Even if you were lucky enough to catch Lano & Woodley’s smash-hit, award-winning show FLY at last year’s festival, there’s incentive aplenty to see it again.
“We’ve cut out all the shit bits,” explains Colin Lane, one half of the iconic comedy duo. “So, the bad news is that Frank [Woodley] isn’t in the show anymore and, as we’ve cut out all the shit bits, it does only go for a minute.”
And there it is – that classic playful antagonism that has defined the legendary double act for decades. Amusingly, the patterns of their stage personas tend to manifest elsewhere, playing out behind the scenes.
“Even though we’re both 50 years of age, we both do that stupid thing of being basically young children when we’re working together. We have little battles and little annoying games that we play,” admits Lane.
“If we’re trying to write some ideas and Frank has an idea and says, ‘What do you think of that?’ Well, that will all depend on what he thought of my last idea, and if he didn’t like my last idea, then I’m not going to let him have the satisfaction of me liking his new idea. It’s just petty and stupid, but it’s just one of those strange little games we play with each other.”
That’s just one aspect of the pair’s chemistry, of course – in reality, Lane and Woodley relished the chance to work together again. “We pissed ourselves,” recalls Lane of the writing process. “There’s a bit in the show where I say, ‘chaos ensues,’ and Frank thinks I’m saying, ‘Cows in shoes,’ and we pissed ourselves for about a week with that, like giggling idiots.”
And so, the 12-year break from one another served them well. “I think in some ways, having that time apart, it was important for us to learn some other things from other people. But at the same time, it made us realise, you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone,” explains Lane tunefully, channeling Joni Mitchell.
And perhaps it’s a platitude that we, their audience, ought to adopt. They’re back, but for how long? Is FLY, in fact, a one-off reunion before re-retirement? Is this the last time around for Lano & Woodley?
“I think we’ve closed the book, but there’s a bookmark,” says Lane. “If somebody came along and said, ‘would you like to make another series of The Adventures of Lano & Woodley, we’d certainly have a decent chat. Or, if somebody said, ‘do you want to host the new season of Blankety Blanks, we’d probably go, ‘no, thank you.’
But if somebody said, ‘do you want to make a $20 million film starring yourselves,’ we’d go, ‘yes, please.’ We’re basically not getting back together and writing a new show every year for the comedy festival.”
And so, with the future of Lano & Woodley unwritten, there’s every chance this could be the last hurrah for the pair. “You never know, you never know,” teases Lane.
Venue: Arts Centre Melbourne, Playhouse
Dates: Tuesday April 16 – Sunday April 21