Holy crap, Norman Gunston interviewed like, everyone in the 70s


#1

This one with Sally Struthers is bloody hilarious :smiley:

The embedding is breaking the playlist link, you can click on the vid to go to Youtube and tack this onto the url for the playlist: &list=RD69zoOUUxbJI

Gunston’s personal appearance satirised club performers and TV interviewers of the time — for the studio segments he wore an ill-fitting blue lurex tuxedo jacket (wrongly buttoned) and the fly on his (too short) trousers was habitually left undone, with the shirt-tail poking out through the zip. Gunston also adopted a deliberately bad comb over hairstyle to partially cover his balding head. One of his visual trademarks was the small pieces of tissue paper applied to his pasty white face to cover supposed shaving cuts. This comic device led to his memorable exchange with visiting American actress Sally Struthers – noting Norman’s apparent shaving cuts, she kindly suggested that perhaps Gunston should use an electric razor; the nonplussed Norman replied “Uh, I do”, at which point Struthers collapsed in a fit of laughter.

Gunston performed subversive TV interviews with many major celebrities – during a Wings press conference he quipped to Linda McCartney: ‘That’s funny, you don’t look Japanese.’ (referencing Yoko Ono); other famous victims included Mick Jagger, Warren Beatty, Charlton Heston, and Muhammad Ali. Perhaps Norman’s most well known interview was with Keith Moon at Charlton stadium in 1976. Moon famously ended his brief encounter with Norman by tipping Vodka over his head and yelling “Piss off, you Australian faggot”.

McDonald was one of the pioneers of the satirical “ambush” interview technique, which was founded on his considerable improvisational acting skills and precise comic timing. The “Gunston Method” relied on the fact that, especially in the early days of the series, the Norman persona was still relatively unknown in his home country, and completely unknown outside Australia. Thus, he was successfully able to hide behind the guise of a fully rounded and highly plausible character who appears to be stupid in order to throw his otherwise media-savvy quarry off their guard. This caused various results, from hilarity (Sally Struthers and Cheech and Chong), to clever play-alongs like Muhammad Ali (“I’m punchy – what’s your excuse?”) to bewilderment (Warren Beatty), to complete outrage (Rudolf Nureyev, Michael Cole).

The Gunston technique has since been employed by many comedians. In both style and appearance, Paul Kaye’s character Dennis Pennis was strongly reminiscent of Gunston. It later had a very successful revival thanks to the British satirist Sacha Baron Cohen…


#2

they used to show some of these on Nickelodeon, of all places, when I was a kid. This was back in the silver ball days they had a show called Turkey TV that collected wacky footage that they could buy cheaply from around the world and string together into a clip show. The one where he interviewed people selling their blood was pretty good.


#3

He meets his match in Chevy Chase, and it’s incredible; electric, as they say.


#4

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