||Sheets of stamps feature the faces of Sharon Strzelecki and Norman Gunston. In an interview actor Garry McDonald laughs. Adam Hills, Magda Szubanski and Garry pose with stamps featuring their faces. A sheet of stamps features the young Noeline Brown. The elegant blond Noeline poses with her stamp.
|0:20||When I was about two, we were having dinner around the kitchen table and I asked for tomato sauce on my custard. Now, everybody laughed. And I was...as a two-year-old, I was absolutely furious. Why would they be laughing? I really wanted tomato sauce on my custard. And I can remember to this day the feeling of humiliation of people laughing at me, which is kind of funny because I've been pleading for laughter ever since.||Noeline is interviewed in a sunny room.
Noeline Brown OAM:
|0:47||I would describe it actually not as comedy but as a sense of humour. And I'm very lucky to have had an extremely funny mother. She was given the gift of fun by her Irish father and then she passed on the gift of fun to me. And so, for me, it's not about 'comedy', it's not about a profession, it's about having fun.
||Magda Szubanski interviewed before a gold curtain.
Magda Szubanski AO:
|1:05||I think the first time I fell in love with comedy was when I was about nine years old on a flight to America. And my parents were seated a couple of rows back, so my brother and I were sitting together. And it was the first time I'd ever heard in-flight comedy channel. And I think by the end of that flight, I was so fascinated by comedy, even at the age of nine, that I don't know that I ever knew that that's what I wanted to do with my life, but I was obsessed and I was completely taken by it.||Adam Hills is interviewed in a large sunny room.
|1:33||Well, I always slip back into Norman, I suppose, because Norman was my clown. It's very hard not to. But I did love playing 'Mother and Son', even though it brought me unstuck because for a while there, I... I felt like I was purely... um, a feed. I mean, I wasn't bitter about it, but I just thought, "I'm longing to be the sort of funny one."
||Garry McDonald, is interviewed in a sunny living room. In a promotional photo, Norman Gunston wears a shiny suit, he has thinning hair and Garry toilet paper stuck to his chin. He holds a microphone and wears a harmonica on a holder.
Garry McDonald AO:
|2:04||Some of the most popular characters I've ever portrayed, or created, are aligned to sport. You know, Sharon Strzelecki and Pixie-Anne Wheatley. Well, actually, Sharon Strzelecki knows a lot more about sport but Pixie-Anne Wheatley knew nothing about sport. But the joke of it was that her father owned the network.
Mrs Hoggett actually is a real favourite of mine. I mean, we're often talking about sketch comedy but, of course, there's characters in films too. And Mrs Hoggett, I completely... I adored my Scottish grandmother and I felt like I was channelling her when I played Mrs Hoggett, really.
|Magda is interviewed in a stylish bar. In footage for 'Fast Forward' Pixie-Anne Wheatley interviews John Farnham. She has chocolate-brown ringlets and wears a yellow, purple and green flowered dress.
Magda Szubanski AO:
|2:43||The central character was a person called Mavis Bramston, and she was supposed to be about the worst performer from England that they were sending down to Australia. So I thought, "I wonder who's going to play Mavis Bramston?" And they said, "You are!" And I said, "No! What do you mean? I can't tell a joke, I can't sing, I can't dance." But I didn't think it would go to air. And guess what? It went to air and ran 40 weeks of the year for, I don't know, four or five years.
There are so many wonderful things that happened on 'The Naked Vicar Show' because it was a show where men could play women, women could play men. I look very good with a moustache, I have to say.
I did love Florence Foster Jenkins. I worked very hard on that show. And, of course, by the time I did it I was probably 70.
|In black and white comedy sketches from 'The Mavis Bramston Show', Noeline wears a range of costumes. In her interview, she sits on a couch.
Noeline Brown OAM:
|3:35||I think a little bit of magic happened with 'Spicks and Specks', and we've all realis... It was the first TV show that Alan and Myf and I had made. So the reason 'Spicks and Specks' worked was because we were told to treat it like a dinner party where the camera was a guest who had just turned up and didn't know anybody else at the party. So you introduce everyone, you explain the games that you're going to play, and if you think that they don't know who's being talked about, you bring them up to speed. So I think, ah... 'Spicks and Specks' worked because it was like a dinner party with some of your favourite people.
||A photo shows the younger Adam on the colourful set of 'Spicks and Specks'.
|4:09||It's interesting watching things like 'Would I Lie to You?' I mean, God, that's a funny show. Rob Brydon talks all through the audience laughter and applause, and that's kind of what we had to learn too. As onstage, you wait till the laugh really died. Not on television. You wait for the laugh to peak, and then you start talking again. Otherwise there's dead time on the screen, you know.
||Garry is wiry, bald and wears a grey patterned shirt.
Garry McDonald AO:
|4:28||Comedy is underrated. You get more awards for playing some pitiful character than you do for making 3,000 people laugh. When you hear that noise of people laughing, as many as that, it's like a big wave crashing over you. It's wonderful.||Noeline has a stylish blonde bob and wears a pale pink outfit.
Noeline Brown OAM:
|4:47||Sometimes comedy is like a girl that I'm dating but I'm not quite sure why I'm with. Most of the time she forgets my name, but every now and again she'll do something that makes me feel good. I guess it's all about the editing process. When I'm doing a stand-up show, I edit as I go. When I was doing 'Spicks and Specks', you would edit after you filmed it. And when I'm doing 'The Last Leg', you edit before it goes to air.||Adam’s hair and beard are greying. He wears a grey suit.
|5:12||Laughter is the best medicine. I think that's really true. It's an incredible force. And that's why it's amazing - it's nice to be acknowledged in this way because it's really not taken seriously. It's seen as lightweight. But I think humour is a profound expression of the life force in the face of all the forces of darkness.||Magda's light brown hair is bundled up in a black and gold scarf. She wears black-framed glasses.
Magda Szubanski AO:
|5:37||I mean, joy is the antidote to sadness. Joy is...joy is the cure for sadness. And there's a lot of sadness in life. It just happens. And our job as comedians is to try and provide the cure, or at least a slight bit of amnesia that you forget about your sadness.||Adam Hills:|
|5:57||I couldn't believe it when I was approached. I thought, "That's fantastic." But I also thought it was appropriate because my father worked for what used to be, before it became Australia Post, for the GPO, and he worked on the Travelling Post Office.||On her stamp a younger Noeline wears a 'Workers Badge' on her dark jacket collar. Her blond hair hangs in stylish waves. Text reads, "Noeline Brown OAM. Australia. $1.10. Australian Legends."
Noeline Brown OAM:
|6:15||It's the stamp of approval, isn't it, really? Finally! I was just so gutted that my mum and dad aren't here, they would bloody love that. Migrant to the country, now I'm a stamp. And to be in that company too, it's one of those things when you become a stamp. Well, actually, it's Sharon, isn't it, that's a stamp, not me. I should, you know, keep a bit humble about that.||On Magda's stamp, the grinning Sharon is wearing her netball uniform and holds a netball under one arm as she gives a double thumbs-up. Her chubby face is framed by her signature short brown bob. Text reads, "Magda Szubanski AO. Australia. $1.10. Australian Legends."
Magda Szubanski AO:
|6:40||Only right now is it actually hitting me that I'm going to be on a stamp. I think the loveliest moment for me was telling my mum. 'Cause I told my daughters, but then I had to explain what stamps and letters were, so it didn't quite work for them.||Adam's stamp features a younger dark-haired, clean-shaven Adam smiling wryly. Text reads, "Adam Hills. Australia. $1.10. Australian Legends."
|6:57||It's a great honour. A great honour! Only and really amplified by my daughter telling my nearly 17-year-old grandson who wants to be a film director. She said, "Pa's going to be featured on a stamp." And he said, "Ohh! What's a stamp?" (LAUGHS LOUDLY) He was serious.||Garry's stamp features a black and white photo of Norman. Text reads, "Garry McDonald AO. Australia. $1.10. Australian Legends."
Garry McDonald AO:
|7:20||It's one of the biggest things in my life. I can't wait to start licking those stamps.||Noeline Brown OAM:|
|7:27||I don't feel worthy to be amongst any of them. I kind of feel like there might have been a mistake at Australia Post. I kind of feel like maybe someone had a flyer for my show on their desk.||Adam Hills:|
|7:40||Oh, good on you, Sharon! I feel like it's her more than me. I know Sharon's not a real person. Do I? I think. Is she? I think she might be more real than I am sometimes. Good on you, Sharon! I'm so happy for you.||Magda Szubanski AO:|
|7:54||Jaunty music.||The red Australia Post logo appears on a white background.|
The Australia Post Australian Legends Award is presented annually to honour individuals have made a significant contribution to the Australian way of life and to shaping society for the better. Who better to lay claim to this accolade than those whose career has been dedicated to making us laugh!
The 2020 Australian Legends are award-winning superstars of comedy who have entertained and delighted audiences for decades. Each has also made a significant contribution to the community more broadly through advocacy and charity work.
The Australian Legends of Comedy 2020 stamp issue, released on 15 April 2020, in recognition of the following comedians:
Adam Hills (b. 10 July 1970)
Adam Hills made his first appearance in Australia’s live stand-up comedy scene in 1989, at the Sydney Comedy Store. After a stint in breakfast radio, in 1997 Adam went on tour with his first solo comedy show, “Stand and Deliver”, the first of an impressive 15 shows that he has toured nationally and internationally, to wide acclaim. His extensive live touring schedule has seen him perform at numerous international events, including Montreal Just for Laughs, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and the Royal Variety Gala in Blackpool, England.
As well as building an enviable reputation in the live comedy scene, Adam Hills rocketed to fame in Australia as host of the hit television music quiz show “Spicks and Specks”, from 2005 until 2011, and of television talk show “Adam Hills Tonight” (originally titled “Adam Hills in Gordon Street Tonight”), from 2011 until 2013. “Spicks and Specks” toured nationally as a live show in 2007, 2011 and 2012, and between 2018 and 2020 Adam Hills recorded highly rated “Spick and Specks” specials. He has hosted and appeared on numerous other television specials and programs, as well as radio programs.
Adam Hills’ popularity has also been cemented in Britain, due to his work as host of the television talk show “The Last Leg”, between 2012 and 2019, which started as a one-off series to accompany Channel Four’s Paralympic coverage. Adam Hills was born without a right foot, and his prosthetic foot has often been the subject of his stand-up routines. In 2018, he published his best-selling memoir, Best Foot Forward.
A multiple Logie-Award-winner and nominee, and winner of an AFI Award and a Helpmann Award, Adam Hills has won and been nominated for numerous national and international awards for his comedy.
Adam Hills is an ambassador for UNICEF, The McGrath Foundation and the International Koala Centre of Excellence. He has also raised funds for the Father Bob Maguire Foundation, and has worked with various UK charities.
Noeline Brown OAM (b. 3 October 1938)
After making her name in the Sydney theatre review scene, Noeline Brown came to national prominence as part of the 1960s sketch-comedy television series “The Mavis Bramston Show”, in which she created the title character, and the popular television sitcom “My Name's McGooley, What's Yours?”
Throughout the 1970s, Noeline Brown enjoyed great popularity in Australia, winning a 1978 Logie Award. She was part of the satirical television and radio series “The Naked Vicar Show” and the comedy television quiz show “Blankety Blanks”, hosted by “the King” of Australian variety television Graham Kennedy. She was also a regular panelist on the ABC television game show “Would You Believe?”
Noeline Brown appeared in various television shows and theatrical productions during the 2000s, including the 2007 film Razzle Dazzle and the play Glorious, for which she won the 2008 Norman Kessell award for her hilarious portrayal of Florence Foster Jenkins. Her most recent performance was in the role of Maggie Beare in the stage version of the television comedy “Mother and Son”.
Noeline Brown has been a long-time supporter of several arts organisations, including the Actors Benevolent Fund of New South Wales. She was a Custodian of the Library Society of New South Wales and past patron of the Southern Highlands Regional Gallery. Noeline is patron of Starting Points, a charity for children with special needs. In 2006, she received a Children’s Week community award for her work to improve the lives of children. She also served as Ambassador for Ageing, from 2008 to 2014.
Noeline Brown has had two memoirs published. In 2017, she received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Actors Equity, in honour of her long career. In 2020, Noeline Brown was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia for services to the performing arts.
Magda Szubanski AO (b. 12 April 1961)
After appearances on the cult television comedy show “The D-Generation”, Magda Szubanski rose to fame in response to the huge variety of comic characters she has created and performed, including on television sketch-comedy shows “Fast Forward”, “Full Frontal” and “Big Girl’s Blouse”. One of her most iconic characters is Sharon Strzelecki, the accident-prone people-pleaser from the hit comedy sitcom “Kath and Kim”.
Magda Szubanski’s film credits include Babe, The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course, Dr Plonk, Bran Nu Dae and Goddess. Magda’s many stage appearances include hit productions of Guys and Dolls, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Grease: The Arena Spectacular and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.
Magda Szubanski has received numerous accolades over the course of her career, including a Mo Award, seven Logie Awards, three Australian Writers’ Guild AWGIE Awards, two People’s Choice Awards, two Astra Awards and the AFI Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance as Sharon Strzelecki in “Kath and Kim”. In 2019, she won the Fred Parsons Award for Outstanding Contribution to Australian Comedy.
More recently, Magda Szubanski has become a best-selling, award-winning author, following the release of her internationally acclaimed memoir Reckoning. She also became a community advocate in the lead-up to the 2017 same-sex marriage survey and has been an active and high-profile campaigner for LGBTI+ rights ever since, winning several awards for her work. Magda Szubanski has been a patron of and campaigner for several charities over the years, including Twenty10, the Pinnacle Foundation Very Special Kids, Starlight Foundation, Oxfam and Royal Children’s Hospital.
In 2019, Magda Szubanski was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia for her work as an actor, comedian and writer and as a campaigner for marriage equality.
Garry McDonald AO (b. 30 October 1948)
Soon after graduating from the National Institute of Dramatic Art in 1967, Garry McDonald created one of the nation’s most famous satirical characters, Norman Gunston, an ambush-style reporter whose celebrity interview subjects quite often didn’t know what to make of his awkwardness, naivety, comb-over and facial shaving injuries, earning him the nickname “the little Aussie bleeder”. Norman Gunston first appeared on “The Aunty Jack Show” in 1973 and then on “The Norman Gunston Show” until 1993. As Norman Gunston, Garry McDonald also had a successful recording career, releasing a string of humorous pop records that satirised artists such as Tom Jones and KISS.
Garry McDonald further endeared himself to television audiences through his role as the unfortunate and long-suffering Arthur Beare, in the comedy sitcom “Mother and Son”, which ran between 1984 and 1994. Subsequent television credits include “Offspring”, “Rake”, “Fallen Angels”, “Medivac” and “The King”. Garry McDonald’s numerous film credits include, Being Venice, Burning Man, Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, The Rage in Placid Lake, Rabbit-Proof Fence, Moulin Rouge and Struck by Lightning for which he won Best Actor at the Sydney Film Critics’ Awards in 1991.
Garry McDonald has appeared in more than 60 stage productions throughout his career, including Hamlet, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf, Much Ado About Nothing, Emerald City, Uncle Vanya and Guys and Dolls.
In 2003, Garry McDonald was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia for service to the community and to the arts. He has won several Logie Awards for his work in television, including a 1976 Gold Logie for his work on “The Norman Gunston Show” and a Logie Hall of Fame award in 1997. He has also been voted a National Living Treasure.
Garry McDonald is an ambassador and former board member of the Beyond Blue Foundation, which raises awareness about mental illness and provides support services and resources.
The Australian Legends of Comedy stamp issue is available now, online, at participating Post Offices and via mail order on 1800 331 794, while stocks last.
View the gallery and technical details from this issue