Australian Tumbleweeds

Australia's most opinionated blog about comedy.

Get Krack!n Back on Set

This week’s Get Krack!n saw the dynamic duo back in the studio and tackling a whole new world of pain: a live audience. How will they cope under the harsh judgement of a bunch of bored folk with nothing better to do with their lives than watch breakfast television be made? Not well. Not well at all.

Get Krack!n is a hard show to pin down in part because it’s rarely the same show each week. Sometimes the comedy is aimed outwards – like last week’s episode taking a hefty swipe at crap rural tourism – and the Kates’ job there is largely to work as mouthpieces pointing out the flaws and foibles of their chosen target.

Other times, like this week, the laughs come more at their expense. They’re usually the stronger episodes, in part because a lot of the humour that they get from attacking stuff is fairly basic. What’s that you say? Australia is sexist and racist and ignorant as hell, happily sleepwalking towards an environmental nightmare while the rich steal everything that isn’t nailed down? Damn straight – but sometimes these particular jokes don’t really go much beyond pointing that out.

If you follow any of Australia’s “up and coming” comedy writers on Twitter, you know the kind of material we mean (and as a lot of them have contributed to Get Krack!n, this is no surprise). But where this kind of joke works to some extent with Twitter’s limited word count, when it comes to being an actual joke on a television show simply pointing out “this country’s fucked” or words to that effect is just stating the obvious without nuance or humour beyond “ha ha, look what we just said”.

(obviously there’s value to be found in countering the narratives of Australia’s increasingly insipid mainstream media. We’d just like people to make jokes if they’re going to do it in a comedy show)

When the focus is on character comedy though, the results are often a lot funnier. And so it proved this week, as the Kates slowly crumbled under the onslaught of an audience not willing to play their shitty games and a bunch of shitty games that the Kates couldn’t play.

Yes, there was a fair chunk of material here that seems pretty much identical to what we’ve just been complaining about – having the Kates flat-out berating their audience does seem kinda close to their show flat-out berating White Australia / capitalism / men / etc. The big difference is that here the berating isn’t just flatly presented as a blunt statement – it’s coming from a comedy character in a situation where they’re crumbling under the stress of an awful job and are lashing out blindly in frustration. The joke isn’t so much what they’re saying, it’s that they’ve been pushed to a place where they feel they have to say those things.

(and look, clearly that’s meant to be the joke with the show in general – Australia is currently so shithouse that an anguished howl of despair on national television is a sane response to whatever insane shit is happening this week. But Get Krack!n never establishes where these comments are coming from, so there’s no real joke beyond the blunt nature of what’s being said. We need an idea of who’s saying it and why – too often Get Krack!n just throws lines or scenes out there to make a point)

Get Krack!n occasionally cops flak for being a bit abrasive, but that’s not the real issue. Being abrasive can be funny, and there’s definitely a lot going on that deserves the abrasive treatment. It’s when the show forgets to give us a sense of where this abrasiveness is coming from that it can feel a little harsh. It might seem obvious, but Get Krack!n‘s biggest strength is the two Kates, and when it’s them front and center of the story that’s when the show is at its best.

Well, not best best, because ripping off that granny after she totally won on the wheel was not on.

Time for Mark Humphries on 7:30

Looks like Mark Humphries is going to have more time to devote to his fortnightly satirical segment on 7:30

Leigh Sales puts make-up on Mark Humphries on the set of 7:30

From Mumbrella:

CBS’ Network Ten has reportedly cancelled its daily gameshow Pointless…

Media commentator Peter Ford told a Hobart radio station that people involved with the show were told the program is finishing.

According to TV Black Box Ford said: “Yesterday people involved with the show were told that it’s finishing.”

Guess the sort of people who like shows like Pointless aren’t watching Ten. Or vice versa. Who knew?

[Or, in a shock twist since we published this blog, maybe Pointless isn’t being axed. Here’s Humphries’ tweet saying it’s still being made.]

Anyway, like we said, this is a great opportunity for Humphries’ 7:30 segments, co-written with Evan Williams, to get the kind of traction that their previous work on SBS’s The Feed managed to. Those Feed sketches used to be all over social media, almost difficult to avoid on social media. As did sketches from one-time 7:30 slot-holder, Clarke & Dawe. Clarke & Dawe even had their own YouTube channel, run by Clarke himself, where their weekly sketch notched up thousands of views.

Humphries and Williams’ 7:30 sketches, meanwhile, are harder to be aware of – and the fortnightly releases don’t really help. Neither does what actually gets released. Here’s their latest:

Did you spot all three ideas in that? They’re decent enough satirical points (we particularly liked the idea of a sitting Liberal MP literally being a negatively-geared lump of coal) but imagine a stand-up doing that same material. About how the Liberals might field an urn containing the ashes of Robert Menzies as their candidate, or how never having been a member of the Liberal party is a vote winner. It would take a stand-up maybe a minute or less to succinctly make those points – and pause for audience laughter. Humphries, meanwhile, spun those ideas for more than two minutes, spending a bunch of ABC time and money on Photoshopping a lump of coal into a seat in the House of Representatives in the process. Was it worth it?

Sammy J has a similar problem in his sketches, such as his latest where he does basically the same joke over and over again for more than three minutes.

Sure, Clarke & Dawe used to riff on a theme, but at least they teased it apart in ways you might not expect, and regularly landed some good satirical punches. With Humphries and Williams and Sammy J, though, it’s pretty surface level stuff. Sometimes, they barely progress beyond the level of noting that Peter Dutton looks a bit like a potato.

Get Krack!n all at sea (well, on a river)

Get Krack!n, a series of variable quality at the best of times, started its second series with an episode that could best be described as…well…variable. The show opened with Kate and Kate presenting the last of a series of “’round Australia” episodes live from a paddle steamer on the Murray River at Echuca Moama. And according to them, things hadn’t been going well.

Get Krack!n

It was hot. Really hot. They were sick to death of new towns, bored with meeting zany local characters and couldn’t hack another plate of regional produce. Basically, they were on edge. Cue some zany local characters, a plate of soft cheese and a glass of local plonk. Oh, and some comedy vomiting. Quite a bit of that.

So, business as usual for Kate and Kate, really. They have to do things they hate, they’re annoyed, and their guests are truly awful people.

Speaking of which, Helen Bidou (Anne Edmonds) was back too. This time with her boyfriend (parole officer), who was helping her with her segment (trying to prevent her from canoeing across the river to New South Wales to find her ex-boyfriend who’s taken out a restraining order on her). It’s a type of comedy that can go either way, and opinion as to whether it was funny or just plain awful has divided opinion here at Tumbleweeds Towers. But then, this is a divisive show.

Get Krack!n regularly treads of the line of asking the audience to believe that this is a real program whilst getting its characters to do things that would have them sacked within seconds if this was actual morning television. It’s also the comedy of women on the verge of a nervous breakdown. We get why it doesn’t appeal to some.

Another problem with this specific episode was that quite a lot of the comedy came from the Kates making a sarcastic comment about a woke issue, rather than from the interactions between the characters. Sometimes this kind of thing works well but mostly it felt like the audience were being hit with a comedy woke bludgeon (even if you agree with them on the woke issue).

More successful were the zany local characters, who this week included Denise Scott as a woman who’d memorised all the bridges along the Murray, and a cameo appearance from Justine Clarke who had some vague link to some historic costumes which were on display in a local heritage centre. This was classic Get Krack!n stuff.

Next week, when Get Krack!n goes back to the studio, it will be interesting to see what happens. McLennon and McCartney are generally better when they’re bouncing off each other (something more likely to happen in a “normal” episode of this show), so it should be a good one.

Super Summer Comedy Round-up

Hey, we’re back for 2019! And given that comedy never sleeps these days, here’s our round-up of all the comedy you may have missed or deliberately avoided so far this year.

A Rational Fear

Dan Ilic’s A Rational Fear has been an off-again/on-again satirical radio show and/or podcast for the past seven years, being revived, shelved or re-worked as Ilic’s comedy career has ebbed and flowed. Most recently, it was revived for five weeks on ABC radio before and after Christmas, with ABC stars and fellow ex-Tonightly colleagues joining the panel. Jazz Tremolow, Chris Taylor, Veronica Milsom and Lewis Hobba were amongst those involved. If you’ve been missing Tonightly‘s woke, left-leaning comedy, it was a decent substitute – and Ilic’s Alan Jones impression is fun too. Problem is, A Rational Fear is only ever going to appear on actual radio in a late-night timeslot in the middle of Summer because radio comedy of this type isn’t something any broadcaster, even the ABC, is ever going to revive. Any show that isn’t one person talking, maybe to callers, before cutting to some Adult Contemporary, costs too much. And also, if topical satire’s your bag, you probably got it from scrolling through a comedian’s Twitter accounts earlier that day.

Hughsey, We Have A Problem

Is it just us, or is Dave Hughes turning into a shabbier Mick Jagger only without any of the stage presence? It’s the hair mostly – the instant Hughes opens his mouth to begin speaking in his trademark “shouting robot” cadence any resemblance between Hughsey and someone entertaining vanishes, but it was fun while it lasted. Which sadly can’t really be said for this show, which definitely has its moments each week as the panel yells at each other about various “totally real” problems suffered by average losers, but generally overstays its welcome by around 15 minutes an episode. Unless Kate Langbroek is on (like she was last week), in which case just axe the whole thing after the first ad break.

Mark Humphries on 7:30

Mark Humphries was back on 7:30 earlier than we might have expected and so far it’s been business as usual – one mildly funny observation stretched out for two or three minutes. And if you thought you recognised the phrase “one mildly funny observation stretched out for two or three minutes”, that’s because we used it in the 2018 Australian Tumbleweeds Awards to describe Mark Humphries’ 7:30 sketches. We would have written something different, but given he never does, why bother?

Rosehaven season 3

Everyone’s favourite quirky duo living in a quirky small town in Australia’s quirkiest state are back! How much you love this low key, “unhurried” (actual quote from a Fairfax review) series depends in large part on how much time you’ve spent in an actual small town, as this fantasy version is total bullshit. Which wouldn’t matter in the slightest if it was funny, but as this is aiming to be Seachange without the sexual tension, all we’re left with is a handful of “jokes” about adopting a pig and some halfway decent banter that suggests that stars Luke McGregor and Ceclia Pacquola would actually be pretty good in a completely different series. Which would be Utopia, back sometime in the next year or so.

The Family Law season 3

This one’s already been and gone, and being burnt off during non-ratings as three lots of double episodes suggests that SBS might not have been quite as confident in this as they were back when they said “sure, do another season”. Considering just how many overseas shows there are out there about awkward teens and teens figuring out their sexuality and so on, you’d have thought this might have finally tapped into the zeitgeist. But for some reason that would require more thought to identify than we’re willing to give it, The Family Law never quite clicked. Partly the problem was that Law’s comedy mum kept grabbing the spotlight: more than just about any other genre, teen shows have to be about teens if they’re going to work. Parents are great as minor supporting characters, but unless you’re making a family sitcom (which is a very different vibe) that’s it. The whole point (and fun) of teen shows is that teens live lives where parents hardly get a look-in: The Family Law was like going over to a friend’s place to hang out, only to have their mum constantly sticking her head around the door asking if you wanted a biscuit.

The winners and losers of the Australian Tumbleweed Awards 2018

Maybe things will get better next year. After all, there are two things Australian television comedy desperately needs if it’s to survive – money and talent – and there’s a fair to reasonable chance the upcoming change of government will see the money tap turned back on at the ABC. Then again, pretty much every division at the ABC has a better case for a budget boost than the department that greenlit Sando and Squinters, so lets not get carried away just yet.

But what else can we do but be optimistic after what most definitely felt like the worst year for comedy in living memory? It’s no coincidence that the biggest international smash hit Australian comedy has had in years – that’d be Nanette – basically had the message “comedy is kind of shit”: the obvious exceptions aside, Australian comedy has been running on fumes for years now and it seems that’s just the way a lot of people like it.

Would a country with a decent tradition of comedy game shows tolerate Hard Quiz? Would a nation that expected halfway decent political satire to be a regular fixture on the national broadcaster put up with The Weekly? Yes, these are shows we kick a lot; these are also shows that will be on the ABC every single week of the ratings period in 2019 just like they were in 2018. Poor programming is not an isolated case: it’s rapidly become the norm on the ABC, and saying “but what about Mad as Hell” isn’t going to change that.

To be fair, it’s almost tempting to cut the ABC some slack regarding their new policy of bringing back literally every sitcom that ran out of gas years ago for one last spin considering how shithouse – and you’ll be seeing that word a lot in these awards, just so you know – their new efforts were in 2018. Almost. But what does it say about the national broadcaster that they’ve been bringing back everything from Rosehaven (which, let’s face facts here, will never die so long as Tourism Tasmania has a dollar left in their coffers) to Very Small Business to Upper Middle Bogan to Utopia

-and let’s just think about Utopia (back later this year) for a moment: this is a sitcom based around the idea that Australian governments constantly announce big projects and then file them in the “too hard” basket because of reasons, very fast rail ha ha ha. Which was fine back in the dying days of the Howard Administration, AKA roughly the last time Working Dog were politically engaged. But anyone who’s been anywhere near an election in the last couple of years has noticed that these days actually delivering on your policies is what gets governments elected. So why is the ABC bringing back a political satire based around an idea of politics that died with the mining boom?

We have no idea what’s going on at the ABC, and quite frankly, we don’t want to know. But from the outside it looks like somebody somewhere has decided new ideas are to be avoided at all costs (unless those costs are being carried by outside investors) and so everything old is new again. Unless Jungle can write their production costs off as a training exercise, because filming half of Squinters in LA was totally creatively necessary, obviously.

Astonishingly, in 2018 it was increasingly up to the commercial networks to step up as far as comedy was concerned. Have You Been Paying Attention? remains a highlight, and while nobody was dancing in the street over the commercial network’s sketch and sitcom output – though let us stress for anyone who’s been in a coma for the last decade or so, holy shit, Australian commercial networks are making sitcoms and sketch comedy again – shows like Orange is the New Brown and All Aussie Adventures and True Story were perfectly competent. How to Stay Married and Street Smart, not so much.

Oh wait, none of those decent shows are coming back in 2019. Then again, neither are those crap ones: 2018 was probably some kind of high water mark when it comes to Australian commercial comedy. But hey, at least we still have the ABC.

Oh shit.

Worst Sketch or Short Form Comedy


All Aussie Adventures

17.07% of the votes

It’s a testament to a whole lot of things that have very little to do with comedy in 2018 that we even got a third series of All Aussie Adventures – a show that seemed dated a quarter of a century ago when it was the “Wallaby Jack” sketches on The Late Show. A parody of a kind of television that hasn’t existed this century, there’s only so far Glenn Robbins’ comedy charm and a collection of decent sight gags could take this series, and that turned out to be around two episodes short of what we got.


Mark Humphries’ sketches for 7:30

25.61% of the votes

You know those sketches which are basically one mildly funny observation stretched out for two or three minutes? That’s Mark Humphries’ sketches on 7.30. Except these sketches fool you into thinking there’s something more going on by changing camera angle every couple of seconds. The result is a sort of slow, boring epilepsy that reminds you of the fact that science still hasn’t advanced to the point where it can bring back John Clarke. Sigh.


The Weekly/The Yearly with Charlie Pickering

65.85% of the votes

The Weekly with Charlie Pickering

It feels like a mistake to have this in the Short Form Comedy category, as each episode felt like it went for at least an hour. Bam! That’s the kind of shitty old joke The Weekly largely stuck to – when it could be bothered making any jokes at all – this year, dropping in the occasional telegraphed punchline to confirm that yes, this really was a comedy before diving into yet another six-minute segment that was basically a less funny episode of Landline. For a show the ABC refuses to axe (unlike most of their decent factual comedy programming in 2018), this feels pretty much forgotten by the public at large. It maintains no real estate in the public consciousness, makes no impact in either the worlds of news or comedy, is basically never mentioned by the media in general and if anyone ever does have something to say about host Charlie Pickering it’s usually along the lines of how smug and unlikable he is. Kitty Flanagan was the best thing about it, and she’s left. This show is shit.

What the voters said about The Weekly/The Yearly with Charlie Pickering

In 2018 Briggs got to help Bill Oakley review fast food, which was much better than anything The Weekly could find for him to do.

They say that familiarity breeds contempt, so Charlie Pickering’s rusted-on, ubiquitous mediocrity in the ABC comedy line up must be inspiring homicidal rage.

Do you remember that bit in The Simpsons where that deprogrammer boasts to Homer that he successfully got Paul McCartney out of Wings, and Homer yells “You idiot! He was the most talented one!” ? That’s basically the situation with Kitty Flanagan leaving The Weekly.

Worst Sitcom



26.76% of the votes

While Superwog undeniably does have something about it that’s different and better than most shows in this genre, it’s amazing how often it looks like just another show in this genre. Idiot characters, shouty characters, jokes based on characters being idiotic or shouty, over-the-top slapstick, depictions of the relations between the sexes that remind us why no one makes sex comedies anymore…it’s a hard slog if this isn’t your thing.



33.80% of the votes

Sando‘s one of those shows that absolutely no one will remember in a couple of years time. Even us – and we wrote a blog post about every single episode of it! So, just as a reminder about why you should forget it forever, this was a program billed as a comedy which contained approximately one joke per episode and lost about 250,000 viewers over the six weeks it aired. We’re guessing those two facts are probably related.



54.93% of the votes

We’ve said it all before, because there’s nothing else to say about Squinters: it’s a sketch comedy show where all the sketches are exactly the same, it’s a character-based comedy where there’s no time to develop the characters let alone opportunity to place them in different situations, it’s a show clearly designed to be made on the cheap that for some reason is partially filmed in that thriving hub of Australian comedy Los Angeles, and it’s a format where it should be easy to attract big-name high-profile comedy performers to show up for a days filming and yet the cast are largely relative unknowns. The whole thing never quite adds up; if someone told us it was a money laundering scam we wouldn’t be surprised.

What the voters said about Squinters

Anyone involved in the creation of Squinters took everyone for a ride. Self-indulgent, unfunny, not even half-baked.

To be honest, little in Australian sitcoms excited this year, but Squinters committed the double crime of not only being lazily “written”, but wasting the talents of actors who can do infinitely better with material that wasn’t so clearly whipped up on the fly and padded out into flabby mush. The whole thing seemed to be little more than a community theatre improv bit stretched into multiple episodes and wasting time that could be better spent sitting in actual traffic.

Pitch: Imagine No Activity…but fewer jokes.

Worst Topical Comedy


Tonightly with Tom Ballard

16% of the votes

Tonightly‘s approach to topical comedy, to come at it from a woke, left-leaning perspective, was never going to please everyone in our divided nation. Even those with woke, left-leaning views weren’t guaranteed to like it, as Ballard and company’s style and tone don’t work for everyone. It’s axing, having built up a small but dedicated following and a reputation for doing things a bit differently, was a pity in the opinion of this blog. We need broadcasters and other content providers to present different voices and make different types of comedy – and Tonightly did both, four times a week, to a consistently good standard.


Mark Humphries’ sketches for 7:30

29.33% of the votes

Remember The Roast? Wow, that was a bad, bad show. And Humphries hasn’t really changed his act since then. Which is kind of fair enough: context is a big, big part of comedy (just ask Louis CK), and dropping his smug white guy act into a variety of news programs full of actual smug white guys has gone a long way towards pointing out that yeah, smug white guys are the worst. Especially when they’re not all that funny. Good job hosting that game show though.


The Weekly/The Yearly with Charlie Pickering

76% of the votes

The Weekly with Charlie Pickering


[deep breath]

Look, we know times are tough for comedy at the ABC. Especially political satire. With the current government not quite far enough out the door to give them a decent kicking, and with said current government largely staffed by people who it’s safe to say have the sense of humour of a wild boar with his testicles being used as a punchbag, clearly employing comedians who actually go for the throat is a bad idea. So keeping Mad as Hell on air is a cause for celebration that isn’t celebrated anywhere near enough.

The Weekly though, remains – as we said earlier, and multiple times this year, and last year, and the year before that, and at least a few times more before even that – shit.

What the voters said about The Weekly/The Yearly with Charlie Pickering

Juvenal wrote “It is difficult not to write satire”, but obviously he never met Charlie Pickering.

Since being ‘topical’ seems to be its only remit anymore (comedy sure isn’t the focus), the fact that ‘The Weekly’ still comes off as stale as a water biscuit fished out from under the sofa says everything you need.

But how to reward a consistently awful product? Commission more series of course!

Worst Panel/Game/Interview/Light Entertainment/Stand-up Show


Show Me The Movie

27.03% of the votes

Oh yeah, this. It’s bizarre to think that the game show format was carefully honed by networks worldwide for decades to create exactly the right balance between smart topics and dumb viewers, and then suddenly everyone went “nah, screw that, let’s go zany” and game shows turned into pissweak panel gibberish. Rove’s other big show in 2018 was one where he sat on a chair and talked about Doctor Who for half an hour, and somehow that seemed the more accessible and entertaining series.


Hughesy We Have A Problem

32.43% of the votes

Oh, we have a problem all right – amirite? Eh? Eh? Oh wait, as a half-arsed reboot of the old Beauty and the Beast format with Hughsey as the beast and various comedy “personalities” as the beauties, this pretty much did the job it was meant to. It’s not a job anyone was actually asking to have done, but compared to endless reality programming and… whatever else it is the commercial networks put to air (hey, we’re Australian comedy fans – we’re lucky to even know where the commercial networks are on the remote), this fell firmly under the banner of “serviceable”. Unlike something like Have You Been Paying Attention?, where even shit guests can often come out looking good, here you get exactly what it says on the tin; if Josh Thomas or Kate Langbroek or Charlie Pickering are on and you keep watching, you’ve got no-one but yourself to blame.


Tomorrow Tonight

40.54% of the votes

If you ever wondered how the classic formats of yesteryear (hang on, isn’t someone bringing back Mastermind in 2019?) would cope today, good news: Tomorrow Tonight has run that simulation, and the results were just as grim and depressing as everything else in 2018. An “updated” version of Geoffrey Robertson’s Hypotheticals, it somehow managed to turn an intelligent and thought-provoking format into the answer to the question “what if we asked the cast of The Footy Show to explain the tensions on the Korean Peninsula?” Despite being two of the more rampantly unlikable characters in the ABC fishtank, host Charlie Pickering and guest who wouldn’t leave Annabel Crabb weren’t entirely to blame, as turning Hypotheticals into a pissweak panel show where experts were outnumbered by comedians – like every other panel show this century – ensured both entertainment and information would be in short supply. Despite losing a third of its viewers over the course of eight weeks, it’ll probably be back.

What the voters said about Tomorrow Tonight

Tomorrow Tonight is the worst of both hosts: Pickering trying to prove he’s the smartest in the room, and Crabb’s obsession with ‘humanising’ politicians.

We don’t need an unfunny version of News 24’s This Is Not A Drill.

Whoever has been in charge of cultivating ‘personalities’ at the ABC needs to look up the definition of the word. Because considering Annabelle Crabb and Charlie Pickering charming enough to anchor a program that has little else going on in it besides reheating some old Hypotheticals scripts with references to Lady Gaga and emojis feels like a fireable offense. Panel shows require interesting subject matter (or at least the illusion of it) and/or hosts who can win people over with their knowledge and effervescence. This show has a thrift store cooking show pixie and a man whose entire CV consists of him being able to wear a suit while laughing with cold dead eyes.

Worst Film


The Flipside

17.78% of votes

Check out that image: that’s the poster that belongs to an Indecent Proposal-style smash hit. See, on the one hand she’s got to choose between a generic Aussie stud and Eddie Izzard, who despite all appearances to the contrary is not currently dead. But on the other hand, Izzard is in Hollywood while Generic Stud is in Adelaide, so… It’s the equivalent of those pub quizzes that go “would you rather sleep with the hottest person alive, only there’s a 90% chance they’ll give you brain cancer and they’re also a dud root, or some kind of hideous mutant pig that will give you the best orgasm of your life but you’ll be filmed having sex with it and the footage will be put online”? No wonder Emily Taheny looks worried.



37.78% of votes

If you’ve ever wondered how a film this obviously lacking in anything approaching widespread appeal got made, good news: it turns out that much of it was funded through private investors and product placement. It seems something called “sophisticated product placement” by the producers and “it’s a fucking commercial disguised as a movie” by everyone else raised close to a million dollars of the $3.7 million budget, while another $700,000 came from business identities in Albury-Wodonga. As for the other $2 million? That came from the usual funding bodies like Screen Australia and Film Victoria, who clearly thought they were onto a winner backing only the second shittiest of the three Shane Jacobson films to hit cinemas in 2018.


That’s Not My Dog

40% of votes

They might as well have called this That’s Not a Movie, because it wasn’t; it was a collection of moderately famous joke-tellers at a bush barbie standing around telling the kind of generic jokes readily available in book form at pretty much every op shop across the land. Occasionally a joke would be funny; more humorous were the many blatant examples of product placement that presumably covered the costs of making a film that looked like it was shot for pocket change. Putting this on in cinemas, even just for a weekend, was some kind of scam that should be investigated by the relevant consumer bodies.

What the voters said about That’s Not My Dog

The premise for this sounded alright but about five minutes in I felt like I’d been baled up in the corner by a drunk uncle while he tells the same old jokes his dad told, which your dad has already told you.

Home movies are fun, aren’t they? Having someone sit you down and force you to watch some shithouse video they knocked up with their computer’s edit software, about a party you weren’t even invited to? And if it goes for two hours? And if you’re forced to pay to see it?

That’s Not My Dog is the worst film. Not that it was really a film…

Worst Pilot



18.33% of the votes

Television executives in this country make odd decisions. When Ten was presented with two sitcom pilots about an overweight man in his 40s, living in the suburbs with his wife and kids – Peter Helliar’s How To Stay Married and this show from Dave O’Neil – they preferred the weaker of the two – Helliar’s – leaving Dave to the mercy of Pilot Week. The premiere of How To Stay Married several months later suggested Dave probably never stood a chance of being commissioned. Why we wonder? It was decently plotted, it had contained some funny lines and situations… We’re not saying it was amazing – and it really is time Australian comedians stopped trying to make a local version of Curb Your Enthusiasm – but in the sitcom battle of Helliar and O’Neil, we’re team O’Neil. This showed some promise. More promising than eight episodes of Helliar’s uninspiring guff, anyway.


Skit Happens

45% of the votes

Look at their fresh young faces! Well, some of those involved were fresh and young… This felt like a show where old fart producers shoehorned a bunch of people who’d never worked together into making 2018’s answer to Fast Forward. Or whatever ensemble sketch show from yesteryear they had in mind. The Comedy Company? God knows… This didn’t work, anyway. Shows like this never work. No one wants “funny characters” appearing in sketches five times in half an hour. Unless they are actually funny. Which the ones in this show weren’t.


Trial By Kyle

58.33% of the votes

Hey, remember that time Kyle Sandilands had a segment on his radio show where a 14 year-old girl was hooked up to a lie detector machine and asked about her sex life? And this… individual… still has a career. What the fuck is wrong with this country?

What the voters said about Trial By Kyle

The title for this was cruelly misleading. When will the Sandilands Nuremberg trial begin?!

Does anyone, anywhere, ever actually like Kyle Sandilands? I think he achieved his ‘celebrity’ status through a monkey’s paw. “You will be a rich and famous celebrity, but you will also be universally loathed by anyone who consumes any of your attempts at ‘entertainment'”.

What Kyle Sandilands lacks in talent, he more than makes up for in also lacking charisma.

Best New Comedy


Good Afternoon Adelaide

21.54% of the votes

It’s a marker of how little new comedy of quality was premiered in 2018 that a show which aired on community television and was released online has garnered as many votes as it has in this category. Good Afternoon Adelaide, a parody of local TV made in Adelaide in the 80’s and 90’s by Mad As Hell writer David Allen Green, has some good ideas in it, but it’s pretty obscure. Its YouTube channel has 64 subscribers and its most-watched video has had 395 views. Presumably all 395 of those viewers voted for it here. Thanks for stopping by.



29.23% of the votes

Where else would a comedy special about how shit comedy is come from but Australia? Sure, it was about more than that, but that’s because it was, as former Adam Hills sidekick Hannah Gadsby herself said repeatedly, closer to a one-woman show than a stand-up comedy performance. Still, it did nail the general feeling around the world that comedy currently is kind of toxic and bad and trivial, which may explain why she hasn’t rushed into a follow-up (even the Nanette book has been delayed) and why a lot of US comedians don’t seem to be overjoyed by her success. But where can she go from here? Nanette was an out-of-nowhere, once-in-a-lifetime success based on articulating female rage and attacking the idea of comedy itself: following that with a special about the zany world of modern art might not cut the mustard.



38.46% of the votes

If you’re a dyed-in-the-wool Tony Martin fan, used to him doing comedy in that very particular style he honed during Get ThisSizzletown was an interesting change of direction. A subtle change, for sure, but a bold one none-the-less. This largely improvised podcast was a move away from the tightly-honed scripted comedy of Martin’s sketches, radio appearances and stand-up, and a move into slower-paced stream-of-consciousness comedy, in which various talkback callers (all played by Martin) banged on about whatever concerned them until Martin got sick of them. Was it funny? Yep. Will any broadcaster, streaming service, funding body or sponsor have the good sense to give him some money so he can make a living from it? We certainly hope so.

What the voters said about Sizzletown

Tony Martin’s attention to detail has produced something hilarious yet again.

Tony Martin’s podcast experiment may not always have the tight, sharp bite of his work on Martin/Molloy, or the sublime flights of whimsy and obsession in Get This, but it is thrilling to listen to one of the country’s best comedic minds riff with himself, rambling down some surreal avenues and serving up some hysterical character work.

Sizzletown has shown us yet again why a Tony Martin-free radio landscape is a fucking crime.

Best Comedy



25.97% of the votes

Sizzletown was always going to do well these awards. Not just because lots of Tony Martin fans read this blog, but because lots of comedy fans like Tony Martin. How could they not? Since the 1980s he’s been involved in one high-quality show after the other, and never stopped trying to be even better than he was before. This move into improvised comedy, where he created and played a variety of weird and wonderful characters, was a little unexpected, but it worked. Although it hasn’t done a great deal for the image of nut butter.


Have You Been Paying Attention?

35.06% of the votes

If you were to look up “well-oiled machine” in the dictionary, you’d… wait, do people still look things up in dictionaries? Over the years this has become the platonic ideal of Australian topical comedy, with a solid collection of guests (including a bunch of regulars who’ve developed into actual comedy characters), a format that manages to be both informative and funny without getting bogged down in the kind of boring chit-chat that kills 90% of panel shows, and a commitment to actually making jokes that’s so strong it’s even survived a procession of dodgy celebrity guests plucked from Ten’s endless run of crap reality series. It’s good television, and hopefully they can keep it going until society finally collapses later this year.


Shaun Micallef’s Mad As Hell

70.13% of the votes

While Shaun Micallef’s never really been a political comedian or satirist, 2018 was the year in which he got pretty close. His rage at our current crop of politicians – who in the past couple of years have done little more than lurch from one leadership spill to the next while our earth warms and our rivers turn to dust – was palpable, and necessary. Micallef knew this wasn’t the time for whimsical humour about a green octopus who pops out of a cupboard when Toni Basil’s Mickey plays. Okay, there was some kraken, but Mad As Hell in 2018 was more about skewering politicians than anything else, and boy was it good. There are lots of shows around the world mixing news footage with comic commentary and parodying politicians, but from what we’ve seen, Mad As Hell is the best. SNL might have Alec Baldwin as Donald Trump, and Britain’s The Mash Report might have Rachel Parris’ inane and hilarious round-up of viewer tweets, but only Mad As Hell has Darius Horsham, Dolly Norman and Casper Jonquil. And only one country has Shaun Micallef. We truly are the Lucky Country.

What the voters said about Shaun Micallef’s Mad As Hell

Mad As Hell is so damned good it literally makes everything else on Australian television seem like white noise. And God help shows like The Weekly, that dare to try and fill its time slot during its off-weeks. It remains sharp-eyed and caustically satirical, is capable of hilariously surreal flights of fancy, and has the best line-up of writing and performing talent of any production in the country. Nothing is this good. Nothing else even seems to be trying by comparison.

Shaun Micallef still notching up a consistently high laugh rate on Mad as Hell.

Congratulations go to Shaun Micallef for consistently and quietly out do his more contemporary and more self obsessed and arrogant peers (Charlie Pickering, Rove, Nazeem). He proves you don;t have to swear, shout or steal jokes to be sharp and satirical. When he is no longer active people will miss him dearly as there is no one that is remotely close to being is acolyte.

What the voters thought of Australian comedy in 2018…

Podcasts thrive, TV dies.

I really liked the bit in the Talkin’ ‘Bout Your Generation reboot when Aaron Chen claimed Paul Keating wrote ‘From Little Things Big Things Grow’, and Tim Rogers gave this great little delayed laugh and then hugged Aaron.

It wasn’t a great year overall, especially for narrative comedies, which almost entirely tanked on the ABC and Channel 10.

There was more, and yet it all felt less.

On TV? An ever-shrinking pool of “talent”. If it weren’t for Micallef we’d be in real trouble. There’s some great comedians doing some great live stuff on stage, but we don’t seem to be able to get them to translate it to the screen. Time for a Big Gig reboot.

Eventually we’ll find some talent that rivals Shaun Micallef and Tony Martin, this was not the year for that.

Business as usual – more shallow, unfunny political comedy and mediocre sitcoms that needed another five drafts.

Sad. Mostly rubbish. The people writing this material have little clue about comedy.

Lots to be excited about. Channel 10 are leading the way. Can’t be too long until we see a locally made multicamera sitcom back on our screens. More tonight shows is good for the industry.

It’s amazing to think Hannah Gadsby appeared on Josh Thomas’s vanity project Please Like Me. For all the pot shots Gadsby and Micallef take at people and institutions I just wish they would criticise people such as Thomas and Pickering respectively on something they actually have authority on – who’s funny and who’s not.

Once again there’s been a plethora of new programs with some new faces but with the same result. The death of Australian comedy goes back to the early 00’s with the success of Rove McManus where his cutesy routine was popular with young girls who giggled at him saying silly things in a loud silly annoying manner. This ushered in the likes of Hamish and Andy who are the kings of the smartarse uni student type of comedy which has saturated Aussie comedy like a cane toad infestation with their unfunny double act that makes you wonder if they have family or friends working in the television industry to offer them so many opportunities. Where everything Hamish says is followed by an idiotic smug smirk as if to say “you must laugh now”. This also enabled Charlie Pickering, Claire Hooper, Josh Thomas and others the green light to enter the fray and poison comedy along the way with every bad joke. Australian comedy is dead until this ilk of comedian has lost influence for good.

Too much Charlie Pickering. What was with the Channel 10 pilots with all of the ageing white male comedians who have already had their own shows? Pretty much everything that wasn’t Tony Martin or Shaun Micallef was pretty forgettable.

I just gave up, to be honest. I just thought “what is the fucking point of supporting Australian comedy when Charlie Pickering is still clogging up the ABC schedule like a fucking fatberg of used condoms, filthy wet wipes and industrial levels of smugness in a London sewer?”

Overall, Twitter was more entertaining.

A case of being careful of what I wished for: I’m always hoping to see new comedy faces on our screens, and then we got Skit Happens. HtSM, Hughesy…, Dave, Show Me the Movie, Hard Quiz etc. all poorly executed work from people who have been around long enough to do better. Pilot Week copped flak for being very white-blokey, but the lineup for the rest of the year was almost the same across the board, barring OITNB and Black Comedy. In contrast HYBPA has done well with their new guests all very natural and excellent value. Losing Tonightly and getting skits on 7.30 was a poor trade. Unsure what the ABC2 rebrand purpose was. Mad as Hell, Sizzletown, Nanette, Sammy J, Taboo were highlights. Here’s hoping for a more dynamic 2019.

Bring Back John Clarke!

Apart from some quality podcasts, stand-up and the odd online thing, Australian comedy, especially at the movies and on TV was pretty shit.

Vote now in the Australian Tumbleweed Awards 2018!

It’s that time of year again…it’s time to cast your vote in the Australian Tumbleweed Awards 2018.

Excited comedy fans around the nation are doing it, so why don’t you?

Democracy sausage

Sketch comedy, sitcoms, satire, panel shows, films and pilots – we want to know what you thought were the worst (and best) Australian comedies of 2018.

You can read the rules, see the nominations and cast your vote here from now until midnight on Friday 11th January.

We’ll announce the results on or about Australian Day 2019.

Vale Australian Television Comedy 2018

Australian television comedy ended 2018 the same way it began: with Charlie Pickering prattling on like a private school debating student putting in the bare minimum effort because daddy’s money is all he really needs to win an argument. If you wanted to sum up the ABC’s year in comedy, the moment where Pickering ended The Yearly by throwing to another show that was also hosted by Charlie Pickering was as good a way as any. Can’t wait for him to host the New Year’s Eve programming again! Hopefully this year he’ll tell us to kill paramedics.

How did we get to a place where Charlie Pickering – a man whose claim to comedy fame is that he used to laugh a lot at Shaun Micallef, which narrows down his competition to roughly one third of the country – is the ABC’s biggest comedy star? It’s not like he’s actually funny or anything; c’mon, we may be haters from the old school, but even Pickering’s biggest fans admit that his strengths on television don’t lie in the area of actually making people laugh. He’s a newsreader, only without the charm: The Weekly would easily be a whole lot funnier if they got a traditional, formal, trained newsreader to sell the writer’s shitty gags. We hear Lee Lin Chin’s looking for work.

If you don’t believe us about Pickering’s flaws – and why should you; we’re haters, remember? – then The Yearly did a surprisingly solid job of pointing out both his weaknesses and the lengths to which his show goes to disguise them. Take Kitty Flanagan, whose appearances on the show were always a comedy highlight, and who once again went all out; it was also her final appearance on the show. No replacement has been announced.

Briggs, the other funny cast member and a man who was featured in the opening credits of The Weekly all year as a regular despite only appearing a handful of times, had a pre-recorded segment where he interacted with no-one: if he doesn’t return next year, will anyone even notice?

And yet, while the funny cast members of The Weekly are sidelined, Tom Gleeson – the only man who comes across as less charming and likable on-camera than Pickering – keeps on keeping on, confirming on-air he’d be back next year. Of course he will: he’s a valuable number two, as his entire act revolves around being a jerk. Whatever you think of said act, it definitely makes Pickering look good by comparison.

Or at least, it does when Gleeson’s the only other person on the show, which was often the case during The Weekly 2018. But The Yearly featured a surprisingly large run of comedy special guest stars and… shit, it barely took 30 seconds for Rove to reveal himself as both funnier and more charming than his former Project protege. And this is Rove! A man most people see as a firmly average and largely forgettable television presence! If they’d given Dave Hughes more than ten seconds air time they’d have had to cancel the whole show in shame.

Putting literally anyone actually remotely funny on screen in proximity to Pickering makes it abundantly clear that whatever Pickering’s strengths may be when it comes to keeping him constantly on air at the ABC, they don’t involve charm, humour, or ease in front of the camera. Yet in a year when Tom Ballard had his tonight show axed and The Checkout was also shown the door, Pickering was given a whole new show in the shape of Tomorrow Tonight to play with. Shakespeare said it best: the fuck?

And that show was somehow even worse than The Weekly, an insipid panel show based around discussing terrifying scenarios ripped from a seven year old magazine found in a doctor’s waiting room like “what if sugar, but bad” and “what is the deal with other countries”. The ABC’s desperate need to create “personalities” rather than decent programs seems to have reached a nadir here, as they try again and again to make Pickering seem like an interesting and talented television host by inserting him into programs somehow even more boring than he is. Thank God they axed the test pattern.

As a slightly smarmy upper class white man who is also slightly outraged for no good reason considering his position and status, Charlie Pickering’s comedy persona is perhaps the least funny comedy act it’s possible to image in 2018. He’s not even that good at it: while it’s impossible to image anyone replacing Shaun Micallef as host of Mad as Hell, any mildly competent sports reporter could do Pickering’s job at least as well.

And by “mildly competent sports reporter” we mean Peter Helliar. It’s just that bad.

Vale Mad as Hell and, uh… Tomorrow When the War Began?

Having Mad as Hell on our screens is a mixed blessing.

On the one hand, it’s the best Australian comedy – and probably the best in all categories including drama, arts coverage and religious programming – television program currently airing. It’s definitely the only thing currently going that could legitimately be called “world class”, and considering we’re heading for a future where “world class” means “able to be shown around the world”, there’s very little chance we’ll see another Australia-specific show operating at this level once it’s gone.

On the other hand, it does have the unfortunate side-effect of making a very large swathe of Australian television comedy look shithouse. It’s extremely difficult to find any serious way to justify the quality of something like The Weekly or Sando when Mad as Hell is also on the air, and while there are plenty of shows we don’t like for a wide range of reasons (no shit – ed), when it comes to comedy competence Mad as Hell makes a very good case that many of the people currently pulling down a decent paycheck in Australian comedy are in fact running some kind of piss-poor extortion racket.

Of course, not all comedy can or should be like Mad as Hell. But it should all be trying to be as funny as Mad as Hell instead of aiming for whatever the fuck Squinters thought it was doing. And let’s be clear: Shaun Micallef might be a singular talent but he’s not infallible, and while Mad as Hell is world class comedy it’s not beaming down to us on a shaft of unbearably bright light while a heavenly choir sings its praises.

We go on a heck of a lot here about the importance of piss-farting around: if your show looks like fun, then there’s a good chance people will have fun watching it. But it’s a very fine line: have too much fun among yourselves and you shut the audience out. Mad as Hell isn’t there yet – and it may never get there at all – but it’s not hard to imagine some viewers might feel like they’re getting a lot of in-jokes and smirking mixed in with the funny stuff.

For example, while final episodes are usually where the series burns off the edgier material, this – aside from a Viking suicide bomber and a few slightly more barbed than usual swipes at our especially craven Federal government – aimed most of its edgier digs for the ABC itself. Obviously ABC viewers are more than usually interested in the ABC, but when it comes to that kind of thing a little goes a long way.

The thing is, these (admittedly minor) failings are actually good news. If Mad as Hell was perfect, there’d hardly be a point in bothering with any other comedy.

Yes, it’s fast-paced, features a lot of sharp character work, has a large stable of characters it can wheel out for near-certain laughs, Micallef himself is an excellent comedic performer able to sell a line with a look, the political and social comedy is spot on – extra shout-out to the researchers who’ve been doing brilliant work digging up clips this series – it’s confident enough to cut bits off halfway at the point of maximum comedy then move on, the writers are skilled enough to pick up a funny idea and work through it over a number of weeks (this series’ example: Micallef literally explaining the premise of a comedy bit, as in “that was Stephen Hall in a wig pretending to be a finance expert” or some such) then let it go forever, there’s still a lot of very funny wordplay going on and there’s never the sense that they’re shaping their material to fit an agenda beyond being funny – but it’s not perfect.

It’s just better than all the current alternatives, which makes the news that it won’t be back until July 2019 – which will be after the Federal election no matter when it’s held – sad news indeed.


“A show that breaks out of the news cycle to bring you a ground-breaking scenario from the not too distant future”. Wow, who wouldn’t want to watch that? Hang on a second, isn’t this that Tomorrow Today show? Is the ground-breaking scenario “this show somehow becomes good”?

Sold to an audience that clearly couldn’t care less as a show that would explore possible future news scenarios in a manner not dissimilar to the once very-successful Geoffrey Robertson’s Hypotheticals, under the leadership of insipid prattler Annabel Crabb and professional fake newsreader turned real newsreader turned back into fake newsreader Charlie Pickering, Tomorrow Today rapidly became* little more than a current affairs panel show discussing stuff that was like news only without the news part.

The flaw in this approach rapidly became evident in this week’s final (for now) episode on North Korea, where Pickering asked a guest “what would happen if Kim Jong Un disappeared”, only to be told he’d already disappeared a number of times and life simply went on in North Korea because the public there were kept in the dark. And then this guest went on to explain that North Korea is actually run by quite a large organisation which has “tiers and tiers” of leadership in place, and… well, this episode’s clearly over, wonder if NCIS is still showing on Ten.

The old Hypotheticals worked because the point of the Hypothetical was to get the guests – either semi-famous people, semi-important people or semi-relevant people – to reveal something interesting about their thought processes (and by extension, the thought processes of the people like them in positions of power). If it did an episode about North Korea collapsing, it would have military types and economic brains talking about what we’d do and how the collapse would affect Australia, which would be interesting and relevant to home viewers.

Instead, Tomorrow Today had three journalists on a four person panel, and the fourth person was a comedian. In news to just about nobody, journalists are in no way interesting except to themselves: their job is to learn interesting things and then tell us about them.

But here they were useless, because everything they learnt about this fictional scenario was told to them on-camera by Pickering – who actually asked Crabb early on “what’s happening in Canberra right now?” like she was some kind of geopolitical insider. Hey, here’s an idea: why not find some ex politician or defense expert and get them on because they probably have experience in these areas beyond reading press releases and hosting a fucking cooking show.

If this had been an episode based on “what would happen if Channel Nine bought Fairfax and started firing everyone oh shit that’s actually happening right now”, then maybe these media types’ views would be of interest. But if you’re going to talk about geopolitical events, here’s an idea: GET IN EXPERTS ON GEOPOLITICAL EVENTS.

If you’re worried they’re going to be boring, then maybe pick topics where the experts are going to be bubbly and fun. And if you’re worried that “bubbly and fun” experts aren’t going to make for serious television, then maybe just rethink your whole approach to whatever the hell it is you think you’re doing because going by Tomorrow Tonight pretty much anything would be an improvement.

Then again, the idea of improvement at the ABC is a scenario too far-fetched even for this show.

*at the time of writing we assumed this had wrapped up alongside Mad as Hell but nope, it’s still running firmly into the non-ratings period where a complete lack of quality competition should make no difference whatsoever to its lacklustre performance

Fresh Blood – Be Your Own Boss

While we’ll all have to wait until next year to see Chris Lilley’s exciting new controversial character, fans of Lilley-style comedy may already be enjoying Be Your Own Boss, the last of the Fresh Blood pilots to air (it’s also on iView and YouTube).

Be Your Own Boss

But first, let’s clarify what we mean by Lilley-style in relation to Be Your Own Boss. What we don’t mean is that it’s a comedy where white people dress up as people of other races, or where people dress up as other genders or sexualities. We’re talking about comedians playing multiple characters in the one show, and those characters being somewhat over-the-top. Maybe Anne Edmond’s The Edge of the Bush would have been a better comparison…?

In Be Your Own Boss, Cameron James and Becky Lucas play three pairs of characters running small businesses in a shopping mall subsidised by the local council:

  • Husband and wife Jase and Chelle, who run a gym inspired by the singer Pink
  • Mother and son Paula and Angelo, who run a pet shop where the animals aren’t in cages, and
  • Ashleigh and Ashley, two hipster “theatre entrepreneurs” who run drama workshops

Also in the show are Mel Buttle as Anne, a local council inspector who has to assess whether the three businesses deserve council subsidy ongoing, and Clinton Haines as Muskrat, a somewhat disturbing character who’s the mall’s maintenance man.

The action in this pilot switches between the three pairs, showing their attempts to make their businesses work – and to impress Inspector Anne. And, unsurprisingly for a Lilley-style show, the three businesses are somewhere between “outright dodgy” and “failing”, the people running them are largely idiots, and the three sets of characters become irritating within seconds. Muskrat, meanwhile, only pops up occasionally, doing something a bit unhinged. He’s probably the funniest thing in this.

What Be Your Own Boss does have in its favour is that unlike a Chris Lilley show, it’s been scripted and thought through a bit rather than come about as a result of days of improv and weeks of editing. As a result, the show feels less laboured than a Lilley show, even if it’s only about as funny. Unfortunately, though, the six lead characters aren’t humans anyone would want to spend time with. They’re the sort of people drama students invent to amuse each other when they’re drunk, rather than the sort of characters that can sustain a sitcom. Their over-the-top screeching and mad schemes might seem amusing in a writers room, or an improv studio, but after 20+ minutes you want them to go away forever.

Having now watched all four of the Fresh Blood pilots, it’s Why Are You Like This? that seems to have the most potential for a series. The characters are awful but they get their comeuppance, the topic of the show is timely, it was the most original of the four shows and the funniest. What did you think?

Fresh Blood: The Angus Project

The Angus Project was another of last year’s Fresh Blood pilots that we thought would work as a full-length sitcom. Well, we said “It could work”, which is about as good as you’re likely to get from us. But, like Koala Man, another Fresh Blood show we thought was promising but didn’t work, The Angus Project doesn’t quite work either. What’s going on, here?

The Angus Project

The premise of The Angus Project is decent: Angus (Angus Thompson), a student with Downs Syndrome cerebral palsy, lives in a house in Bathurst with live-in carer Nina (Nina Oyama of Tonightly), and together they have crazy, often drink or drug-fuelled, adventures. There have been sitcoms built on less, although they’ve usually had decent plots, which sadly this doesn’t…

In this pilot episode (available on iView and YouTube), the pair visit local newspaper editor Ron (Rob Sitch) to see if there’s any writing work going, and amazingly there is: Angus can cover a motivational talk given by wheelchair sports hero Wizza (Adam Bowes). But things don’t quite go to plan with Wizza, in fact, he turns out to be a massive dickhead, and they end up having to score him some horse adrenaline to make amends. Cue a visit to dodgy local drug dealer Kane (Sammy J), who proposes they visit a horse stud to get the adrenaline they need without paying for it.

Actually, in other hands, that could be a decent plot, particularly with an array of experienced comic actors in the show. Problem is, the show frequently goes off on surreal flights of fancy that don’t quite work. Or indulges in silly gags that hold things up. Put it this way, it’s not exactly coherent.

We enjoyed Veronica Milsom as Kath, who does a memorable turn as a bitchy local disability worker, and Sammy J as “high on his own supply” drug dealer Kane, but the rest of the characters, including the leads, don’t quite work. Someone obviously told Thompson and Oyama (who also wrote the show) to dial up the crazy. Or to dial down the crazy. Or something that makes this show feel slightly different in each scene. Whatever happened, this is a bit of a mess, and we can’t see it going further in its present form.