Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

Magda's Comedy Tribute to Mum

Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

Magda's Comedy Tribute to Mum

Article excerpt

Byline: James Wigney

THROUGH TV shows such as Fast Forward, Big Girls Blouse and Kath and Kim, Magda Szubanski has long been loved and admired as one of Australia's funniest woman.

But according to Szubanski herself -- and many of her comedian mates -- she is just a "pale version" of her mother, Margaret, who died last year at the age of 92.

Szubanski says her mother, who emigrated to Australia with her Polish father at the age of 24, was one of the funniest women on the planet and gave her daughter not only her sense of humour, but also a penchant for doing a Scottish accent that's so chumpy you could carve it.

"My great regret is that she never met Maggie Smith," says Szubanski.

"I had a night out on the town with (Maggie) once and we bonded over the Scottish accent. I said 'your Scottish accent is so good, you must have Scottish blood' and she said 'yes, my mother'. And we started comparing notes on the things that Scottish mothers said.

"If I ever did a film I would get her to play my mum -- there was that dry and hilarious humour. If you were to ask any of my famous comedy friends who know my mum, they would agree with me. And right to her death, still with the humour -- it was extraordinary."

That ear for an accent has made Szubanski the "go-to person" for all things Scottish, and her Celtic characters from the ridiculous, hard-drinking Wee Mary McGregor in Fast Forward right through to The Butcher, in the new Aussie comedy The BBQ have been in part a tribute to her mother. Szubanski also maintains "it's hard to be unfunny in a Scottish accent" and over the years has gleefully mined her mother's rich array of incomprehensible Scottish phrases such as "haud yer wheesht, ye wee bizzum" (translation: "be quiet you little brat").

"It's a great character -- really eccentric," says Szubanski of The Butcher, a rough-hewn meat specialist who helps Shane Jacobson's character exact revenge over Manu Feildel's smarmy Frenchman in a cooking competition. …

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