“One thing about MS of course is that it’s not fatal – you die with MS, not because of MS, and there are thousands of people in Australia right now who either don’t know they have MS because they just have weird kind of symptoms that come and go.”
Ferguson also noted there were a countless number who kept their symptoms and condition to themselves, like he did for at least a decade.
“Because I figured, ‘why freak everybody out?’” he said.
“And also, it’s none of their bloody business is another one. Not that I’m naturally secretive, it’s just I didn’t want every 30 seconds having to deal with a Facebook message suggesting some brand new wacky homeopathy treatment.”
The diagnosis did not put a dampener on the comedian’s stand-up career – even being turned into a punchline for his tours as his condition progressed, with quips like “you can do stand-up comedy or you can do sit-down comedy”.
It’s with that wry, tongue-in-cheek sense of humour that Ferguson returns to Perth with his show, A Fast Life On Wheels, to be performed at the Heath Ledger Theatre on June 7 and 8.
When WAtoday catches up with Ferguson for a chat about the tour, he’s on a deadline, furiously putting the finishing touches on his regular column The Ferguson Report at The New Daily.
It’s a window to his razor-sharp wit and reflection on the recent federal election, and he test-runs lines like “Labor leader-in-following Anthony Albanese has announced he will dump the party’s franking credits reforms until he understands them”.
Is Ferguson surprised at the Morrison Government’s re-election after the country went to the polls on May 18? Well, not really. He called it ages ago.
“In fact over a year ago, I was last year saying; ‘don’t worry the Liberals will work out how to do this’,” he said.
“And sure enough Labor started coming up with the stuff they were coming up with that was all a bit on the nose … everybody was saying ‘you’re crazy, what about Newspoll?’ Well look what happened to Trump; he was right, the polling wasn’t telling the whole story.
“I mean, it’s good for comedy – it’s great for comedy.”
And as for the rest of the country?
“Well the rest of the comedy will just have to read their comedy,” Ferguson laughed. “They should read The Ferguson Report every week and at least they’ll be able to cry smiling.”
And therein lies a consistent theme to Ferguson’s outlook on life – political outcome or disability diagnosis be damned: “Positivity works better than anything else.”
“It’s always better, not so much just to laugh at problems, but to remain positive about them,” Ferguson said.
“There’s kind of a flipside to (MS) that a life-long disability always looks worse on the outside. So, when we see for example someone in a wheelchair, most of that time most people will be sad because they’ll think of all the things the person in a wheelchair can’t do.
“But once you’ve been in a wheelchair for a while you’re quite used to it, you don’t think about it. You just get on with it. Because there are people with disabilities that so affect their mobility that they’re unable to get their pants on, jump in a chair and roll out the door.
“But even those people, you’ll find, become accustomed to the things that are limiting them.
“You can only be miserable about the same thing for so long, the mind gets bored, it goes looking for other things to play with.”
A Fast Life On Wheels shows at the Heath Ledger Theatre at 8pm on June 7 and 8. For more information and tickets, visit the State Theatre Centre website.
Cameron is the homepage editor for WAtoday.