PAUL HOGAN: Our icon Hoges still full of surprises

Hollywood actor Paul Hogan visits Wodonga with director Dean Murphy for his latest stage show, Hoges: One Night Only. Picture: DYLAN ROBINSON
Hollywood actor Paul Hogan visits Wodonga with director Dean Murphy for his latest stage show, Hoges: One Night Only. Picture: DYLAN ROBINSON

The last time Paul Hogan was on the Border, he was putting Yackandandah on the map with Strange Bedfellows. The comedic icon is back to launch his stand-up tour Hoges: One Night Only. Hogan is the stereotypical Aussie — right down to his Crocodile Dundee knife, Foster’s Lager and his Winnie Blues.

MOST Sydneysiders would expect a bloke who grew up in Granville, went to Marist Brothers at Parramatta and was a rigger on the Sydney Harbour Bridge would support the Eels in the NRL.

But there would be very few Australians who live in Sydney, Melbourne or anywhere else who would know Aussie entertainment legend Paul Hogan followed Richmond in the AFL.

“I was down in Melbourne doing a show and I met Kevin Sheedy,” he said.

“So I started following Richmond — but you’ve got to have some perseverance.”

Hogan kicks off his 25-town tour of his show Hoges: One Night Only at the Albury Entertainment Centre tomorrow night, returning to the city which hosted the world premiere of the movie Strange Bedfellows, in which he starred with Michael Caton.

He makes no secret of the fact he loves the area and is chuffed a hamburger was named after him at Yackandandah during the shooting of Strange Bedfellows — because of the number of them he ate.

But he wasn’t terribly concerned about where he should start the 40-day tour, which will cover 12,300 kilometres.

“That was his decision,” Hogan said, pointing to his good mate Dean Murphy, who has been collaborating with Hogan as a director, writer or producer for more than a decade.

“There were a lot of things I didn’t know about him either and I remember on the first day of shooting Bedfellows hearing all this AC/DC music blaring out of his caravan,” Murphy said.

Hogan, of course, uses the vernacular description “Acker Dacker”.

“And I also like ZZ Top and Bruce Springsteen; those three would be my favourites,” he said.

And it gets even more eclectic.

His favourite actors are Hugh Jackman and Gary Oldman, Rocky is his favourite movie and Richard Pryor is his favourite comedian.

His best mate is still John “Strop” Cornell, but he is obviously also close to Murphy and Australian actor Shane Jacobson, who he starred alongside in Charlie and Boots.

The bloke is not so much humble as being straight up and down when it comes to people.

He certainly doesn’t seem to consider himself better than any other person but, by the same token, he doesn’t think of himself as inferior either.

He’s been Australian of the Year, awarded an AM, won a Golden Globe and been nominated for an Academy Award.

“But they’re really just awards,” Hogan said.

“What I did get a buzz out of was being a presenter at the 1986 Academy Awards, and being involved with the tourism campaign to sell Australia to the Americans.

“Plus that line about putting another shrimp on the barbie — it’s my favourite after ‘that’s not a knife’.”

Hogan still has a Winnie or two during the day, likes a white wine and still knocks over a can of Foster’s Lager, a product he helped to sell in Britain.

Hogan wrote and starred in Crocodile Dundee, still the largest grossing independent movie, globally, of all time.

So where does his passion for acting come from?

“I don’t have a passion for acting,” Hogan said.

“I have a passion for writing and being funny and having fun, making people laugh.

“I had so much fun doing The Paul Hogan Show during the 1970s and ’80s.”

No one could question the role he played in lifting the profile of Australia, especially in the US, with Crocodile Dundee and the US tourism campaign.

So it is not surprising how disappointed he was with the way he was treated during the taxation scandal that surrounded him not that long ago.

“They never charged me with anything; there were a lot of gutless politicians,” he said.

But Murphy said you would never hear Hogan complain about his treatment or that handed out by sections of the media who engage in what he said was the “tall-poppy syndrome”.

“He won’t complain because he sees himself as being so fortunate, from where he came from to where he is now,” Murphy said.

Hogan himself doesn’t stand by the philosophy that the harder you work, the luckier you get.

“Sure, when you’re standing in front of the door of opportunity, you kick it down,” he said.

“But you need a bit of luck to be able to get to stand infront of the door in the first place.”

Hogan has lived in the US for about 25 years, although he has been a frequent visitor to his homeland over the years, working in different productions.

So, will he ever return to live in Australia permanently?

“Definitely,” he said.

“After my son (Chance) finishes school in the US I’ll be coming back.”

But it’s not likely he’ll have to return to being a rigger on the coathanger.

To book tickets for tomorrow night’s performance of Hoges: One Night Only go to the Albury Entertainment Centre website.