PAUL Hogan doesn’t work much these days, and why should he?
“I used to get annoyed when I heard about those people who won the lottery and said they’d keep working,” he laughed.
“If you won the lottery like I did, why wouldn’t you just enjoy life?”
Likening his career to winning the lottery is not a bad analogy — Hogan famously went from earning a wage painting the Sydney Harbour Bridge to being in his own successful sketch comedy TV show.
“I was 30 when I got famous,” Hogan said.
“I stumbled onto it, like picking up a violin for the first time at 30 and being able to play it.
“It was hard to adjust to, being famous overnight, and a lot of people who they say are overnight successes have usually been working hard in the background for 10 years, but I hadn’t — I was genuinely an overnight success.”
The Paul Hogan Show made him a household name in Australia. When it finished after 12 seasons Hogan could have been a spent force, but even greater fame awaited in the form of the international blockbuster movie Crocodile Dundee.
“The idea came to me in New York,” Hogan recalled.
“I think everyone who goes to New York feels a bit like a hillbilly because it’s such a big bustling city.
“I started out writing a sketch (about that idea) and it kept getting longer and longer and suddenly we were making this really big thing about an outback Aussie in New York.”
He said Dundee was also a response to the “era of the body count, where the hero was the guy who killed the most people”.
“I got offered those kind of roles. But our guy didn’t have to kill anybody to handle the situation. Like in the most famous scene — he had a knife, but he didn’t have to use it.”
His iconic status assured, Hogan obviously enjoys his perpetual state of semi-retirement. He’s made just six movies in the past 20 years, including a third Crocodile Dundee film in 2001 which he agrees was probably “a bridge too far”.
“It seemed like a good idea at the time,” he laughed.
“We thought we’d give it one more run. The problem is you get attached to these characters you invent and you wonder ‘what’s he doing now?’.
“I made it, it was successful — not compared to the other two but it was successful compared to most other Australian films.
“But I knew after the first (Crocodile Dundee) that everything I did after that would run second or third or fourth to that because it was a ridiculously sized blockbuster.”
In recent years, Hogan has been making headlines for the wrong reasons. A protracted battle with the Australian Tax Office meant the actor was met by fans saying “I thought you went to jail” or “didn’t they take all your money?”, he said.
“But I was never ever charged and I wasn’t found guilty.”
Hogan said it’s all fodder for his one-man show, which he brings to Warrnambool’s Lighthouse Theatre on Saturday night.
“It’s all about making people laugh, not helping them with their tax.”
Once the Hoges Goes Bush tour wraps up after this weekend, the comedian will find himself with a refreshingly clear slate — just the way he likes it.
“I’m still waiting for an apology from the government and the Australian Tax Office, but I’m not holding my breath,” he said.