Mick Molloy is currently filling in for Kate Langbroek on the ludicrously popular Hughesy & Kate whilst Langbroek is on maternity leave. This comes only a few months after Molloy filled in for Dave Hughes when he became a father at the end of April. Like both Langbroek and Hughes, Molloy is a commercial radio veteran who knows the score when it comes to breakfast radio, but with one vital difference: he’s funny.
Listen to any normal edition of Hughesy & Kate and laughs are way down the list of the shows’ features. You want dull personal anecdotes? They’re covered. As are phone-ins, competitions, stunts, celebrity guests, footy tips and some surprisingly biting interviews with federal politicians, but comedy? No, not with Dave Hughes on board.
Enter Mick Molloy, with his knockabout, hard living, blokey persona, carefully crafted through years of stand-up, propping up front bars and his much-missed radio partnership with Tony Martin. Beneath the stubble, the beer gut and the flannelette shirt, Molloy’s a smart man, with a cheeky charm and the ability to come up with a funny line on cue. Throw him into a formulaic breakfast radio bland-fest and he makes it vaguely worth listening to, even with the dull personal anecdotes (Hughesy’s wife bought him jeans that were too tight), crap phone-ins (should it be against the law to leave a toilet in a “disgraceful state”?), nasal whining (Hughesy’s teeth are eroding!), semi-tasteless competitions (text in with the sex of Kate’s baby and win tickets to Pink if it’s a girl or Green Day if it’s a boy), stupid stunts (Mick and Hughesy raced each other in the Nova 100 Gift, with the loser being zapped with an electric dog collar) and Ed Kavalee reminding you before and after every single song that Kate was on leave having a baby (as if the Murdoch press hadn’t drummed this fact into you by now).
As with Tony Martin’s Get This, Molloy rolls with the commercial radio cliches and subverts them as best he can, questioning them, taking the piss out of them and spicing them up where possible, bringing more laughs to Hughesy & Kate than anyone ever thought possible. Even Ed Kavalee’s there to spur Molloy on.
But, before you rush off to download the podcasts, don’t forget that this programme still contains that ultimate spectre of comedy doom: Dave Hughes. Hughes with his whiny voice, dead eyes and ability to make almost no one laugh yet still be described as a comedian, seems to be barely off TV or radio these days. He’s got Hughesy & Kate every morning, Before The Game on weekends and now The 7PM Project every night. Does he ever sleep? Or does he just lurch from studio to studio, grinding his way through commentaries on topical issues and going off on humour-free rants, like a surreal cross between a factory and a zombie.
Not even Mick Molloy in good form can defeat Hughesy, who, unsurprisingly, continues to dominate the show which bears his name. If Nova’s program director has any sense they’ll plump for comedy, and give Molloy a show with Ed Kavalee next year. But as any Get This fan knows, comedy isn’t what drives commercial radio, it’s crap songs and mindless yammer, meaning Mick Molloy (and his former comedy partner Tony Martin) are condemned to a life of guest appearances and fill-in slots, while the Dave Hughes comedy cyclone continues to reek its devastating havoc.