should be able to laugh at stuff like this....perhaps not at the patients, but the whole world of psychology and psychiatry. I find a lot of it to be very ridiculous.

A person from the mental health community said They make a joke of what can be a really important process for those dealing with a mental health crisis and if it discourages even one person from seeking out this sort of help or support that is not on.

If a person lets one little ad discourage them from getting help, that's pretty sad. I personally feel there's a lot out there that could make someone distrustful of the whole mental health profession. I avoid it not because of the comedy I've seen, but rather the stories of overdiagnosis, electric shock therapy, over-prescribing of drugs, people experiencing rejection from therapists, etc.

I wonder if the mental health therapists complaining ever read Peter Kocan's book....or something like it.

I'm sure there are good therapists out there. And I'm sure some people are truly helped. But I think a lot of it is just plain shit.

Yeah. I'm like Tom Cruise when it comes to Psychiatry. But I'm not a Scientologist. I did almost buy The Dianetics book at the Goodwill store last Sunday. I've been curious about it, and there it was. But I flipped through it, and it looked boring. So I just bought The Handmaids Tail and some Australian epic thing instead.

I'm going to watch some videos now.

Here's McDermott on Rove. McDermott comes on wearing some kind of Christian crusade outfit.

I laughed a little at the part starting at 1:40...about the ARIA awards.

There's a gruesome eye injury story here. Yikes.

I'm kind of tired of watching videos. I think I'm going to quit here.

If you're is a link to more of my biography posts.


  1. Hi Dina,

    Paul did an interview 'type' segment with Kevin Rudd last week, in the form of a game show.
    The Prime Minister was very good natured about the whole thing.
    As soon as I saw it, I told my wife I had to send you the link....

    Lol then I forgot.

  2. Alex,

    I'm touched that you thought of sending me the link when you saw it!

    I did see the video. I think Rudd was cute in it.