5th June 2014
It is with great sadness that the Echidnas advise the passing of one of our own.
Wally The Worker was without a doubt one of the most sought after stand up comedians performing in Australia today. The reason for his popularity is that he would go wherever he coulsd find an
audience to work to.
He was the comedian's "I've Been Everywhere" man working from The Gulf of Carpentaria to Tasmania and in every nook and cranny in Australia. He was the ultimate Roadshow of Comedy, spending six
months of the year touring, but as he said "I don't care for travelling, but I like the work when I get there".
The other half of the year was spent in his home town Sydney where he worked constantly in Clubland and was a favourite of the Corporate business sector because of his different approach to comedy.
He was the consummate comedy professional.
To watch him work on stage or on
Wally the Worker
A celebration of the life of Johnny Holmes (aka Wally The Worker) was held:
Friday 13th June, 2014
Family and Friends are invited
Guardian Funerals at 1.30pm
cnr Bestic Street & Princes H’way
(opposite Spotlight & The Good Guys)
television was to understand the true meaning of comic timing.
His television credits include the Midday Show, where he was a regular for over 6 years, Wide World of Sports, Sydney Extra, Burke's Backyard, Hinch and Sale Of The Century.
Also he did a one hour special for Sky Channel of "WALLY THE WORKER LIVE". He has performed in many countries around the world including the Hilton Hotel circuit throughout Asia, Italy,
New Guinea, New Zealand and The United States. During the Vietnam War he was affectionately known as the "Bob Hope of Australia" having entertained both Australian and American troops on
more occasions than any other Aussie performer.
He was heard on radio regularly and had become one of Australia's truly loved funny men.
Added 13th June 2014
The celebration, today of the life of this great man, Johnny Holmes, was a fitting farewell to a much loved and respected
Australian entertainer, a full house standing room only,
I feel sure Johnny would have been in his element with such an
audience, a sellout.
This tribute taken from the Sidesplitters Newsletter
In what was deemed by many the best era of them all; to be cutting your teeth as a Performer on the NSW Club Circuit, newcomers had the luxury of a large team of advisors (peers) ready and willing to pass on their own experiences in your quest to become whatever you aspired to.
Dissimilar to the competitive nature of today, Singers, Sight Acts, Comedians etc had a pseudo “jealousy” of one another’s talent but, whenever any one of us had a personal problem, the Industry in the main, would step up to the plate and help…..
That’s the way it was.
Back then most of us at one time or another have snuck into the back row of an Auditorium to make notes or click on a hidden tape recorder (no Ipods in those days) to pinch material………..That’s the way it was.
If a new Performer came on the scene, it wouldn’t take long for the word to get around that there was some new material worth a look.(especially comedy)
But there was no malice in our escapades………….aspirants didn’t know any other way to build up their Act.
The “Old School” guys were happy to help because they were established in their Trade and gigs were at a premium morning, noon and night ……………….
”To be copied is to be complimented.” and the established Performers wore that badge proudly.
It wasn’t unusual for Comedians to have regular “Forums” (known more commonly as a piss up) and swap one another’s gags.
A deregulation period happened where Comedians wanted to be Singers and Singers wanted to be Comedians !!??
Why not?................That gave them a double dip into the gig market.
Some achieved their double persona, some didn’t……………..
That’s the way it was.
But, out of all the Performers, there was an elite group of “specialists” who stuck together like glue and had a respect for one another that some just didn’t understand but accepted that there was indeed a “Royal Family” in Showbusiness.
Garfield, O’Leary, Burke,Sacre, Davidson, Seagar, McGeary, Grills, De Grey, Heylen etc. the list is endless and they were all our heroes.
Certainly a catalyst for this wonderful genre of Comedy in that era was Johnny Holmes who chose to be unique in his own right as the lovable character “Wally the Worker.”
To say he started it all would be frivolous but he certainly was a large part of the “funny side of life” and, when you really think about it, he entertained literally hundreds of thousands of people over a stellar career.
Many funny stories will abound about him now and, at the end of the day, we should be mindful that he was a totally necessary inclusion to the original infrastructure of Stage Performance that has put countless Entertainers of his ilk on the map today and beyond.
And now that the Curtain is down and the last gag has been told, he will be remembered for many years to come as the “little guy with the big heart” who “left ‘em in stitches” with his uncanny wit and unique talent.
|The Echidnas The Australian Order of Comedians