Five Famous Funny Aussies that Swapped The Law For Laughs

Comedians are funny, there’s no doubt about that. But did you know that a lot of them are smart too?

Shaun Micallef, Anh Do, Rebel Wilson, Jane Turner and every member of ‘The Chasers…’ form an impressive list of Australian comedy royalty. But they could also form a formidable defence team if you landed in trouble with the law

They’re part of a bastion of Aussie comedians who either studied law or became a lawyer, before or after they swapped the law for laughs.

Here are five famous Aussies who studied law:

1. Shaun Micallef
Shaun actually practiced as an insurance lawyer in Adelaide for ten years. He decided to follow his heart instead and moved to Melbourne to pursue a career where he could make people laugh. His wife, who is also a lawyer, was so tired of him talking about becoming a comedian that she marked a date on their calendar and told him if he hadn’t done anything about it by then, then he was never to mention his career change again.

Luckily for his family and his strong Aussie fan base, he successfully nailed making the leap from the law to comedy. After some early sketch comedy TV shows, he landed his role in the infamous Full Frontal where he became well known for characters such as Milo Kerrigan, Nobby Doldrums and a send-up of Italian male model Fabio. Since then, Shaun has starred in and produced a range of hilarious television shows like Talkin’ Bout Your Generation, Mad As Hell, and Micallef Tonight. He’s also written several clever and entertaining books, not to mention being named 2012 Comedian of the Year at the The GQ Men of the Year Awards.

2. Anh Do
In his book, The Happiest Refugee, Anh Do tells of how his family survived five days in a leaky fishing boat nine and a half metres long and two metres wide. During the trip his family and the rest of the passengers were attacked by two different bands of pirates.

Anh went on to study a combined business / law degree at the University of Technology, Sydney, and a Diploma of Visual Art at Meadowbank TAFE (starting several successful small businesses along the way). Six months before finishing his degree, he was offered jobs in law firms, but the 60+ hours per week that lawyers work didn’t appeal to him so he chose stand-up comedy instead.

He’s probably most well-known for his series of travel shows, ‘Anh Does…’ that ran from 2012 – 2014. As a man of many talents, Anh has recently taken time out from his successful comedy career to pursue his love of painting. In 2014, he was a finalist for the Archibald Prize. His love of art and television has recently seen him hosting Anh’s Brush with Fame on the ABC.

3. Rebel Wilson
You might be surprised to learn that household name, Rebel Wilson studied a bachelor of laws at the University of NSW before she made it onto our screens.

Known for her blunt and sometimes ribald jokes, her road to Hollywood is well-documented from starring in distinctly Aussie comedies such as Fat Pizza and Bogan Pride. To gaining international fame in mainstream US comedies, including Bridesmaids and the Pitch Perfect franchise.

It’s hard to imagine Rebel slogging her way through the law degree she completed in 2009. Perhaps her knowledge of the law came in handy for her groundbreaking defamation case against Bauer Media over a series of articles in publications, including Woman’s Day and Women’s Weekly.

4. Jane Turner
A fellow Full Frontal alumni with Shaun Micallef, Jane Turner is probably better known as her character Kath Day-Knight.

Jane starred in the beloved Australian comedy series, Kath & Kim, which she created, wrote, and produced with longtime friend and collaborator, Gina Riley. She has also let her comedic talents shine in sketch comedy programs The D-Generation, Fast Forward, Big Girl’s Blouse, and Something Stupid.

Before her characters became an intrinsic part of Aussie culture, Jane studied law at Monash University and even married a lawyer.

5. Craig Reucassel
Before becoming a Chaser star, Craig Reucassel and several members of The Chasers – Julian Morrow, Dom Knight and Chas Licciardello – graduated with law degrees from the University of Sydney. In 1999 they began The Chaser and their first newspaper project entitled The Chaser.

This was the beginning of the satire group that has brought us TV shows such as The Chaser’s War on Everything, The Hamster Wheel and The Chaser’s Media Circus. Funnily enough, the former would-be lawyers have found themselves in the courtroom several times anyway, most notoriously for their fake motorcade stunt at the APEC summit in 2007. Craig’s spinoff show, The Checkout was also the subject of a lot of legal action – hopefully this was an opportunity to keep his legal knowledge fresh.

You might not have a law degree, but our team of experts do. Contact them today.

Images courtesy of ABC, SBS and Getty Images. 

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