Speakers Profile - Rod Quantock OAM

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ROD QUANTOCK OAM is a Melbourne-born pioneer of contemporary Australian comedy. His comic voice is uniquely and remarkably relevant, critical and enlightening. And, as a bonus, funny.

Always the passionate, meticulously well-informed, fearless comedian he challenges the corruptions of the world with a uniquely wise yet wonderfully ridiculous brand of stand-up subversion. It has been said his work is reminiscent of the cartoons of Michael Leunig projecting a similar, challenging yet sympathetic humanity.

Rod first strolled on stage in the 1968 Melbourne University Architect�s Revue and walked away with his first and favourite review - �Quantock is an amiable buffoon' - in Herald Sun.

Fifty-plus years later he is still on stage. Along the way he established the art of stand-up and ensemble comedy and helped lay the foundations of an industry. He was an inaugural Board Member of The Melbourne International Comedy Festival and, as of 2020, the only performer to have appeared in all 33 Festivals.

�You can�t say you�ve been to the Comedy Festival if you haven�t seen Rod Quantock.� Chortle UK

Among many other achievements, in 1983-4 he co-conceived and co-starred in ABC-TV�s �Australia, You�re Standing In It�. It was the first time the ABC had produced comedy outside Sydney. Its success shifted the centre of gravity of television comedy away from Sydney opening the door to a golden era of Melbourne-made comedy that continues today.

�The truly remarkable thing about Rod is that he has remained a contemporary stand-up comedian, evolving and staying at the forefront of the craft, a testament to possibly the most impressive career in Australian comedy and the wider world of the Australian performing arts.� Susan Provan, Director, Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

Away from the 'glamour' of show biz Rod has manned barricades and picket lines, contested authority, prodded the pompous and the pretentious. Hundreds of Australian NGO's and community groups have benefited from Rod's never-flagging commitment and willingness to donate his skills and profile to raise money and awareness for causes large and small.

His 1999 show, �A Major Event� along with his off-stage activism, was credited with contributing to the fall of the neo-liberal Kennett Government.

His activism has not been without cost. His very public opposition to the Grand Prix in Albert Park, for instance, alienated many regular government and corporate clients, the Murdoch Press and much of the public. And it cost him a long-term advertising contact.

In recent years his study of climate change and sustainability has informed his work and earned him Fellowships at Melbourne University.

Rod was talking politics on stage before the rest. He was onstage the day of The Dismissal and re-wrote the show in rage which he shared from the stage of a theatre restaurant with an audience of Christmas break-up parties. A satirist was born.

Rod was the first stand-up comedian to talk about the corporatisation of politics, indigenous history and rights, the privatisation of public wealth, banks, and many more issues.

He was the first comedian to draw attention to Murdoch hit-man, Andrew Bolt. His show �The Insane Asylum� was the first comedy about the plight of refugees. His latest shows have been the first to make comedy out of climate change, over-population, the limits to growth, and increasingly about the history of �how we got to the eve of destruction�.

His work is always based on a humanist philosophy, detailed research and a desire to use the privilege of a public voice for some greater good. While his �politics� aren�t for all, his comedy has remained relevant, considered, barbed, cathartic and accessible.

Today his university research refines his comedy and his advocacy. And will continue to do so.

�Quantock manages to provoke with wit, warmth and aplomb... prodding and enlightening, fired with righteous indignation, pointing out absurdities and inconsistencies and allowing the audience to draw their own conclusions... a wise, scary, funny show that gives you a hell of a lot to think about.� The Age

Rod�s ambition is to �synthesis his many years of commentary into a work that would examine �the wrong turns the world has taken, the opportunities lost, the warnings unheeded. What is it about us that that finds us here?�

After all he has spent more than 50 years calling to that part of our better selves and �all I got for my efforts was to see the world going to hell in a hand basket carried by a Cheezle in a White House, so I know what comedy can�t do.�

�A passionate, meticulously well-informed, fearless political comedian.� THE AGE