Nick Giannopoulos on why ‘Wog Life’ is your final chance to see him live on stage

The comedian gives Neos Kosmos readers a sneak peek into his upcoming show and his reasoning behind a 'swan song' tour.

Whether a fan of his comedy or not, anyone of Greek – in fact non-Anglo – background raised in post-war Australia has reasons to acknowledge Nick Giannopoulos’ work.

The comedian built his career by reclaiming the power of what was until then a racist slur and popularising it into something positive that brought laughter to thousands.

Now ahead of a farewell live tour, Giannopoulos reflects on his “real strong ‘love and hate relationship” with the word ‘Wog’.

“It affected my life enormously. You know, on the one hand it caused me a lot of pain growing up, and then in a weird, ironic way, it helped create my success,” he tells Neos Kosmos.

As quoted in his 2022 ‘Wog Boys Forever’ film: ‘Unless you are first Nations, everyone else is a Wog in this country’.

But it took years before the insulting term was turned on its head.

Sharing his signature-style comedy, the Greek Australian comic is thanking fans with a farewell tour that gives a bit more insight on the man who turned the ‘wog’ slur on its head. Here, Nick Giannopoulos with his late father Leonidas. Photo: Supplied/Nick Giannopoulos

“I talk about that a lot in the show. I talk about the early years when I was a kid, what it was like growing up in Australia in the ’60s and ’70s.

“The wonderful thing about having turned 60 is I’m now a lot more reflective and I’ve got a lot more life experience and I’ve got a lot more stuff to talk about, you know?

“It’s called ‘Wog Life’ because I’ll be looking back at my life,” he says of the show.

Giannopoulos’ farewell tour is his first one-man show, featuring two fan-favourites over the years stage characters – The Cleaning Lady & The Taxi Driver.

The racism, his generation “encountered growing up” is very real and serious, he says.

“But I talk about these things that happened in a comedic way.”

“I hope people bring their kids as well, because there’s a history lesson in this show. But more importantly it’s going to be a really fun night for wogboy fans,” Giannopoulos says. Photo: Supplied/Nick GIannopoulos

During the monologue part of his performance, the audience can expect to see some old photos of Giannopoulos as a kid and his parents.

“It will remind people of a time in this country that doesn’t exist anymore. It was a different era, and those first Greek migrants who came out after the war went through a lot. And we as the first generation born kids went through a lot as well.”

The show also talks about how much Australia has changed since then, Giannopoulos says.

“And how the Southern European influence on this country is enormous. How much this country has given us and how much we’ve given […] It is important for us to remember our parents and grandparents who migrated all those years ago and sacrificed so much for us.”

“This all sounds very serious, but the show is actually a lot of fun, a lot of laughter.”

Nick Giannopoulos in his early career years with fellow Greek Australian artists, singer Maria Stavropoulou and comedian Mary Coustas. Photo: Facebook

Regardless, for some, this part of the performance might get a bit emotional, he agrees.

For himself, the whole show and tour is emotional. It’s his last live one on stage.

“After 3,000 appearances on stage, I’m ready to have a bit of a rest.

“It’s been an amazing ride. And it’s gonna be sad for me. I really hope I don’t start crying up on stage, that’ll be very embarrassing!” he laughs.

While not the end of his performing career altogether, after the ‘Wog Life’ tour Giannopoulos is retiring from live stage.

Photo: Supplied

“The reason is just that I’ve been doing it for a long time, and there’s other things in my life that I want to do.

“Touring takes a lot of your time and makes you live out of a suitcase.”

“The reason I’m doing this farewell tour is to say thank you to the fans and just give them one more opportunity to come and have a fun night with me.”

‘Do people still use the word ‘Wog’ nowadays?’, Giannopoulos is asked but refrains from giving away his answer. He’s saving it for the stage, he says.

“I have an answer to that in the show, and I don’t want to spoil it for the people who get to come and see it.”

Loyal wogboy fans can expect a proper farewell show true to the style of comedy Giannopoulos is known for.

Nick as a child with his parents. Leonidas Giannopoulos, who passed away in 2021 aged 88, had migrated to Australia from Gargaliani, Messinia. Petroula Giannopoulos hails from Poulithra, Arcadia. Photo: Supplied/Nick GIannopoulos

“If you’ve been to any of my shows in the past, you know what you’re in for. The most important thing I like to do with my shows is make them a really fun night out, you know?”

The add-on in his very last one, it seems, will be how much he shares of Giannopoulos the person, beyond the wog boy character, with the audience.

“I’m pretty much going down that road about speaking about all the things I love and all the things that I don’t love, that piss me off, you know? And more importantly, it’s all about growing up in this country, having been called wogs, and how we all survived that and come out the other side in a much stronger place.”

‘Wog Life’ is coming to Melbourne’s Palais Theatre on 16, 17 February before travelling to Sydney in March. The show’s tour includes stops in Adelaide, Perth, Brisbane and Wollongong.