Denise Drysdale: “I wouldn’t be here without Craig.”

These madcap mates are taking their banter on the road!
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One year on from the life-changing brain surgery that cured Denise Drysdale’s painful facial condition trigeminal neuralgia (TN), New Idea is happy to reveal the comedy queen is back on her throne and back entertaining!

Along with a team of masterful doctors, ‘Ding Dong’ credits her miracle recovery to one other angel in particular – her best friend, veteran entertainment reporter Craig Bennett.

WATCH NOW: Studio 10 announces Denise Drysdale is in hospital. Article continues after video. 

“He moved up from Sydney in 2021 and we have not stopped laughing,” Denise, 74, tells New Idea from her Gold Coast home. 

“We howl ourselves hoarse whenever we’re together, which could be dangerous for a woman of my years.”

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Craig says the feeling is mutual, as Denise has him in a “perpetual state of stitches”.

These madcap mates are going on tour! (Credit: Supplied)

It was a massive task for Denise to recover from her 13-month ordeal with TN, as the condition is known to leave sufferers in immense agony.

“After almost giving up on life because the pain was so unbearably excruciating, I underwent brain surgery in June 2022,” says Denise. 

“When the anaesthesia wore off, I couldn’t believe I was once again pain-free and had my old life back.

“Along with my family, Craig was a lifesaver during those dark times. He kept my spirits up.”

“I wouldn’t be here without Craig!” (Credit: Supplied)

Denise and Craig first met in 1994 at an opening night party for Hello, Dolly! 

“Denise was starring in the show and somehow I wound up back in her Melbourne hotel suite for an afterparty-afterparty,” recalls Craig, who shares it “set the scene for our decades of friendship”.

Since then, they’ve pretty much seen and done it all. 

“We’ve gone parasailing, zip-lining, indoor skydiving, rock climbing, horse riding, go-kart racing, learned how to surf, and even practiced for my funeral,” Denise says with a chuckle. 

“Or at least Craig does the adrenalin junkie stuff – I just sit back, have a champagne, and laugh at his shenanigans!”

“Together we howl ourselves hoarse,” says Denise. (Credit: Supplied)

Craig was also the one who got Denise her regular gig on Studio 10 back in 2014. 

Now the ever-watchable duo is firing up the fun, and sharing the gossip, in their new club show Alive & Kicking.

“We’ve been having the best time. The audiences are loving our crazy schtick,” says Denise. 

“Not only is Craig one of the funniest people I know, but he always has the best gossip. I like his style because he’s not nasty.”

Looking to take the show nationwide, Craig adds: “It’s all about people forgetting their troubles and having a great time. Denise sings I try to, it’s wall-to-wall laughs, plus plenty of hot, juicy goss. A winning combo, it seems.”

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