"SOPHISTICATED satire, unpretentious, daffy... a comedian for thinkers." THE MELBOURNE TIMES 1978
"A passionate, meticulously well-informed, fearless political comedian." THE AGE
"A wise, scary, funny show that gives you a hell of a lot to think about." THE AUSTRALIAN
"A strong-willed, wise, kindly comic... as skilled at frivolous intervention as he is at serious discourse. A brilliance that also characterises the work of Michael Leunig." THE AGE
THE FLYING TRAPEZE CAFE 1975
Rod Quantock OAM
Rod Quantock is a pioneer of Australian comedy with more than forty-five years in stand-up, cabaret, theatre, television and radio. He is the only comedian to have performed at all 30 Melbourne International Comedy Festivals and one of the few – perhaps the only – to be awarded an Order of Australia for his work. It is not hyperbole to say that he is an Australian legend.
Rod is known first and foremost as a very funny man but his reach extends beyond comedy into political and social activism. A passionate environmental activist and advocate for social justice, he lobs Molotov cocktails of mirth at the most serious of subjects. When you see Rod Quantock in action, you can be sure he’ll be talking about something of substance; he just may be holding a rubber chicken...
For his trouble, Rod has received numerous awards over his 47 year career, but he’s perhaps most proud of his 2015 Order of Australia, his 2004 Sydney Myer Performing Arts Award (putting him in the company of such arts luminaries as Geoffrey Rush, Robyn Nevin, Nick Enright, Lucy Guerin and Paul Grabowsky) and his Honorary Associate Fellowship at the Institute of Sustainability at Melbourne University for his contribution to the environmental debate in this country. His career and contribution are unparalleled.
Rod’s performing career began with a low profile 1954 appearance in the West Coburg Baptist Church’s Nativity Play. He played the role of the Guiding Star. He’s been guiding audiences in the Quantock world-view ever since.
As mentioned, Rod was awarded an OAM in the 2015 Queen's Birthday Honours for his services to sustainability and conservation as well as the performing arts. Rod said of the honour,
"HALF MY LIFE IS BEING A COMEDIAN AND THE OTHER HALF TALKING ABOUT SUSTAINABILITY," QUANTOCK, 66, SAYS. "I'VE SPENT 10 YEARS WORKING ON CLIMATE CHANGE AND PEAK OIL AND DOING SHOWS ON THEM."
Quantock said he was surprised to receive the honour and hoped it would draw attention to unsung community activists.
"MY ONLY DISAPPOINTMENT IS IT'S NOT A KNIGHTHOOD."
The remarkable thing about Rod’s long career is that he has remained a contemporary stand-up comedian, evolving and staying at the forefront of the craft. With show titles such as The Axis Of Stupidity; Scum Nation; Boredom Protection Policy and Pardon My Carbon Rod is beloved by audiences thirsty for solid Australian political and social satire. His shows are always relevant to the moment and change with the headlines of the day and the chalk in his hand.
No, he’s not your ordinary comedian. And aren’t we thankful for that.