Greeks bearing gifts

You may or may not recognise Tony Moclair. He’s one of those comedians who gets regular work, but hasn’t quite broken through to become either a beloved cult figure (Tony Martin) or a mainstream act with a big fanbase (Wil Anderson). If he does become either it will definitely be the former, because Moclair consistently does interesting, character-based work. Yes, he and comedy partner Jules Schiller made the mainstream panel show The White Room, but it wasn’t the natural fit for them that clever, scripted shows like Restoring the Balance were – and it’s no wonder it died on its arse.

More reflective of Moclair’s talents, and with much lower stakes, is the new podcast This Is Not The News, a parody of a BBC World Service-style international news round-up. Cecilia Ramsdale (who you may remember as one of several people who answered the phones during Get This) joins Moclair in the show, in which they play British journalists Tiffany Woodcock Jones and Martin Middlebrook. The result is a series of fake news reports and headline stories which cover a mix of topical and social issues from around the world. Unfortunately many of these are a bit student radio, over-written, not very funny and drawing on lazy stereotypes.

Ironically, the best sketches feature Guido Hatzis, Moclair’s well-established Greek Australian hoon character – hardly a subtle or un-stereotypical creation. In his new guise as Greek Finance Minister, Hatzis appears in several news reports speaking in the Greek parliament about his plans to solve his country’s economic crisis. Typically, Hatzis’ ideas of what is best for Greece are as self-serving and yobbish as a guy in a hotted-up Commodore doing burn-outs in a McDonalds car park. Hilarity ensues.

This Is Not The News has only been going for two episodes, so it’s probably a bit early to judge it properly and no doubt it will improve after Moclair and Ramsdale have made a few more episodes. Perhaps what is needed is more of Moclair’s well-established characters – young Liberal Stiring Addison, perhaps – or simply for the sketches to get a bit more spit and polish before they appear in the show. Oh, and if there was an RSS feed on the Podbean site so we could subscribe to the show that’d be great.

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