Michael – islands

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This is Michael.
He is one of the few arts graduates in the world to get a job straight out of uni, creating and starring in the best sketch comedy show that Australia has ever known.

The D-Generation were the kewlest people in the country for a long time. Did you guys rip it up?
No way. We didn’t party at all, we were so booooooring.

Liar. Sprink’s family was obsessed with Fast Forward – did you have loads of mad fans?
Once I was out the front of a Grattan Street restaurant and a very polite, friendly man asked if he could buy me a coffee, because he loved the show. He was very complimentary, gentle, warm and extremely charming to chat with. Turns out it was Alphonse Gangitano aka ‘The Dark Prince of Lygon Street’ – a notorious hit man, and apparently totally mad.

You nearly died over a macchiato. You did heaps of impersonations – what was the best?
I used to do a take-off of the host of Sunday Arts. 15 years later I was asked to audition as the real host for Sunday Arts. I thought it was a joke but turns out the director had never seen my sketches. He wanted to tear up the contract when he found out, but it was too late, and I was the host of the show for five years. I think I should be in the Guinness Book of Records as the only person to do satire of a role and then be given the actual role.

That is proper baller. How did you become an author?
I have read loads about WW2 and one day was asked translate the technical parts of Bud Tingwell’s biography for a mate at The Age. He was impressed by my knowledge and made me call his publisher – who then asked for my book pitch. Totally unprepared, I blabbed an idea as it came into my head, and he loved it. I was then stuck because I didn’t know any WW2 pilots I could interview: which was my entire pitch. A few days later I was on Good Morning Australia to promote a play, but instead did a call out for pilots. 60 men emailed me and that was the first book.

Being an author is my dream along with marrying Joel Creasey and/or Rob Mills. Please rub it in.
I’ve written 8 books on aviation, marine science and travel. I have sold 75,000 copies.

I’m halfway through Forgotten Islands (it’s lit bruv) – what’s the worst shipwreck you know of?
CATAROQUI was Australia’s most lethal shipwreck and is a horror story that defies belief. It had to aim it through the gap between King Island and Victoria – sailors called it ‘threading the needle’. The Southern Ocean winds catapulted ships across Bass Strait and even with the sails down, it was almost impossible to stop. They only had a compass, and if it were overcast they didn’t know where the f*ck they were. At 5am, the ship slammed into King Island. Carrying English immigrants, only three of 500 passengers survived and they wrecked only 50m from shore.

Comedian, actor, host, author and now playwright?
Simon Oats and I both love those old radio plays so, we smooshed a few together for a one hour show. I play an old radio legend/plodder: Simon, the dashing young fighter-pilot drunk. It’s a battle between the characters who have to put on the show every week. It’s called
Mystery In The Air and it’s on at Gasworks tomorrow night.

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