Austen Tayshus

Austen Tayshus

Austen Tayshus 'Australia's Comedy Superstar' first came into being in 1981.
Since that time he has performed all over Australia, the United Kingdom, Los Angeles, New York and Asia.

In 1983 he released the highest selling Australian single of all time “AUSTRALIANA”,
selling over 200,000 units and going double platinum.

In 1997, Austen wrote and starred in ‘INTOLERANCE’ – film based on a true experience that developed into one of his stage routines. Intolerance won best film and Austen won the best actor award in tropfest.

Austen's recent appearance on Andrew Denton's Enough Rope on ABC TV was highly acclaimed and watched by over one million people around Australia.

Austen Tayshus will be appearing at the "Down Under New York Australia Day 2006" event at Irving Plaza in New York city performing alongside Colin Hay of Men At Work and his band and several local acts. This will be Austen's only appearance in the United States for 2006.

Currently Austen is co-writing his first lead-role feature film with Robert Lewis Galinsky entitled, 'THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT JESUS’ which will be released in late 2006. The film is slated to be directed by veteran Scott Roberts (THE HARD WORD). He is also starring in ‘DOIN’ THE SPLITS’, an Australian-US co-production feature film also to be released in late 2006.

The SBS "AUSTEN TAYSHUS AUSTRALIA DAY SPECIAL" went to air on January 26, 2006 and was watched by over 100, 000 people despite being aired at midnight.

Austen Tayshus will be headlining the Melbourne international comedy festival from the 12 April to 7 May 2006 at the MELBOURNE TRADES HALL don’t miss it if you can, direct booking line 03 9659 3569 or

The Austen Tayshus season at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2006 was a sell-out and also a great critical success, see reviews.

The new Austen Tayshus DVD "Austen Tayshus Australia Day Special 2006" will be available nationally from Madman Entertainment from August 2006.


Austen Tayshus




In June 2006 Media Man Australia succesfull pitched Austen Tayshus to Channel Seven's 'Today Tonight'

Media Man Australia Austen Tayshus media portfolio

Channel Seven 'Today Tonight' - 4th May 2006

Radio 2CC - 3rd August 2006

Radio Classic Rock 1025, Adelaide - 11th August 2006

Other Media

Review - The Sydney Morning Herald - 23rd August 2006

Austen Tayshus: Australia Day Special, by Jim Schembri

Run Time
78 minutes
MA 15+
Austen Tayshus
Austen Tayshus
DVD Release
16 August 2006
DVD Extras
Extra footage; short film


Still laughing, by Rachelle Unreich - 15th September 2006
(Credit: The Courier Mail)

Those with delicate sensibilities always know better than to watch or listen to any stand-up gig by hilarious Sydney comedian Austen Tayshus. Those who fancy themselves witty hecklers, however, don't. Witness the two unfortunate souls Austen mercilessly rips into when they attempt contributions to his act.

Best known for his 1983 mega-hit comedy single Australiana - recited here for what he promises is the last time - Austen is not from the hapless "the world is against me" school of stand-up.

Super-confident, aggressive, politically incorrect and with edge to burn, he fires off about politics, feminism, post-war Germans and why indigenous Australians should apologise for introducing alcohol to white society.

The disk includes a funny half-hour off-cut reel and two short films, including the fabulous Intolerance. Definitely not recommended for mixed company, but killer entertainment for everybody else.

COMEDIAN Austen Tayshus steps in front of his audience and hassles them. Most stand-up comics dislike hecklers; Austen seeks them out.

On this night – taped as an SBS special and now out on DVD, The Merchant of Menace: Australia Day Special 2006 – he's performing to what he describes as a "basic audience – really hard work".

He's diversified into TV and hopes to do a film with Billy Crystal in Australia, but Austen Tayshus still has to do what people expect.

They request his Australiana routine ("How much can a koala bear?"), so when Austen calls an Aboriginal guy to the stage, asking him to apologise for introducing the white man to alcohol, you suspect the irony has gone over their heads. But he won't be deterred.

He later says: "Recently, I did a show in Wardell (New South Wales) where I started telling the white people, 'You cause all the problems'. They got more and more upset until one woman's husband threw me through the window. But at least that audience got it."

Away from the bright lights – or, in the case of many of his gigs, the smoke-filled haze of a country RSL club – you'd think that Austen, aka 52-year-old Sandy Gutman, might be different.

No chance. Whether he's playing to an audience of 1000 or one, this is a man who enjoys riling people.

"I don't think many people see who I am. They see whatever they want to see," he says over coffee in South Yarra, Melbourne. "But I don't think there's a big difference between the way Sandy is on stage and the way Sandy is in life. I've always been a bit of a chutzpahnik (Yiddish for someone with a cheeky audacity). I like to upset people a little; it makes life more interesting."

So, when he asks a person of Japanese origin to apologise for World War II, it could be on stage, or directed to a shy exchange student who is a guest at someone's house (yes, it's happened).

Once, in the late '80s, he was doing that schtick in a Sydney sushi restaurant – "whistling The Bridge on the River Kwai theme song and getting the chef to apologise" – when the guy at the next table sought him out. It was actor Johnny Depp.

"He loved me pissing about and asked, 'Do you want to hang out with me?' We hung out for two weeks."

People either get him or they don't.

"A lot of audiences actually think I'm being racist and a lot of my stuff is misinterpreted. I'm a sweet fellow!"

Those who defend him include Katie Fischer, a friend Austen hopes will play his wife in a sitcom that's in the works.

"He's definitely an alpha male," she says. "There's not one metrosexual bone in his body. But he's sensitive, deep, emotional, intelligent and very, very funny. He lives for his kids; he likes women and behaves well around them. He's like a loveable old bear."

Sandy recently split with his wife of 13 years, but friends say he dotes on his daughters, Isabella, 10, and Tallulah, 6.

You can expect some real-life stories about his ex to appear in the sitcom he's developing. "All the characters are loosely based on my family," he says.

Will this anger them? "I already don't talk to them, so it doesn't matter."

Nor is he averse to taking pot shots at fellow comedian Jimeoin, or the lacklustre Australian film industry. You can almost see the bridges burning. Not that he minds.

"My life is littered with ex-managers, ex-agents, ex this and ex that. Everyone can give you a story."

Are they true?

"At times I've been a bit arrogant. When you have fame very young – I was about 27 – it's difficult to handle. People deal with fame in different ways. They throw phones at people's heads. Spit at photographers. I've had my moments, but I love showbiz.

"When that woman's husband was beating me to death, I just thought, 'I love this business'. As he was kicking me in the gut, that was an epiphany."

Raised in an Orthodox Jewish home, he studied dentistry before switching to film school in his home town, Sydney.

From there he drifted into comedy. As well as perfecting his stand-up routine, he's released 20 records and worked as an actor, writer and director.

"I've never really concerned myself with how much money I can make, but rather the impression I can make and the artistic nature of what I do," he says.

"I think it's really important to follow your heart."


Culture: A stocking fillet - The Sydney Morning Herald - 12th December 2006 - click here