With the looming arrival of Seven’s new old-style sketch show Double Take, there’s bound to be a resurgance of the view that, while Double Take itself might be rubbish, at least it’s providing a valuable training ground for the comedians of the future. Shaun Micallef and Eric Bana came from Full Frontal, after all, and Big Bite gave Chris Lilley’s career a big push forward.
Seems almost reasonable when it’s put that way. But in all the excitement over the new age of comedy that’ll no doubt be dawning over the next few weeks (and no, we haven’t forgotten Ed Kavalee’s upcoming TV Burp either), here’s a bucket of cold water: Comedy Inc (The Late Shift) ran for five full seasons. That’s 95 one hour doses of sketch comedy that showed no noticable improvement at all at any stage. There were no classic sketches, no break-out stars, and no mesaurable benefit gained from its existance by anyone except those cashing a paycheck from the production company. In fact, the closest thing to a success that it generated over those five seasons was Paul McCarthy’s notoriously weak Kochie impression… which is back as part of Double Take.
Of course, Double Take just might be brilliant – we haven’t seen it yet. But if it turns out to be the dull, tired collection of weak celebrity impressions and aimless sketches that the promos promise… well, in Australian comedy behind every cloud is another cloud that’s exactly the friggin’ same.