You can always spot a comedian who’s been actively looking for material when they pull a newspaper clipping out of their pocket and start talking about. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Some great routines have been inspired by weird news stories or nutbag letters to the editor, and if the podcast I Love Green Guide Letters is any indication the latter is in abundant supply.
I Love Green Guide Letters started late last year with the simple format of host Steele Saunders and two other comedians talking about the letters in that week’s edition of The Green Guide (the media supplement published in The Age every Thursday). In each episode Saunders reads out the letters (often in a sarcastic voice) and the trio tries to get as much comic mileage from them as possible.
The letters which inspire the most gags tend to be those making pedantic points about the pronunciation of words or the misuse of language on television. In some instances one letter about a minor issue of this nature initiates a chain of furious correspondence from Green Guide readers which plays out over a number of weeks. For the casual reader of The Age this is amusing enough, but in the hands of the I Love Green Guide Letters team it can be a full-scale riot. And as the podcast has developed, notable Age Green Guide letters, letter writers and columnists have become the stuff of minor legend and major laughs.
I Love Green Guide Letters doesn’t always hit the mark, sometimes the trio don’t seem to know what to say about a letter and just end up calling the correspondent a dick. And while that can be funny (and is often fairly accurate), when the show’s really on fire there’s a funnier, more creative comedic point being made.
Other times the comedians abandon talking about Green Guide letters entirely and just riff on other topics – that’s pretty fun too – particularly if the riffers in questions are people like Justin Hamilton, John Safran or Tony Martin. But ultimately with I Love Green Guide Letters it’s not about guests, it’s about anyone with a funny bone putting a spin on some sometimes pretty bizarre letters.