Diverse sketch comedy is the new black

Just when we thought diverse sketch comedy had died in this country following the axing of Tonightly, Seven has announced a new show starring Nazeem Hussain…

Cast revealed for Seven sketch comedy Orange is the New Brown

Orange is the New Brown

Great to see Seven getting back into the sketch comedy business with upcoming series Orange is the New Brown.

Nazeem Hussain (Salam Cafe, Legally Brown, I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here) fronts the 6 part series from Screentime.

Also featuring are Urzila Carlson (Have You Been Paying Attention?), Becky Lucas (Disgrace), Matt Okine (The Other Guy) and Broden Kelly, one third of comedy group Aunty Donna.

Making appearances are Kat Stewart, Claudia Karvan, Tim Minchin, Gary Sweet, Firass Dirani and Sigrid Thornton.

The series written by Hussain, Joel Slack Smith, Sophie Braham, Richard Thorp, Penny Greenhalgh, & Heidi Regan tackles everything from a Real Housewives-type melodrama set in a prison to racial stereotypes when playing charades.

“This was a really fun show to make” said Hussain. “I got to see things I thought I’d never see. Kat Stewart dating a 95-year-old man, Tim Minchin arguing with Kamahl and Sigrid Thornton getting frisky with a skeleton.

“But to be honest I’m just using this show as a stepping stone to Home and Away. Any role will do. I’d even settle for the Uber Eats driver at the diner.”

Seven is yet to announce an airdate.

Possibly the key phrase here is “Seven is yet to announce an airdate”, which begs the question: why announce the show? Could it be an attempt to subtly point out that unlike Ten and their Pilot Week, Seven is prepared to make and air comedy starring a non-white comedian and featuring a number of women in key creative roles?

Either way, and while it’s always good to see the commercial networks making any sort of comedy, this sounds like it’ll be…broad, where the laughs come from “I know the TV show they’re parodying” or “Look, it’s that famous person in a weird situation”. We also suspect this will be a lot like Ten’s Pilot Week show Skit Happens, a show which featured the un-holy trinity of sketch comedy shows:

  1. An ensemble cast who’ve never worked together and therefore had no rapport
  2. Sketches about things the target audience are likely to be familiar with rather than sketches which are funny in and of themselves
  3. Recurring characters who recur far too often

That Real Housewives parody they mentioned? It’ll be a running sketch popping up three or four times an episode, every damn episode, whether it’s funny or not.

Call us cynical, but we’re not holding our breaths that this will be any good.

In other sketch comedy news, the third series of Black Comedy starts on 19th September. And while it’s not the greatest sketch show ever, it at least has had the sense to retire characters it’s done to death – and it’s not afraid to go in hard when it comes to political matters. Also, after several series, its core creative team know how to work together, which means this’ll probably be the show’s best series yet.

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