The Rathbone brothers blur the lines of hilarity
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The Rathbone brothers blur the lines of hilarity

They roughhouse, banter, take the mickey out of each other. The brothers Rathbone are like most boisterous siblings except one is a rugby legend and the other is a comedy star on the rise.

And sometimes it's difficult to know where the comedy stops and starts.

Brumbies player Clyde Rathbone with his comedian brother Dayne who will be performing in Canberra.

Brumbies player Clyde Rathbone with his comedian brother Dayne who will be performing in Canberra.Credit:Melissa Adams

They argue about who is the more famous Rathbone brother, who's attracted the biggest crowds to their gigs and who is the more favoured son.

Dayne, 29, has won Australia's biggest comedy competition, Raw Comedy, and finished second at the competition for comedy newcomers at the prestigious Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

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"I won a test match in Edinburgh," Clyde countered.

"Well, no one cares about that," Dayne reckoned.

Are they proud of each other's achievements?

"Dayne's well on his way to becoming competent in comedy," Clyde said, mock-serious. "Eventually he's going to crack it. He's just got to keep chipping away."

"No one expected Clyde to achieve much, so the fact that he's had some success is pretty good," Dayne said.

"I was head boy of my school you already said that," Clyde said.

"But yeah we thought you'd peaked then," Dayne said.

Clyde, 31, is well-known for playing with the Brumbies and Wallabies and for his battle back from depression.

"Were you depressed?" is all Dayne will give him.

He reckons Clyde's much-celebrated return to rugby is simply a ploy to retain the crown of Most Famous Rathbone Brother.

"Dayne's intimidated by my fame," Clyde said, simply. "He doesn't like it when people call him Rathbone's brother."

"That's not true," Dayne said. "Now I'm more famous than him I think it's time to call him Rathbone's brother and he doesn't like it. That's why he made the comeback, he's made up this big story about wanting to play again."

There is a bonanza of Rathbone-watching in Canberra this week. Dayne is performing his stand-up show It's Me Dayne at the Canberra Casino on Thursday and Friday night. Clyde is playing with the Brumbies against the Hurricanes on Friday night at Canberra Stadium.

"How many tickets have you sold to your show? I've sold about 16,000 to mine," Clyde said.

Clyde was the first of the four Rathbone brothers to move to Australia in 2002. His mum Glynis and younger brothers Dayne; Luke, now 22; and Rory, now 20, followed in 2006. Dad Alan commuted between the countries for six years. But the family has now happily settled in Canberra.

Mrs Rathbone said a household of four boys was "chaotic and fun".

"Clyde was always this incredibly physical child and Dayne was always this incredibly vocal child," she said.

Were they close as children?

"Yeah in tackles and stuff," Dayne said. "We played a lot of contact sport."

Dayne said he wanted to come to Australia because "I heard the internet connection here was a lot better".

"He's not even joking about that," Clyde said, in hysterics. "Every time I went back to South Africa, the main thing they wanted to know was how quick the internet was here. It was the main factor in his decision to come here."

Dayne did work as a video game programmer in Canberra before his comedy took off. In his stand-up act, he is excruciatingly awkward and plain-speaking in a performance which takes the audience on a discombobulating ride.

"Dayne's performing so often now that the lines are blurred between Dayne and his act," Clyde said.

"We all wear our different masks," Dayne said, solemnly.

So who is the favoured son?

"Luke is very clever, studying economics at ANU. He was No.1 for a while," Clyde said.

"We have one completely out of the running, Rory, he's just a big hippy," Dayne said. "I think once my shows are done and everyone sees how big a star I am, it will be pretty obvious"

* It's Me Dayne is at the Canberra Casino on Thursday and Friday at 8pm. Bookings at www.trybooking.com.au/cuuw. The Brumbies and Hurricanes play at Canberra Stadium at 7.40pm on Friday. Tickets from ticketek.com.au.

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