… but we for one have better things to do than watch The Roast.
We’ve griped enough already about how the ABC has certain kinds of shows they really, really want to have on the air all the time, and guess what? Looks like “News Satire” is one of them. Not content with having pretty much the best one Australian television in 2013 could possibly generate – that’d be Mad as Hell – they’ve decided* to give Charles Firth’s brainchild** The Roast not only another series, but they’ve expanded the episode length to ten minutes.
Hosted by Tom Glasson, The Roast also features Mark Humphries, Clarke Richards, Rachel Corbett and Nich Richardson. These names won’t mean anything to you, but give it time. As the show’s director and head writer, Richardson is responsible for assembling this collection of young writer/performers who have never worked in television before. He assures the ABC it’s all going to turn out fine.
With 150 episodes being produced over the next eight months – over 25 hours of original comedy – The Roast promises to kill more reporters on-screen than any other news show. Even Lateline. Don’t expect interviews out in the field or packaged up vox pops here. Everything is written on the day and recorded in-studio hours before airing. Again, the ABC has been promised this is going to work.
Aside from being an ambitious television venture, The Roast is also a creative development pool for a new generation of Australian comics who are sick of being unemployed in a country famous for its sense of humour.
We’ve discussed The Roast elsewhere, and our opinion hasn’t changed since then. If they can’t make two minutes of comedy work after well over 50 episodes – and we’re not even sure how many episodes of the extremely similar WTF! the team made for GO! beforehand – moving up to ten minutes may not exactly be a cause for celebration.
The real question here is, where do you draw the line and say a show simply isn’t going to get any better? At the moment even on ABC2 The Roast is hardly must-see comedy, and it’s been going long enough to suggest any limitations are those of the creative team rather than the format. But giving comedy more air-time is never a bad thing in our book and who knows? If they keep their obvious “satire” and student revue gags to the first two minutes and use the extra time to branch out, maybe this could work.
Yeah, right. Considering they’ve already been booked in for a 150 episode run (which suggests their employers are perfectly happy with the half-arsed job they’ve been doing), we’re guessing it’ll just be more of the same tortured not-quite-gags and smarmy host smirks, over and over and over and over again. Fingers crossed the pressure drives them insane: it’ll probably be the only way they’ll try something new.
*Actually, it seems The Comedy Channel decided and ABC2 just said “yeah, count us in”.
**as in Firth clutched his head and went “Fake News! Duh!”