21st Century Vizard (part 1)

Rove (the show and the man) returns to our screens this week, no doubt emboldened by the failure of his latest effort, The 7pm Project, to fail.  Hughsey’s quit Rove and Carrie Bradshaw’s quit reading the news on Nova, so despite struggling ratings they clearly know something about the show’s future that’s not obvious to those watching – even if it has improved markedly over the last few weeks.  Which means that Rove’s comedy stable now includes three year-round “comedy” shows (we’ll count 5th Grader and Before the Game as one show), which makes him the most influencial figure in Australian comedy since… Steve Vizard.

Before you rightly recoil in horror, consider this: when Vizard basically ran commercial comedy in this country through the late 80s and most of the 90s, this country saw a flowering of decent television comedy the likes of which had… well, been seen before, obviously.  But not seen since. Full Frontal and Totally Full Frontal and not-quite-right efforts like Big Girl’s Blouse and Eric Bana’s talk show might have been crap factories, but they provided a hothouse for comedy talent that lead to pretty much everything decent in Australian comedy since The D-Gen and Clarke & Dawe.  Of course, Vizard himself is a much-loathed figure in Australian comedy, and going by his various shady dealings in pretty much every other area of his business life it’s not difficult to guess at how he ran his comedy empire.  But we’re all about the results here, and the result of his numerous comedy sweatshops was a flowering of oppertunity for Aussie comedy talent that gave a leg up to everyone from Bob Franklin to Eric Bana to Shaun Micallef.

And then there’s Rove…

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