About Tim Ferguson
Tim Ferguson is a political commentator, comedian, producer, and screenwriter. His controversial work has gained him an international reputation as a fearless polemicist and activist. For over quarter of a century, Tim has outraged and delighted millions with what he calls “the capital ‘T’ Truth”.
His new populist polemic programme, ‘With Tim Ferguson’ on C31 is an entirely new approach for Australian television. This private and reclusive man has come out of retirement for the battle of his life.
WRITTEN WORKS: Tim Ferguson is author of The Cheeky Monkey – Writing Narrative Comedy (Currency Press). This screenwriter’s manual unlocks the code to sitcom and comedy writing. The book is an analytical study and practitioner’s guide to the art of comedy writing for film, stage and sitcom. It is the first book of its kind by an Australian screenwriter.
Ferguson’s bestselling political satire, Left, Right & Centre (Penguin) told the story of renegade billionaire, Senator Luther Langbene. This Duntroon graduate uses his military connections and influence with the Australian Governor General to seize power. Under Langbene’s fierce guidance, Australia takes its rightful place as a South East Asian nuclear power. Notorious Labor politician Graeme Richardson said of the book, ‘It scared the pants off me’.
While based in London in the 1980’s and 90’s Tim wrote opinion pieces for The London Times, Time Out, The Guardian, The Independent and The Scotsman. Upon returning to Australia in 1995, he began writing opinion pieces for The Age and Sydney Morning Herald. His pieces regularly break records for complaints to the paper.
Tim Ferguson entered the debate over the 1999 Australian Constitution by writing a Preamble of his own in The Sydney Morning Herald: ‘We, the People of the broad, brown land of Oz, wish to be recognised as a free nation of blokes, sheilas and the occasional trannie. We come from many lands (although a few too many of us come from New Zealand) and, although we live in the best little country in the world, we reserve the right to bitch and moan about it whenever we bloody like.’
Tim Ferguson’s scorn for Conservative politics is legendary. In 1998, he wrote of the Howard Government: ‘Snout in the trough and arse to the wind, Howard has let loose the hogs of war. And, like all good king Johns, he is raising the taxes … The very fabric of our society is being rent asunder in the most radical overhaul in postwar history. Howard the Unready is coming and hell with him.’
Tim has often worked with the Australian Union movement. In 2005, he hosted the ACTU rally against the Howard Government’s oppressive industrial relations policy, Workchoices, in Melbourne. The rally broke attendance records with an estimated 80,000 protesters. Workchoices was thrown in the dustbin of history.
The Maritime Union of Australia invited Tim to host their 10th Anniversary of the Patricks Dispute at the Sydney Convention Centre, with special guest Julian Burnside. Tim, whose father was active in the union industry, describes the event as a personal highlight.
Ferguson describes himself as a ‘bleeding heart’ but often lashes his comrades on the Left. ‘Left-wingers are hopeless,’ he said in June 2010. ‘Both Gulf Wars went ahead because the Left failed to campaign properly against them. Since when do nude protests stop war? It was embarrassing, stupidity at its most deadly. We could have stopped those evil wars if people had kept their clothes on and put up a genuine fight.’ Anonymous representatives of the South East Socialists defended the nude anti-war protests as being ‘good for morale’. (The Gulf Wars had a death toll of over 250,000 Iraqi civilian casualties.)
Tim Ferguson has spoken out on many issues: Afghanistan, atheism, sex, feminism, industrial relations, science, pornography, gay marriage, population growth, polygamy, reality television, drama screenwriting, national security, carbon tax, Generation X, World War I, refugees, modern unionism and the Australian Constitution.
After publishing an article defending ASIO personnel (The Age, 11.3.04) Tim drew ire from Melbourne writer/activist, Jeff Sparrow (author of Radicals). Sparrow complained of our chief spy agency’s ‘Ferguson-style tactics’. Sparrow cited the undercover agent who allegedly infiltrated the on-air breakfast radio team on Melbourne’s Independent Radio 3CR as an example of our spies’ paranoia. (The 3CR agent was allegedly working for the AFP and, as Tim said, ‘made great Left-wing morning radio – chirpy but sincere.’ He went on to praise 3CR – ‘This worthy and popular station should not be condemned for hiring AFP agents to maintain order, watch for dissidents and play records at the right speed. Spies deserve an audience too.’)
In a ferocious opinion piece (The Age, 25.6.04), Tim condemned Anglican Bishop to the Australian Defence Force Dr Tom Frame for defending the second Gulf War as being a ‘just’ war. ‘It is absurd, in the darkest sense,’ said Ferguson, ‘for a religious leader to validate a war’s outcome without the first idea of what that outcome might be.’
HISTORY: Despite having multiple sclerosis, Tim has survived dozens of world tours, international festivals, West End seasons, over 30 television series, 300 screenwriting/comedy lectures and one election campaign (ongoing).
For a decade, Tim toured internationally with comedy trio the Doug Anthony Allstars (DAAS, with Richard Fidler and Paul McDermott). DAAS scandalised British audiences on Channel 4’s Friday Night Live where they famously revealed the outcome of Neighbours episodes. They appeared regularly and hosted the CH4 live comedy/music show Viva Cabaret with special guests Tom Jones, Eartha Kitt and Sandra Bernhardt. They then moved to the BBC with their show DAAS LOVE.
DAAS Australian TV work includes The Big Gig, Live & Sweaty, The Today Show and the internationally-acclaimed sci-fi sitcom Daas Kapital (ABCTV). DAAS co-wrote and starred in the independent feature film The Edinburgh Years and won the Edinburgh Fringe Club Award eight times running. Their music album, ICON, remains Australia’s biggest-selling independent release of all time. Despite persistent media rumours, they insist they were never in Tim Burton’s Batman.
Tim was co-creator/co-producer (with Marc Gracie and Chris Thompson) of the sitcom Shock Jock (TV1, Paramount Comedy Channel [UK]). He hosted the Logie-winning Don’t Forget Your Toothbrush (Nine Network) – this spectacular series was the most expensive gameshow in Australia’s history, with a crew of up to 70, 2 helicopters, a studio audience of 400 (each with luggage, passport & toothbrush), a 9-piece band and the beautiful Miss Wendy Mooney – all Live.
Tim co-wrote and hosted 6 series and umpteen one-hour specials of his comedy clip-show Unreal TV (CH10). he was host of the live panel show, Big Brother Insider. In 2007, he was script producer on Jim Shomos’ webisode comedy/drama, forgettherules.com (30x3mins, Optus Channel). He occasionally appears on his friend Paul McDermott’s Good News Week and The Circle (CH10). He’s a regular guest on the pop-culture clip series 20 to 1 (Nine Network).
When Tim was host of the Drivetime With Tim talkback programme on Radio 3AK in 2003, he experienced what he calls a ‘political epiphany’. He said, ‘Right wing radio is so much easier. There’s no need for nuance, even-handedness or research. No hand-wringing, no thinking, no homework – just listeners, lots of lovely listeners.’
Currently, Tim lectures in narrative comedy and screenwriting at RMIT University School of Media & Communication in Melbourne. He has lectured in comedy writing at AFTRS, VCA, Open Channel, the Australian Writers Guild and with Quentin Kernihan’s SAFC Mini Labs. His Cheeky Monkey Comedy Courses tour worldwide.
THE FERGUSON AGENDA: Pushing his Extreme Centrist political agenda has always been Tim’s passion. With no regard for those he calls ‘Toorak hybrid car fascists’ and those he disparages as ‘inner-city knitted hat wearers’, Tim has spoken out against social injustice, racism, carbon taxes and the anti-sexualisation movement.
On June 17th 2010, Tim revealed his 3-year plan to deliver all Feminist demands at Melbourne’s Wheeler Centre. His vision is to integrate men into the Feminist movement, “making us more than guilty bystanders in the sex-war car crash.’ He said, ‘Without men, feminism can only go so far – Sex & The City 2, New Idea magazine and declining feminist book sales are proof that women have lost their way. I beg you, ladies – let men help.” Ferguson quickly added that ‘help’ did not include domestic chores or orgasms.
Since publishing the screenwriter manual, The Cheeky Monkey – Writing Narrative Comedy (Currency Press), it has been Tim’s intention to tear Australia’s screenwriting culture to the ground and rebuild it. ‘Our writers keep writing sexless suicidal smack dramas nobody wants. A story must lift us up before it drops us down. The sermonising squalor that is Aussie film must and will change,’ he said. ‘Fourteen of the top 20 Australian box-office hits of all time have been comedies – work it out.’
On September 20th, Ferguson was the first to speak out against the Australian Greens’ call for the introduction of a Death Tax. ‘You can’t use one absolute certainty against another,’ he said, ‘they cancel each other out.’ The Greens have since withdrawn that policy.
Ferguson believes the Australian Greens Party have a ‘non-puppy agenda’ to eradicate all dogs in Australia. ‘They want to close puppy farms. How will our children get their puppies for Xmas? Next thing you know, they’ll be shooting our dogs.”
Tim claims to have proof the Australian Greens are not green at all. ‘I have seen them – they are not green,’ he said.