The Big Debate

In Sydney? Free next Wednesday night? Why not pop down to the Belvoir Theatre and check this out:

Want to be part of the audience for a free comedy show? triple j’s Debate Night is a new radio program, hosted by Tom Ballard. Featuring a bunch of comedians arguing about a range of topics, ranging from: Is Kanye West a douchebag? to That Generation Y is the best generation to Do Music Festivals Suck? and plenty more!

Host: Tom Ballard

Debaters: Scott Dooley, Zoe Coombs Marr, Rhys Nicholson, Chris Taylor, Zoe Norton-Lodge, Michael Workman, Michael Hing

When: Wednesday June 12th – doors open 6pm

Where: Belvoir Theatre, 25 Belvoir St Surry Hills

The first 20 people to email us their name and address will score a double pass to this awesome new comedy show. Hurry!

tickets@token.com.au

The show will be pre-recorded to be aired on triple j on Sunday Nights

Okay, so you’ve probably missed out on one of the 20 free tickets (maybe you can sneak in ‘round the back instead?)… Personally, we’ll be waiting for the broadcast, because a scripted comedy show on radio is a real rarity these days and Triple J haven’t bothered to make one since 2010’s The Blow Parade.

Not that this scripted, arguments-based comedy show will necessarily be that funny. Ever listened to ABC Sydney’s Thank God It’s Friday (we mention it in passing here)? That follows roughly the same format as a comedy debate show – comedians gets asked to talk on a topic, they go away and write a couple of minutes of material, then read it out on air to ensuing hilarity – and it’s mostly shithouse.

One of the problems you get with shows like this is that unless each comedian’s several minutes of material is utter genius the show can sink into the ground. Generally speaking, there’s not a lot of scope for hilarious interactions in a debate. A planned interjection can seem lame, and a spontaneous one can really stuff it up for the person who’s meant to be speaking. Part of the problem is that the participants tend not to have worked together much – sometimes they’ve never met – and because they don’t have much chemistry there’s not much hope of them bouncing off each other in amusing ways. Then there’s the problem Mike Moore faced in that episode of Frontline, where he appear on World Series Debating and the host did all his jokes before he could.

Some of the debaters scheduled to appear on this show we like, and they all have experience either on shows like this (Thank God It’s Friday, The Unbelievable Truth) or as stand-ups. This show could be an amusing Sunday night muck-around that turns out to be surprisingly good, or simply a cheap airtime-filler that doesn’t even particularly harm the small numbers of people who happen to tune in for it. Good luck to those involved, obviously, but it’s a shame someone can’t think of a more innovative way to make a scripted radio comedy than to re-hash the comedy debates concept. And making those comedy debates about “youth” topics like Kanye West doesn’t necessarily make them a good idea in 2013, or for Triple J.

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5 Comments

  • BIlly C says:

    It’s good to see some radio comedy come out. Yes it is one of the oldest formats in the world but it allows people to prepare separately with only a little co-ordination between the members of the team. You can almost guarantee that Triple J has very little money to pay the participants so a live format in the long run at least allows hopefully the ticket money to partially go to the comics involved.
    I wonder what happened to Ballard’s Shock of the Now for channel 10. Haven’t heard any news on that for a while.

  • James says:

    Pretty sure there has been scripted comedy on triple j since 2010. Tom Nd Alex had some terrible (I like their show, but this was just awful) scripted comedy called “snow cops”. It wasn’t good, but it was there.

  • Urinal Cake says:

    Sounds boring.

  • UnSubject says:

    Tom and Alex have done some short scripted series as part of their show – “Snow Cops” is only the most recent.

    http://www.abc.net.au/triplej/tomandalex/snowcops/

    From memory they’ve done at least one other one previously since starting in 2010, but it’s immediately forgettable stuff.

  • […] Sunday night we tuned in to Triple J for the first episode of Tom Ballard’s Debate Night, which is temporarily replacing Sunday Night Safran for the next six weeks (if you missed it you […]