The Merchant of Menace

May 31, 2011 Agencies
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Sydney-based comedy star Sandy Gutman, popularly known as his alter ego Austen Tayshus, has launched his biography…”The Merchant of Menace”

 

 

Ross Fitzgerald, Austen Tayshus and Rick Murphy

To an audience reacting with hysterical laughter and riotous applause, Gutman’s book made its public debut at the Sydney Jewish Museeum.

Co-written by controversial Sydney-based author and broadcaster Professor Ross Fitzgerald and Western Australian writer, Rick Murphy, AUSTEN TAYSHUS: MERCHANT OF MENACE was published yesterday by Sydney-based Hale & Iremonger. A regular columnist with The Weekend Australian, AUSTEN TAYSHUS is Ross Fitzgerald’s 34th published book.

Publisher Michael Rakusin said, “It was one of the most unusual book launches I have ever attended. Normally, launches are fairly sedate affairs with the tinkling of wine glasses and the hushed chitter chatter of considered discussion. Sandy was his usual outrageous self. He redefined the concept of a book launch. I think it’s going to take two weeks for my aching ribs to recover.”

Sandy Gutman, who in the federal election stood for The Australian Sex Party against Tony Abbott in the seat of Warringah, began by talking about  “erecting a rabbot-proof fence”, which involved a pun on the Liberal Party leader’s long-lost younger brother Roger Abbott.
AUSTEN TAYSHUS had the select audience of 80 in absolute hysterics, yet at the same time made it clear that, as the son of a Holocaust survivor, his comedy also has a very edgy dark side. Professor Fitzgerald, whose entry in WHOS WHO IN AUSTRALIA lists his hobbies as “AFL football, cricket, and comedy’ , told the audience that Sandy Gutman/Austen Tayshus  is Australia’s most dangerous and subversive performer.

Fitzgerald pointed out that farce and satire are not readily understood in Australia – which is one of many reasons why Austen Tayshus is at the very edge stand-up comedy and is still not fully appreciated. He added that for years he has told anyone who cares to listen that  “Barry Humphries and Sandy Gutman are Australia’s two most talented, living comedians.”

For the record, before Ross & Rick Murphy began to write his biography, Sandy agreed that he could have neither any editorial input into the book or any right of veto.  Gutman, who is notorious for not heeding restrictions or obeying instruction, also agreed that he would not see the book before it was printed and came face to face with it at the launch for the first time.

In front of many friends and a couple of adversaries, and members of the press, Austen Tayshus left last night’s audience baying for more. But the real test of AUSTEN TAYSHUS: MERCHANT OF MENACE will be the reviews, one or two of which are expected this Saturday.

Gutman and Tayshus will appear on the popluar ABC TV program Q&A this coming Monday on a panel which will also include Fairfax award-winning journalist Paul McGeough, who covered the Gaza Flotilla incident, Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon, Minister for Health Nicola Roxon and Liberal MP Christopher Pyne.

 

 

 

Comments

2 Responses to “The Merchant of Menace”
  1. Rita says:

    “…Gutman and Tayshus will appear on the popluar ABC TV program Q&A this coming Monday on a panel which will also include Fairfax award-winning journalist Paul McGeough, who covered the Gaza Flotilla incident, Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon, Minister for Health Nicola Roxon..”.

    I take it that you meant “covered the Gaza Flotilla incident” ironically? As to the participants on the next Q&A: McGeough AND Lee Rhiannon: WOW, we will probably have a double feature of the usual Abott-Bashing AND Jew-Bashing. Can’t wait. *rolls eyes*.

  2. Otto Waldmann says:

    At long last I can convey my sentiments of the deepest admiration to Sandy Gutman for his documentary on Poland.
    It prooved that one has to be of the highest intelligence and noblest of spirit to be a great man of humour as well.
    Margaret deserves all the naches.

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