History Does A Double Take

Heads up, Wednesday Night Fever fans! Does this look at all familiar to you?

That’s right, it’s Wednesday Night Fever‘s trademark hilarious Margaret & David parody! Only it’s on Comedy Inc: The Late Shift around eight years ago.

For those of you that don’t remember, Comedy Inc: The Late Shift was complete crap. But it was crap with one important advantage: it was screening on Channel Nine at a time when a): local scripted comedy counted as local drama as far as meeting broadcast licensing requirements went, and b): Channel Nine had a serious shortage of local drama. Would you like to know more? We waffle on about it here.

Short version is, it ran for years despite no-one actually watching it. Which in a far better world than this one would have given the creative types running it full reign to go nuts and try to make something really good. Just think about it: they were given hours of air time to play with by a network that didn’t really care what they got up to. Instead they churned out pretty much the exact same generic sketch shit that had failed to impress with Totally Full Frontal and SkitHouse, and would go on to fail to impress in Let Loose Live, Big Bite, The Hamish & Andy Show, Double Take and now Wednesday Night Fever.

According to wikipedia, Double Take also featured the return of Margaret & David – which would mean that producer on both shows Rick Kalowski had used the exact same joke in two firmly mediocre comedy series before bringing it back for Wednesday Night Fever – only they don’t seem to be in the ten episodes collected on the DVD release. Maybe they’re on the 11th episode that IMDB claims exists? We can’t be bothered going back through our off-air recordings to check.

And to be fair, that Comedy Inc clip is misleading: for starters, it’s kind of funny. From what we dimly recall (and if anyone has any complete episodes of Comedy Inc, please get in touch) the Margaret & David sketches on Comedy Inc: The Late Shift usually ran a lot longer than this clip and provided viewers with a lot less to laugh about. But that’s a problem with pretty much every show associated with Comedy Inc / Double Take / Wednesday Night Fever / future ABC Head of Comedy Rick Kalowski: not only are the sketches often lame, they go on forever.

For example, the Margaret & David sketch above goes 30 seconds: this one from Wednesday Night Fever runs six times as long:

At this rate they’ll be getting their own spin-off by 2018. Maybe they’ll even get a new joke to go with it.

All this would be bad enough if we were just pointing out that they’re re-re-using impressions that’re close to a decade old, and they’re impressions of people who’ve never been more than niche figures in the media: after all, it’s not like they’re dusting off impressions of important political or social figures who’ve stuck around for decades. These impressions have never made any kind of impression on the general public either. John Elliott and “Pig’s Arse” this is not.

http://youtu.be/vsshTU05rZM

But the icing on the cake is this:

Didn’t we just get two full series and a Christmas special of the exact same “reviewers reviewing non-art things” jokes in the form of Review with Myles Barlow? Sure, the last new episode of it aired Xmas 2010, but we are still talking about a recent and (relatively) long-running series based on one joke… the same joke that Wednesday Night Fever is now doing all over again using a pair of impressions that first aired on another series eight years ago.

We’re not usually ones to give out advice on how to improve shows, but here’s a tip: last we heard Steve Vizard and Peter Moon weren’t up to much. If Wednesday Night Fever wants to revive a comedy double act that people actually laughed at, and they’re obviously not worried about the whole blackface thing (can’t wait for that upcoming Royal Birth sketch, complete with Prince Phillip doing “Mammy”) why not bring back these guys?

Or just get them to run the ABC Comedy department. We’re cool with either one.

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