Col Elliott was part of a generation of Australian standup comedians, along with Rodney Rude and Kevin "Bloody" Wilson, who portrayed the larrikin image -- a crude and irreverent Australian character given to plenty of fart gags and casually racist jokes. In his live shows, Elliott played characters that included a failed kamikaze pilot, a Pakistani Elvis impersonator, and an Italian ambassador named Guisseppe Lasagne. Other characters of his satirized Australian stereotypes, like bush poet Slugger Mulligan and rocker roadie Chooka Dennis. Of all his generation of comedians, Elliott was the most sentimental -- a fan of country music and an ex-member of the navy, the comedian with the catchphrase of "Look out Australia!" broke up his sets with banjo renditions of sad songs about lost relatives and wartime comrades.
Elliott lied about his age to join the Royal Australian Navy at the age of 15. While docked at the town of Nee Soon in Singapore he formed a band called the New Nee Soon City Ramblers Jug and Jazz Band, performing there and later in Hong Kong. Leaving the navy after serving in Vietnam, he found himself unemployed and without any particularly useful peacetime skills except for banjo-playing and joke-telling. In 1973 he entered the talent show New Faces because he needed the prize money to replace his car's tires. Surprised at coming first, he began a career in comedy and music. Elliott toured for ten months of the year for most of his life and was given the nickname "Australia's Resident Madman" by announcer Wally Bishop. He released several popular singles over that career, beginning with "Gotta Give the Grog Away" in 1982 and including several weepy country songs like "Hankies from Nanna" and his biggest hit, "Henry, Banjo and Me."