Thank God You're Here: articles

Thank God they're here

TV comic Peter Rowsthorn says hit comedy series Kath and Kim saved his career from freefall.

The comedian says during the 1990s he struggled to make ends meet, spending a decade attempting to break back into the industry after an acting and writing stint on The Comedy Company in 1989.

The break came with the top-rating ABC series in 2002.

"Kath and Kim helped me to become a household name ... most people know me as Brett (Craig) now," he said of his Kath and Kim character.

"In the late 80s I thought I was going to be famous forever because I was in The Comedy Company and thought it was so easy, but it disappeared into this gigantic hole and I spent 10 years trying to dig myself out."

These days Rowsthorn is busier than ever, appearing on Channel 10's high-rating improvised comedy program Thank God You're Here and preparing for One Night Stand, a national theatre comedy production showcasing eight of Australia's best-known comedians.

He also hosts the ABC's Can We Help?, a program that cracks the puzzles of everyday life - anything from identifying a stranger in a photo to finding a long lost friend.

"It's a purple patch and I never take it too much for granted because it could be gone tomorrow, I am grabbing things with both hands," he said.

"It's important for me to keep my name out there and keep plugging away at it. It's an interesting time at the moment, I couldn't be happier with the variation in my career life."

Rowsthorn says revisiting computer geek and downtrodden husband Brett Craig could also be on the horizon.

"They have never said no to more (series)," he said, contemplating a third series or another telemovie based on Kath and Kim.

"I can't say (if there will be another series) because I am not allowed to, but I reckon that they have never said no is a pretty good clue."

Working with Kath and Kim creators Gina Riley and Jane Turner, who also double as the program's lead characters, is something Rowsthorn wants to continue.

"We know each other so well and love each other's company. There is never any fighting, it's just so easy, and if it's easy it's generally right," he said.

"I can't wait to do more (Kath and Kim), I just love it so much. I don't care if we do it until it dies in the arse. I will just do it until everybody hates it."

Rowsthorn's comic career was launched in 1987 with stand-up shows - Peter Rowsthorn Phones Home (which featured one of his most memorable acts, a send up of ET the Extraterrestrial) and Pick A Hit with Bob Downe and Riley, in which he played an ageing DJ, Wild Man Col.

By Erin McWhirter
September 18, 2006