Dan Ilic is host of A Rational Fear, a satirist, writer, comedian and notable radio talent in his time to. While in town for Julia Zemiro’s Directed Adelaide Cabaret Festival he spoke with radionotes about family, if music could still be political and much more… all while sipping on a South Australian iconic milk beverage.
Also, from the archives from 2015 – the day before their birthday in February of that year – Peter Hook (Joy Division, New Order, Free Bass, Peter Hook & The Light). Currently back – at time of release – in Australia touring Joy Division Orchestrated.
To listen, click the green ‘play’ triangle… [note: may take few seconds to load]
(Transcript of Dan Ilic chat below, check to delivery in audio)
A Rational Fear next LIVE show is 8th August 2019 – STOP THE PRESS featuring Kate McClymont (SMH), Ben Fordham (2GB), Alice Workman (The Australian), Ray Martin (TV Broadcasting Legend), Lewis Hobba (Triple J) and more
IMAGE CREDIT: Bridie Connell
SHOW NOTES: Dan Ilic episode
Where to find the show to subscribe/follow:
- PlayPodcast – this link directs you, to the Podcast app on your device (subscribe to not miss an episode)
….or you may prefer to Search “radionotes Podcast” in your favourite podcatcher.
In The Box:
- Billy Bragg 2020 Australian Tour
- We’ve All Got Our Story – Shannon and Susannah Davey (iTunes) Spirit of Tasmania (Book)
- Care Package – Drake (Pitchfork)
- Heaven Knows – Lola Scott (LinkTo)
FEATURE GUEST: Dan Ilic
- Official Site
- Twitter – Facebook – Instagram
- A Rational Fear
- Blind Mellon – The Spin Doctors – Westside Story – Apollo 440
- Appears De La Soul cuts were released via MiniDisc, thanks to Sony – on Men In Black and Judgement Night as part of Soundtracks
- Cumberland Gang Show – Our Vision
- FBi Radio (Official Site)
- Hymie’s Basement (Pitchfork, 2004)
- Woman (Live) – Wolfmother, Homebake 2004 (YouTube)
- Adult Fantasy – SPOD, album (Bandcamp)
- SPOD gets serious… by A.H.Cayley (The Guardian)
- Sumatime! – SPOD, off Taste The Sadness (Bandcamp)
- Tkay Maidza (Official Site)
- Marie’s Crisis: All For Song, A Song For All (SMH, 2016)
- Tim Minchin (Official Site)
- Julia Zemiro (Wiki)
- Someone Great – LCD Soundsystem (Spotify)
- Tonightly with Tom Ballard (ABC, archived) and here (YouTube)
- Sex Pest – Bridie and Wyatt (Official Music Video) from Tonightly with Tom Ballard
- Dan Ilic (LinkedIN)
- Light and Shadow by Mark Colvin (MUP) and Colvin on Twitter (archived)
- Sketch – Mark Colvin Covering Rob Oakshott Valedictory Speech Live (Whooshkaa)
- Hungry Beast (ABC, archived) and on Youtube
- Susie Yousssef (Twitter) and About Tonight (S02E02, 2015) – Youssef as Host with TWOKS as house-band
- Y2GAY – Tropfest
Goodbye Newsroom by Michelle Prak:
- Available through – Dymocks, on Kindle (Amazon) – Amazon (Book) and details of the Launch 20th August 2019 here.
- Corpse Flower – Mike Patton and Jean-Claude Vannier (Bandcamp)
- Ashamed – Omar Apollo (LinkTo)
- The Sometimes Always – Chalk (Official Music Video)
- Immunity – Clairo (Album – LinkTo) A Winning Debut – 3 Stars (The Guardian)
Who Sent What?:
- Want It All – Little Wise (Pre-Order now, out Friday 13th September 2019) on Bandcamp and AppleMusic
This week sighted by New York Times as a top 4 Australian podcast, that also this week released their 100th episode.
From The Archives: Peter Hook (12th February 2015)
Next Episode: Sam Buckingham
More details on playpodcast here, thanks to Matt from them.
[Radio Production – notes: Dan Ilic is just under 33 minutes and has a number of great tunes to play with, or feel free to run the full 55 minute show]
Theme/Music: Martin Kennedy and All India Radio
Web-design/tech: Steve Davis
Voice: Tammy Weller
You can make direct contact with the podcast – on the Contact Page
For direct quotes check to audio, first version of transcript by Gavan B at REV
John Murch: Dan Ilic. Welcome to radionotes.
Dan Ilic: Thanks John. Thanks for having me. It’s good to be here in my bedroom at the hotel that I’m in. It’s good to be here. Thank you for coming to me.
John Murch: Do you realise that 12 floors up from you there’s a couple, a gent who’s in a wheelchair and a lady, but they’re not your parents. They are in for a weekend.
Dan Ilic: Really?
John Murch: They’re going to see the Judy Garland show, and I did recommend he should see A Rational Fear tonight, but I don’t think they’ll make it.
Dan Ilic: I’m very surprised at the age of our audience. Usually our audience is filled with young people who are fun and angry at the world. The audience at last night’s show was decidedly older, and didn’t know what a podcast was. It was very exciting.
John Murch: The first CD that you bought was in fact that of the Blind Melon.
Dan Ilic: Great. Yeah.
John Murch: The first album you bought was the Spin Doctors.
Dan Ilic: I actually bought it on …
John Murch: Cassette.
Dan Ilic: … cassette.
John Murch: The first CD was Blind Melon and the first cassette was Spin Doctors.
Dan Ilic: Talk about good time.
John Murch: Talk me through this. I understand Apollo 440 on MiniDisc, because that was the DJ mixing era.
Dan Ilic: How do you know about all this stuff?
John Murch: Why West Side Story on MiniDisc?
Dan Ilic: Because I bought a MiniDisc player because I wanted to do radio and make my own radio stuff. It seemed to be the easiest, at the time it was the easiest way to record audio. I bought it when I was in year 11 or year 10. What year was that? It would have been ’96, ’97, and it was just brand new. You could also buy prerecorded MiniDiscs as well. The things that I chose to buy were things that I like. I love musicals and I loved, back then, techno music. Apollo 440 was one of my favorite bands at the time.
John Murch: I did not know that you could buy albums on MiniDisc. I thought it was given to you, because I was working at the Virgin Megastore where we had the LaserDiscs and we know how long they lasted, but I don’t remember the MiniDisc. I would have thought De La Soul or a band like that would have had them. It was great to hear that you actually could buy them.
Dan Ilic: Well, as you know, MiniDisc was a Sony format. Sony artists were releasing MiniDiscs. If you weren’t a Sony artist you probably didn’t release on MiniDisc. Which is also why Sony artists were also released on SACD, because SACD is a Sony product as well. Sony medium as well.
John Murch: We’re talking music with Dan Ilic. It started with the Gang Shows back in the scouts years, did it?
Dan Ilic: I don’t know. I’ve always had an interest in music, but certainly performing and comedy is where I got my interest for performing was through Gang Show. It was a scout and guide show, 144 kids on stage trying their hardest to impress their parents. I went along as a very impressionable 10 year old. I remember watching it going, “Oh my God. Those kids are just my age. I want to do that. How come they get to do that? That looks like a lot of fun.”
Dan Ilic: Inside the program for the Cumberland Gang Show 1992 was a form you could fill out to audition for the next year. I filled it out, and then by December when auditions came round, I went to auditions and I got in and it was awesome. I stayed in Gang Show for 11 years. What I probably should have done was go to a different theatrical company to do other types of performing, but Gang Show was pretty fun for me.
Dan Ilic: What Gang Show really lacks in artistic integrity, makes up for in managing teams and learning how to get the best out of people, and an ethos of pitching in and doing great work and creating work on the fly, and also getting folks to give you their time to help you make something great.
John Murch: You’re now a board member of FBi Radio. Take us back, before we talk about the training aspect that you were talking about, take us back to that first graveyard shift.
Dan Ilic: 2003. FBi Radio was very special. I got into radio because I was in love with a girl at university who was also involved with FBi. Because she was working there, I was like, “I’ve got to get involved with this FBi business.” Also, at the same time I’ve had a long love of radio. I used to call up Triple J and try and get my voice on Triple J all the time. I used to write poetry for Caroline Tran on Super Request. That’s why I bought the MiniDisc.
Dan Ilic: I have recordings of me on MiniDisc on Triple J doing poetry with Caroline Tran on Super Request for no good reason. 2003 I was at university, just finished university and FBi was just starting. All throughout my university there was rumors that FBi was starting, so I was always involved in doing the sound IDs and doing rehearsals, studio stuff for them. Then gradually got to the point where it was on-air day, and we had a massive party that day. They didn’t have anyone to do the Mid-Dawn shift for the next few days. I put my hand up to do it.
Dan Ilic: Me and my friend Julia Hobbs who I also went to university with, we did the first three in a row. It was fantastic. It was just great. We didn’t know what we were doing. We were just learning on the fly, and took that time to really have fun with radio.
John Murch: What music was informing you at that stage? What were you spinning to the listener?
Dan Ilic: I remember one of the first tracks we ever played was something called Hymie’s Basement. It was a Brooklyn band, and then TV On The Radio was also big back then. We played a lot of brand new emerging artists. Wolfmother was just fresh. They came into FBi open day and dropped in their CD. FBi launched them in Sydney. Flume was brand new too. He was like a 20-year-old kid, and he came in on a FBi open day and gave us his first CD as well.
Dan Ilic: It was a whole lot of incredible Sydney acts that you would definitely know the names of now, but back then nobody knew.
John Murch: One of your first music, in fact your first music interview, he’s released an album a couple of weeks ago back on July 19th, 2019, called Adult Fantasy. The brand new one from SPOD.
Dan Ilic: SPOD.
John Murch: Out on Nice as Rice label. Take us back to your first music interview. Was it your first interview as well?
Dan Ilic: Yeah. Probably would have been my first interview. SPOD. My God, how did you find all this out? I was pretty nervous about it, because I’d never done it. At that time, this interview was on afternoons on FBi. At the time I just was filling in for somebody else in FBi. I asked Stuart Buchanan who was the program director at the time. He’s a old-school radio guy in Sydney and does a lot of stuff on Double J now. I was like, “Stuart, I’m interviewing SPOD. What should I ask him?”
Dan Ilic: He’s like, “Maybe you could ask him about his contemporaries, maybe you can talk to him about Har Mar Superstar and other people like that. Really, if you like his music, just talk about the music, man. It’s cool.” I became friends with Brent, who is SPOD, from that first album he created. He created a definitive album of that era, I reckon, for Sydney music. Sumatime was a track that is just still so good today.
Dan Ilic: That album really triggers fond memories of doing early shifts at FBi, and living in Sydney as a 20-something.
John Murch: When you’re just chillaxing, it’s not part of a production, you don’t have to share it on stage, it’s not even a romantic thing, what’s the music that Dan Ilic listens to in the privacy of his own world?
Dan Ilic: I really love new stuff all the time. I’m really hungry for new stuff that gets me moving, and Tkay Maidza I love.
John Murch: Is that because you’re in Adelaide that you mention that.
Dan Ilic: No. Is she from Adelaide? She is so great. Her music, I listened to that a lot in LA when I was living in LA a couple of years back. I ran to her work. Lizzo at the moment. I saw Lizzo at South by Southwest just before she broke wide couple of years ago, and I fell in love with her. She’s great. Her latest album is really good. What else have I been listening to? Pnau’s old stuff is still good. It’s music I can move to and music that I can see things with.
Dan Ilic: For me it’s about a cinematic experience. If I can see a story or I have a nice visual when I’m listening to something in my head, then I love it. Because I’m a visual person as well as a filmmaker. I’m always looking for great tracks I can put on a TVC or something.
John Murch: Your best live music experience to date.
Dan Ilic: I’ve seen so many gigs. I remember seeing Fatboy Slim at The Big Day Out.
John Murch: In the Boiler Room.
Dan Ilic: In the Boiler Room in Sydney holding up my MiniDisc recording it, thinking it was the coolest sh** ever. There is nothing that can quite compete with sitting in a dingy basement with a whole bunch of musical theater-loving queer people and singing along to musical songs at Marie’s Basement in New York City. In terms of a live music experience, that is pretty special. I got close last night. I’m a bit croaky, because I was singing, Lewis Hobba and I were singing musical songs late into the night at The Adelaide Cabaret Festival at a bar nearby. That was pretty fun.
John Murch: Take us to New York.
Dan Ilic: Marie’s Basement is a well-known piano bar in Greenwich Village. It is a tiny room. It’s about twice the size of this hotel room. One end is a very wet bar, and then there’s folks who are just over-pouring drinks down there, giving laissez-faire amounts of money for alcohol. The room is usually jammed with lots of people who love musical theater. There’s a piano. The piano is dotted with music sheets from musicals all around it.
Dan Ilic: The piano is old and it’s rickety, and the people who play it know in their heads, they don’t even need the music. They often know every song to every musical ever made. People are just drunk yelling out requests. The pianist is playing, and then everybody around is singing to the top, to the best of their ability along. It is just a wonderful cathartic, excellent experience.
John Murch: Talk us through your work with Tim Minchin and how Tim Minchin has helped you over the years.
Dan Ilic: Tim is absolutely brilliant. Me saying that doesn’t matter. The whole world thinks he’s brilliant, which is why I like to cut him down to size from time to time. Because he doesn’t need everyone telling him he’s brilliant. He is. He’s a brilliant generous man who I’ve had the fortune of interviewing and working with from the very early days. I remember going to see him and Cabaret Voltaire at the bottom of the Seymour Centre probably in 2004, when he was not really anyone.
Dan Ilic: He was still Tim Minchin, but he was just getting into his persona. There was probably 30 people in that room watching him do cabaret. I knew he was something special, because I had him on FBi around that time and then interviewed him after I saw the show, and I was talking to him on air. As he was talking, we were doing a ticket giveaway. You’d never ever see all the lights on FBi light up, but I don’t know what it was that he said, but every single light was flashing. People really wanted a bit of Tim.
Dan Ilic: He was just a beautiful, he still is a wonderful, eloquent, deep-thinking person who creates extraordinary work. From around that time, 2003, 2004, we worked together on Ronnie Johns. He did the music for The 3rd Degree pilot where he played songs with us and wrote satirical songs of his own to include in the pitch. We did this. I feel like right now I’m going through my filing cabinet in my head of memories and trying to dust them off, trying to articulate the story.
Dan Ilic: He was in the room with us. We’re in a community hall by the water at Sydney Harbor. We had these executives from Channel 10 sitting opposite us in the middle of this hall. We were sitting on the other side of the room reading out scripts and making them laugh. Tim was doing all the music. Tim sang songs as well. It was this great soft pitch to the TV network. The network loved it and they gave us a pilot, and then they gave us six episodes. Then they gave us 12 episodes.
Dan Ilic: Tim at the time was just on his own journey. He didn’t end up hanging out with us for much of The 3rd Degree writing process, because he went off to Edinburgh and then became super-famous. He didn’t need us after that.
John Murch: We’re speaking to Dan Ilic at the Adelaide Cabaret Festival. You’re here on invitation of the one and only Julia Zemiro in that frame of the importance of politics and cabaret. Because that’s what you’ve been invited here to do is to add some politics to it. That’s the vibe I get from Zemiro.
Dan Ilic: Zemiro asked me to come here and bring some sexy.
John Murch: Oh.
Dan Ilic: Yeah.
John Murch: Sorry. I’m getting-
Dan Ilic: I’m bringing the sexy. Politics and cabaret are pretty much the same thing. Cabaret is an art form that is essentially created to entertain people and to criticize the government to their faces, right under their noses in pre-war Germany. That’s where it all took off for cabaret.
John Murch: You’re a son of a migrant family. Your father came to Australia in 1951 with a family book. Can you talk to us about how that has influenced your journey as a performer?
Dan Ilic: How do you get this information? I don’t think I’ve told anyone this. Dad was born in Nazi Germany, so the family book is not a passport. It’s a book that is for the entire family. It’s like a group passport for your entire family. The fascinating thing about the family book, dad’s family book anyway is that it’s got … Because the government of the day was the Nazi Party, it’s got swastikas all the way through it. It’s got stamps. It’s such a weird thing. Brings that history into modern day for me when I look at it, because it’s like, “Oh my God. My dad actually grew up under the Nazis.” It’s so interesting.
Dan Ilic: In terms of how did dad’s immigrant story affect me or influence me, I have a great appreciation for the migrant story. I have a great appreciation for migrants and what they do and how they rebuild their lives in other places. My mum’s family are also immigrants. They came out from Lebanon and Italy prewar. I find it fascinating how people move countries and create their lives and make successes out of their lives and out of hardship.
Dan Ilic: I have a certain empathy for migrants and people like that. Dad was also a solicitor for many, many years, for 40 years. He helped many migrants set up in Australia. He helped them navigate the Australian legal process from all over the world, from Asia to the Middle East, to Balkan countries where his family is from. It’s interesting growing up seeing folks who don’t look like me in my living room where dad worked, help them make their way in Australia.
Dan Ilic: Those people were always so appreciative of dad’s work as a lawyer, that by became some of his closest friends. Pretty wild. Dad really helped out a lot of new Australians.
John Murch: Funeral song, you’ve said that the LCD Soundsystem’s Someone Great should be your funeral song.
Dan Ilic: Yeah. Because I’m someone great and people should cry, and it’s going to make people cry. It makes me cry every time I hear it, so when I get carted out in a coffin I want someone to play that so every person in the room can have a big old boohoo over me, and go, “Yeah, he was great. We should have spoken to him before he died. Why did we let him live in squalor for so long?”
John Murch: Can music change politics?
Dan Ilic: I think it used to be able to.
John Murch: Talk us through that.
Dan Ilic: Now, look, here’s the thing, as with comedy, as with journalism, as with music, right now we’re living in a really interesting time where nothing much affects anything else. While we do have these interesting democratized tools that get stuff in front of people, we are no longer a mass of humanity, we’re no longer a mass market for media. We are a niche market for media. All these little splintered niche markets are communicated to on an individual basis.
Dan Ilic: This is a very academic thing I’ve been thinking about a lot, so bear with me. As with news, comedy, music, I feel like they’re all the same kind of communication that it only reaches the same audience that is interested in it. I don’t think anybody whose mind is going to be changed by a song will ever hear the song that is designed to change somebody’s mind. I feel like these days because of the internet, while, yes, it has been an enormous tool for democracy, right now it’s not because of the algorithms run by public companies that funnel us into smaller and smaller groups.
Dan Ilic: I feel like if we had the music today and as an audience, as a global unified media audience we’re in one group, I feel like music today would still be a really effective tool for changing people’s minds. I feel like comedy would be an effective tool for changing people’s minds. I feel like people consuming different points of view and considering a range of views and messages, that’s great for democracy. I feel like right now at this moment, 2019, with six companies effectively owning the attention of us all, we are split into these micro groups that only receive messages we want to receive. My answer is no.
Dan Ilic: Is political music good? Yes. Is the political music that’s being made today good? Is the satire being made today as good as it’s always been? Yeah. Some of the best stuff is being made right now. Will it change people’s minds in 2019? No. Will it change people’s minds in 2015? Might have done. I feel like the change has been over the last six years.
John Murch: A few years ago A Rational Fear which is both a podcast but also much, much more, you did decide to give it a rest and now you’re back on. Does that mean you’ve got new insight on how A Rational Fear, as the message, as in the communication channel can work now?
Dan Ilic: Yeah. I don’t know if it’s going to be a mass communication channel. I think I’m just quote happy to preach to the choir. It’s to the point where I’m just doing it because I like doing it and it’s fun. I used to do it because I thought we needed to make something like that and have something like that on television. I was working really hard to make a TV product that killed in the room in stage, was really great online, had an excellent podcast, and it had a small following that could convince a television executive that a Daily Show should exist in Australia.
Dan Ilic: When we couldn’t get it up in 2014, I was really embarrassed and I just left the country. I went to work for Al Jazeera because that’s where the opportunity was to make the kind of stuff that I wanted to make. By the time I got back from America there were seven shows on television that were like it. One of those shows was Tonightly, which I ended up becoming the boss of. That was okay.
Dan Ilic: It was like one of those things where I went away for a little bit because I just couldn’t get it up, and when I returned there was five shows that were all hosted by white guys all doing the stuff that I wanted to do a long time ago.
John Murch: Tonightly with Tom Ballard is the full title of that, for which you were the boss of till its end. What Tom Ballard was able to do with your help and also the musical guests as well on that bringing us back to music included an ARIA for some of the guests, Bridie and Wyatt, who have been touring with you.
Dan Ilic: Tonightly with Tom Ballard was a great experience, and it really pulled together some of the best comedy minds in Australia. We worked so hard trying to make something really great. Bridie and Wyatt, they are incredible improvisational musicians and also non-improvisational musicians as well. They do both kinds. They’ve worked together for years, and they’re just such great joyful people to be around. They make such great work. It was really cool to be able to back them and back Bridie’s idea for Sex Pest and get that in a position where we could give it enough resources to make it really great, and then sell it down the line, get it released and got them the ARIA.
Dan Ilic: They’re just super-talented. When you’re in a position like I was with Tonightly with Tom Ballard, it was such a privilege for me to facilitate great work by great comedians to make really cool things. As a kid I always wanted to work on a show like The Late Show, the D-Gen’s Late Show and I really felt like that Tonightly experience was probably that experience. I got to be Michael Hirsh for six months, and that was great.
John Murch: Dan Ilic, where are you now?
Dan Ilic: I’m just taking this time to build my own work and create good things that I like doing. A Rational Fear is really great. The last couple of months A Rational Fear has paid the bills, which is fantastic. I’m trying to find ways to keep A Rational Fear going, that I can keep building it and keep building an audience for it, and keep putting on shows around the country where A Rational Fear can be the thing that I do as a job. It’s getting to that point where it might be that way.
Dan Ilic: The main thing is the podcast and the email list. If you go to arationalfear.com and give us your email, then I’ll send you the podcast every time we release one. Also, send you an email with fresh content all the way throughout it.
John Murch: Can I ask you this question, what was your relationship with Mark Colvin?
Dan Ilic: Mark Colvin, he was a wonderful mentor of mine. Mark Colvin is a absolute legend. Well, actually I kind of knew him on Twitter as many people did. Then when I got a job at Hungry Beast, became friends with him through the ABC. I always have this great memory of going to a dinner party at Leigh Sales house, clang, and he would walk through the back door holding a bottle of red. Leigh would not park in her parking spot which was right at the back door, but allow him to park right behind. Because of his disability he couldn’t walk very far. He would park right in the back of her house, and then hobble out with his walking sticks and a gigantic bottle of red and plan to drink the entire thing.
Dan Ilic: I was just like, “What a bloody legend.” He’s just a character who’s really funny, really smart, really had a curiosity for life, and did so many cool things in his career as a journalist, as just an explorer of the world that we’ve kind of made jokes with each other all the time. I would just catch up with him occasionally at the local coffee shop, when he’d get dialysis done in Darlinghurst. I’d bump into him a few times at the Bourke Street Bakery.
Dan Ilic: I would often cancel the rest of the hour’s appointments just to hang out with Mark and read the paper and make jokes about politics. He was always a wonderful friend, mentor, and collaborator. People at the ABC were scared of him. They were like, “Mark Colvin, we can’t annoy Mark. Let’s not annoy Mark. Let’s not get Mark to do something.”
Dan Ilic: Mark had this fantastic sense of humor. I would get him to do everything for me. He did a couple of A Rational Fear sketches for me. One of my favorite sketches was him doing coverage of Rob Oakeshott’s valedictory speech. I was making A Rational Fear for Radio National back then. I was in the studio mixing it, and I said to the engineer, “You know what’d be great? We just need a sketch here with a journalist covering Rob Oakeshott’s valedictory speech and saying how it’s gone on for three days.”
John Murch: Now, for those outside of Australia, Rob Oakeshott was one of the deciding factors of a minority government for Julia Gillard, the prime minister, and he went on for ages.
Dan Ilic: It wasn’t very long. Everyone makes fun of Rob Oakeshott, but it was 15 minutes. I think 15 minutes is a fine amount of time to hold the country’s attention, to express why you will be good as a cross bench and have all the power that you have within a minority government. I think that is completely fine. I’m defending Rob Oakeshott here. That wasn’t long. It became a trope, so when he retired I just thought, “Well, he’s retired so let’s just do a joke on the valedictory speech.”
Dan Ilic: We’re sitting in the ABC and I said, “Maybe Colvin will do it.” The engineer was like, “Oh no. We can’t get Colvin.” I was like, “I’ll just call him up. He’ll just come down and do it.” I called him up and said, “Good day, Dan. I’m on holiday in Bowral. I’m not in the studio at the moment. I can’t pop in to do it for you.” I said, “Could you just record it on your phone and send it to me?” “How do I do that?” I said, “Well, you just open up memo on your phone and just sit in your car and just record it and then just email it to me.” “Okay. I’ll give it a go.”
Dan Ilic: Then five minutes later an email with Mark Colvin comes in. The file’s there. It sounds pitch perfect and we mix this great sketch together. He was just perfect. He just read the script. He was like, “Please tell my family I love them, and send me some nutritious snacks. I don’t know how much longer I can last.” He was just fantastic. He died, I heard, this was probably about five years ago I heard that he was having a bit of a wobble. Colvin sometimes has these things where he disappears for a couple of months because his bloods are so messed up, and nobody really knows what’s going on.
Dan Ilic: I sent him a text. I said, “I hear you’re having a bit of a wobble. Hope you’re okay.” He sent me a nice message back saying that everything’s fine and he’ll be back at work in a day or so. I said, “Great. Can I have your watch?” He said, “F*** off, Ilic. I’m not your real dad.” So funny. I was at a Walkleys dinner a couple of weeks ago, and I was sitting with a bunch of funny people including James Jefferies and Amanda Meade and Anita Jacoby and some really fabulous journalists.
Dan Ilic: We were all talking about Mark Colvin’s texts. People whipped out their phones, read out texts from Mark Colvin. Some of the most defamatory, hilarious text messages that you’ll ever read. I said, “You know what’d be a great podcast? Getting people to come and read their texts from Mark Colvin.” That could be a great just one-off A Rational Fear episode. I love radio. I love ABC Sydney. I love doing breakfast on there. I love filling in for James Valentine when they have the odd shift. That’s really great fun. ABC Radio’s really great fun couple of years.
John Murch: I still remember streaming you on Up For It Breakfast on FBi back in the 2000s. You were great.
Dan Ilic: Why were you doing that? That was 2003. I only did that like five months and then I ended up getting a job at Funniest Home Videos.
John Murch: Actually, on TV, can we have a late-night variety show like a Letterman or something in Australia, or have we missed that boat? Can it happen? A late-night variety show at 9:30 on Channel 9, that kind of thing.
Dan Ilic: I think so. I think you can. I don’t see why not.
John Murch: Would you put your hand up for it?
Dan Ilic: In a perfect world A Rational Fear would be in that position, maybe in a less political sense and have more fun, but really easy show to do. It’d be so easy to show run and host a show like that. Be great fun to do. It’d be great. I’d love to do that. I think there’s room for a woman host to be honest.
John Murch: Maybe a producing role you might take.
Dan Ilic: I’d love to EP a show. I’d love to EP a show like that. I reckon there’s so much great talent out there who could host a show like that. I think someone like Susie Youssef would be an absolutely incredible host. I’ve seen Susie MC shows at the Enmore Theatre and absolutely crush and dominate an audience there. She is absolutely terrific as an MC. She is a terrific warm person who knows the comedy community back to front. She would be an absolute mega-superstar, and she could definitely host her own show like that. She would be the perfect choice for something like that, to be honest.
John Murch: Wherever you end up, Dan Ilic, the absolute best. Thanks for joining radionotes.
Dan Ilic: Thanks for having me.