We were going to talk a little about the surprise revelation that Fairafx’s chief TV writer thinks Australia is crap at comedy –
What shows like Black Comedy and Mad as Hell do, however, is demonstrate that despite the persistent belief that Australia cannot “do” comedy, our funny bone is actually in pretty good shape, and that a tradition which was born in vaudeville and given voice in Australia though true masterpieces such as The Mavis Bramston Show and The Naked Vicar Show is alive, well and in good hands.
– because seriously, we all know that when a writer says “persistent belief” they usually mean “my persistent belief”. Does anyone really think Australia cannot “do” (presumably as opposed to “make”) comedy? Sure, we’re often shit at it, but does anyone not named Michael Idato think we haven’t made anything decent – let alone a “true masterpiece” – since a bunch of shows thirty five years ago? Heads up, every single person currently making comedy in Australia: lift your game. And maybe hire Noeline Brown.
But then we realised hey, what better way to counter this dumb point-of-view than with an example of a funny Australian show made since 1979? Unfortunately, all we could find was Hey Hey It’s Saturday, which now has its own website here: https://www.heyhey.tv/
Welcome to our big, bright and beautiful new website, the home of all things Hey Hey It’s Saturday! This is where you’ll find fun-filled clips from the show, all our latest and greatest news, and full episodes of Hey Hey. Take some time to make yourself at home – check out clips of some of our most popular interviews, comedians and sketches along with our favourite games and segments.
We’ll be adding new content every single week to keep you entertained. It’s all here, and it’s all free to watch.
News? Apart from a list of obituaries as cast members drop off and perhaps the occasional “still not coming back, you guys”, we can’t imagine there being a whole lot to report as far as new Hey Hey news goes. But the arrival of this website is news, because thanks to Somers Carroll holding onto the copyright of Hey Hey for all these years they’re now able to put up clips and segments – and, if you’re willing to pay a subscription fee, entire episodes – of the classic comedy series. From what we’ve heard, the visual quality’s great. As for the quality of the show itself… that’s a lot more subjective.
For the moment all the available full episodes seem to be from the late 90s (or worse, the 2009-2010 revival), AKA the “Death Ray Daryl” era, when actually making a funny show came a distant second to making sure everything went according to the increasingly autocratic Daryl’s iron-fisted rule. But there’s enough promises about “the entire 28-year run” for us to be hopeful that eventually they’ll get around to the episodes from the 80s – you know, when the show was really funny.
But because it wouldn’t be us talking about Hey Hey It’s Saturday without a grim note of pessimism, we should also note here that by leading off with the later, shithouse episodes, Somers Carroll have actually made it less likely that we’ll ever get to the good stuff. The subscription fee – “Premium Memberships cost just $6.95 per month, or $59.95 for a whole year” – is good value when good episodes are available. But if they work steadily backwards from the show’s end, even if they release four episodes a week we’re looking at maybe two years to get back to the 80s.
Even for hardcore fans – and going by the ratings for the 2010 revival, there aren’t that many hardcore Hey Hey fans left – that’s a long wait for the good stuff.