So Daryl Somers wants to bring Hey Hey It’s Saturday back- well, according to The Herald-Sun he does, on the back of a Facebook campaign to revive the ill-lamented series (here). Yawn. Okay, first there’s a searing burst of unadulterated rage that this kind of rubbish story even sees print, especially as the hard-hitting news team at The Herald-Sun failed to even find someone actually gainfully employed in television to provide some insight on whether Daryl’s dream could possibly ever come true. Presumably they did ask someone, but they were laughing too hard at the idea to croak out a useable quote. But after that… well, yawn.
The reason why this is a non-story no matter how badly Daryl wants to waste others money and our time reliving his glory days is simple: Hey Hey lives amongst us. Or at least, the segments and elements that people actually want to watch – which obviously don’t involve Daryl – are still around us today. For example, the number one reason people give for wanting Hey Hey back (and we’ve sat on enough buses and trains next to people reading news stories in which Daryl says “bring back Hey Hey” to know) is to give people something to watch on a Saturday night before they go out. But such a show already exists and it’s name is Australia’s Funniest Home Videos. After all, roughly 40% of the last two decades or so of Hey Hey was viewers’ letters and funny signs: what else is AFHV but more of the same?
Then there’s the arguement that Hey Hey was a great venue to give local bands and comedians media exposure. Two words sum up the 21st century replacement: Rove… meh. But that’s beside the point – Rove does what Hey Hey did for local / international acts, and does it better (mostly because you don’t hear Rove complaining that a band played a different song live from the one they did in rehersal and thus would never be allowed back). You want variety? There’s everything from Australian Idol to Dancing with the Stars for that. That ramshackle, freewheeling vibe that Hey Hey had going for it before Daryl turned into a grim spectre of comedy death lives on in shows like Talkin’ ’bout Your Generation, Thank God You’re Here and Spicks & Specks. You miss Red Faces? Just watch the first few episodes of Australian Idol each year. And so on and so forth and whatever.
The point of all this is that when Daryl says he wants to bring back Hey Hey, don’t be fooled. Even he must know that every single thing his old show did that was worth keeping lives on. No, Daryl wants Hey Hey back because Daryl wants to come back as the boss of a show where he can do whatever the hell he likes. It may just be a rumour, but the story that Daryl quit his comeback success as host of Dancing with the Stars because Seven (Stars’ home) wouldn’t give him a Hey Hey-style variety show but Nine hinted they would remains sadly plausible. And we say “sadly” because if true, it seems likely that Nine basically told Daryl “quit Stars, then we’ll talk about bringing Hey Hey back”, and once Daryl did what they said… well, at least Nine got what they wanted.
Think about that for a moment: if true, Daryl wants Hey Hey back so desperately badly he was willing to quit being the host of a top-rating show – a gig anyone else at his stage of their career would kill for – for the chance to bring it back. You’d have to admire such passion and commitment – if only Hey Hey wasn’t such a steaming pile of televisual dung for the last decade or so of its run, a naked and calculated insult to the viewing audiences intelligence and sense of shared humanity, a weekly two hour stain on our screens that even a decade on still lingers. Basically, Daryl wants the chance to strut and preen and gloat in front of the nation one more time, providing viewers with absolutely nothing else that they can’t already watch – and watch done better – elsewhere. It’s not news, it’s not sport, it’s not weather, and it doesn’t deserve the briefest slice of time or space in our nation’s media. Move on folks, nothing to see here.
(now, if it was John Blackman calling for Hey Hey’s return, maybe we”d listen…)