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Bryan John Dawe is best known as an Australian writer, comedian and political satirist, but is also known for his work as a songwriter, photographer and social activist.
He has been a regular collaborator of fellow satirist John Clarke in the form of mock interviews, first for A Current Affair, and then for The 7.30 Report. Dawe would take on the role of interviewer, with Clarke playing the role of a prominent figure or politician. Unusually for topical satire of this type - such as one of Clarke's earlier ventures, The Gillies Report (1984-1985) - Clarke never attempts to explicitly impersonate the figures he represents, and always performs them in his own voice and manner. The format generally involves Dawe trying to press for an answer and Clarke trying to evade the question.
The duo began writing and presenting the segments in 1989, and switched to The 7.30 Report not long after leaving A Current Affair in 1997. As of 2014[update], the pair continue to present their weekly interview segment at the end of the Thursday edition of The 7.30 Report. During the 2014 Australian television season 'Clarke and Dawe' became a self-contained program on the ABC. The interviews have also been compiled into several books and CD releases, two of which "Great Interviews of the 20th Century" and "The Annual Report" won the pair the ARIA Award for 'Best Australian Comedy Record'. "Secret Men's Business" was nominated for the same award in 1997.
Dawe has a number of other roles outside of his interview collaborations with Clarke. He is a songwriter, winning (along with musician Steve Groves) the Australian Song Festival and then representing Australia in Tokyo at the World Song Festival. Prior to this, in the early 1970s, he worked as an A&R manager for Astor Records and played a significant role in making the Neil Diamond LP Hot August Night a major hit in Australia. He is also a talented painter and photographer, and has featured in several gallery exhibitions which combine these two interests.
In the 1980s he wrote and performed with actress Jody Seidel in a long-running radio comedy series centered on the characters of elderly couple Roly and Sonya Parks. In 1990, after four years as Head of ABC Radio's Comedy Unit, he had a stint as both a writer and actor on the comedy series Fast Forward. Dawe had a minor role in the successful Australian film The Castle in 1997. However, of these, the most successful was his role, along with Clarke, in the satirical series The Games. The series was a mockumentary about the Sydney Organising Committee for the Olympic Games, and ran from 1998 to 2000. Dawe also had a minor role in the 2003 film The Honourable Wally Norman.
In addition to his interview commitments, Dawe regularly appears on the speaker's circuit as an MC, as guest speaker: either as himself or as one of his alter egos Sir Murray Rivers QC (retired). Dawe has written and performed extensively on ABC Radio with his satirical characters Sir Murray Rivers and Roly Parks. Some of his Roly Park's Letters from Kalangadoo segments have subsequently been released on a series of CDs.
For the past seven years, Dawe has been Chair of 'Common Fate' — a not for profit organisation supporting the Reconciliation work of Aboriginal leaders Pat Dodson and Paul Briggs. He is a longtime supporter of the fight for a Palestine homeland.
Dawe is also an inveterate traveler and has written various articles and a radio series on his lifelong love. Recently he has been organising and conducting personalised group tours to Eastern Europe, Syria and Jordan.
In 2012, Dawe had a guest role in the third season of Australian drama series Tangle.