AUSTRALIAN comedy legend Tim Ferguson has made a career as a multi-award winning stand-up comic, but these days his show is very much a sit-down affair.
Having been confined to a wheelchair for the past five years as he battles the ongoing effects of multiple sclerosis, Ferguson is bringing his latest show, A Fast Life on Wheels, to the Ballarat Mechanics Institute on October 4.
Ferguson is best known for his work with the Doug Anthony All Stars and was host of Don't Forget Your Toothbrush in the 1990s.
He said his new show was something that had come together very quickly.
"Disability of any kind isn't funny, but it's really the way you look at it," Ferguson said.
"Positivity can get through any crack. I talk a bit about men who are bald deserving Inclusion in society, they are just a little bit excluded.
"It's the same for someone who has poor eyesight, they might be able to do everything else, but they are hopeless at catching a ball, who's going to be throwing a ball around anyway?"
Ferguson said he had had varying symptoms of MS since he was a teenager, but it wasn't until his early 30s that he finally received a diagnosis.
"I had unrelated symptoms that kept coming and going, they'd come for a month, and go away," he said
"It wasn't until I was 32 that I had an MRI and my neurologist picked up what was wrong.
"I started using the chair About five years ago, just as the Doug Anthony All Stars starting touring again."
He said despite the challenges, his life had not really changed.
"I've kept up the amount of work, but my legs are mostly useless. The muscles work, but they don't always get the message," he said.
"Oddly, I'm very fit for a 55-year-old. You adjust to allow more time getting into places, you take your drugs with you and be aware of what you drink and eat which has actually made me healthier than my mates.
"In terms of being effective and getting things done, as long as everyone I work with relaxes and understands not to rush, then the work gets done.
"The real frustration comes from a lack of planning. Sometimes I start to head out and realise I've forgotten my shoes, that's a 10-minute production to put shoes on."
One of the more unusual stories from Ferguson's life is his toy collection, understood to be the third largest Star Wars collection in the southern hemisphere.
"I don't know how they count these things," he joked.
"I just liked collecting them but they are all boxed up in a place called Fort Knox now
"I was 15 when the first movie came out and I thought it was a terrific movie and the toys were different to any toys being made, just people throwing them out all over the place.
"I found out it was good they were in the boxes, but I guess I've eventually got to do something with them, it's not like I can pull them out and play with them at the weekend, especially because they are still in the box."
Ferguson, who is planning to take his show to the United States and the United Kingdom, said he would like audiences to take one thing from it.
"Everybody has something in front of them and how we deal with it, says more about us than the thing itself," he said.
"I try and keep positive no matter what it is. Even if it does seem ludicrous, it's a better tactic than not. It's much more fun to fail spectacularly."
Tim Ferguson's A Fast Life on Wheels is at the Ballarat Mechanics Institute on October 4. Tickets are available from trybooking.com
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