Almost Off Topic

Stand up and tell a story

Stand-up is the main route into comedy these days. Try naming a comedian who’s been well known in the past 10 years who didn’t start their career in stand-up. Kate McLennan and Kate McCartney? The Chaser team? Chris Lilley? Sammy J? Adam Zwar? Troy Kinne? It’s a short list*. And one that means that the dominant... Read More »

So, so Hard

If the return of Hard Quiz tells us anything it’s that the ABC doesn’t learn from it mistakes, it just doubles down on them. How else to explain a show which in its third season still suffers from the same basic problems that we pointed out ages ago: It’s a quiz show about specialist knowledge hosted by... Read More »

Once were comedy Warriors

If there’s one thing we admire about the new ABC series The Warriors it’s the makers’ honesty. While various shows market themselves as comedies or comedy-dramas, when they’ve barely two gags in them to rub together, once it started shooting and realised it wasn’t funny, The Warriors quickly re-branded itself as a drama. ABC Media... Read More »

When Doves Cry

So yesterday on Twitter this happened: Love 2 signal boost enormous racists forspicy memes — Ben Jenkins (@bencjenkins) March 24, 2017 Which got this reply: @bencjenkins might be hard ben, but listen to the podcast first — Mark Di Stefano (@MarkDiStef) March 24, 2017 Cue this snappy comeback: @MarkDiStef — Ben Jenkins (@bencjenkins)... Read More »

Turning Off the Tap

It’s been a sad weekend for fans of cartooning, as the Antipodes’ greatest exponent of the art recently passed away to a vast outpouring of grief and dismay. We speak, of course, of the death of Murray Ball, creator of Footrot Flats, one of the warmest and funniest newspaper comics of the last thirty years.... Read More »

Australian Tumbleweeds on Howard on Menzies

It’s easy to be cynical about the term “event television”, largely because the event in question is usually a rose ceremony or some sport, but it’s hard to deny that Howard on Menzies has been an event. Love them or loathe them, Robert Menzies and his gushing admirer John Howard strode large across the Australian... Read More »

Put On A Happy Face

And the press releases keep on coming: Man Up premieres Tuesday 11 October at 8:30pm (3×60’) Gus Worland is on a mission to break the silence. In Australia, men are traditionally seen as strong, stoic and tough as nails. They laugh in the face of fear. They excel at everything. And when life gets them... Read More »

Brush with Comedy

What is it with comedians getting all cathartic and emotional in their old age on shows like Anh Do’s Brush with Fame? Arguably, the rot started a decade ago with Enough Rope, where Andrew Denton asked famous people uber researched questions designed to make them cry. Most of them did (although props to Judith Lucy who famously... Read More »

Survival of the Funniest

One of the things that’s probably too obvious to be worth mentioning but it’s a pretty dry period for comedy at the moment so here goes is that the days of single-theme comedy shows are all but over. Remember that nightmarish period where it seemed everyone was trying to do “Spicks & Specks, but with... Read More »

Mind-goggling: We try to work out why Gogglebox Australia is popular

Reality TV shows are taking jobs from actors, writers, designers, etc. – it’s a view you hear expressed fairly regularly by people who work as actors, writers, designers, etc. And while it’s hard to argue against this, and we have a great deal of sympathy for those trying to get scripted shows to air in... Read More »

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