(pronounced "ostentatious") is the stage name of the Jewish Australian
comedian Alexander 'Sandy' Gutman
, born Sydney
, New South Wales
on March 17
. He is the son of a Holocaust
survivor, is pro-Israel, and lives in Rose Bay, New South Wales
Austen Tayshus burst into the consciousness of Australians in 1983 performing his comedy single, Australiana
, a piece written by fellow comedian Billy Birmingham
. This was a spoken word piece using Australian terms that conjured up different words built on extensive sets of equivocations
, such as "...my mate Boomer rang
", "...do you wanna game of Euchre Lyptus
", and "...how much can a koala bear
). It was the nation's biggest selling single of the year.
He branched out into highly political, controversial humour, often drawing on his Jewish background. A tall man (6'6", 198cm), with an imposing and somewhat menacing physique, he appears on stage wearing a black suit and dark sunglasses. He is characterized with a resonant deep voice and a gift of mimicry. He is often moody, taunts his audience and venue staff. He might now be compared to 'controversial' comedians such as Bill Hicks
and also Lenny Bruce
, whom he has cited as an influence.
Whereas insult comics are generally acknowledged to be performing an 'act', Tayshus' off-stage personality is similar to his on-stage persona (adding weight to the widespread view that his stage name is an example of inadvertent "nominative determinism"). He is known for burning bridges with venues and other comedians.
A biting comment made by one Melbourne comedian was: 'I think the general consensus is that the outcome of Sandy’s car accident was indeed tragic'.
In 1989 he produced a second album, Put Down That Stubbie. The album did not achieve the success of Australiana.
In 1991 he married his wife Emma, with whom he had three children.
He returned to standup comedy in the late 1990s. He soon received a lifetime ban from Channel 31
for using profanity during a live show to express his opinion of Prime Minister John Howard
, he released "Footyana
", a comedy piece in the style of "Australiana" which he performed on television show Live and Kicking
. It includes such lines as 'Is Stephen Tingay
or something?' and 'We passed Liam the Burger Rings
. Come on Liam, Pickering