Australian Television’s Nightmare of Nights

Ahh, the Logies; remember when they used to get comedians to host? Probably not – and if you do, chances are what you actually remember is the stock-standard chorus of “wasn’t that shit” the following day. Not because the comedians were actually all that shit – even the much maligned Wendy Harmer Experiment would probably shimmer like gold compared to the more recent attempts to concentrate boredom into a beam that could tunnel through Eddie McGuire’s ego – but because no-one commentating on the Logies seems to understand exactly what kind of show it is.

Let’s spell it out: The Logies is an AWARDS NIGHT. It’s not a comedy gala, it’s not a fashion show, it’s not a chance to see the celebrities at play or whatever collection of words they use to caption their photo coverage in the Herald-Sun the following day. It’s a bunch of people sitting around waiting to see if they’ve won something. That’s not to say it can’t be fun and exciting in its own way, but because of the whole “entertainment industry” angle, people seem to think the show itself should be more entertaining than every other example of the form. Two words: Brownlow Night.

This isn’t an excuse for the amazingly shithouse standard of “comedy” the Logies have been serving up in recent years. Even Micallef’s fine work last year with his acceptance speech shone to some extent because everyone knew the rest of the show was going to be bog-standard bland. But what else do you expect? When comedians were given the job they were roundly condemned even before the end credits rolled (with the exception of Andrew Denton, who was praised largely for putting on the kind of smarmy industry-baiting show that Logies organizers would be guaranteed not to want to repeat); no wonder that reportedly none of our professional funny buggers wants to go near the gig these days.

So until we can create some kind of virtual host whose dialogue is compromised entirely of real-time Logies tweets, everyone knows Bert Newton is always going to be the dream Logies host because he can tell a joke and… um, that’s pretty much it (so, in all seriousness, why not get Daryl Somers?). But it’s not like Australian television doesn’t have a whole bunch of other professional hosts out there – Adam Hills, Rove McManus, Andrew O’Keefe, even if two out of the three have already had an ill-fated stab at it [from wikipedia]:

In 2004, O’Keefe co-hosted the historic tri-network tsunami appeal Reach Out with fellow presenters Eddie McGuire and Rove McManus, which raised over $20 million for Tsunami Relief Efforts around Asia. The event was such a success that the three teamed up the following year to host another disaster, The TV Week Logies.

Again with the snark. Of course, it’s not like the people putting together the Logies want it to be an awesome night, because an awesome night would involve everyone getting drunk and acting up while the host pointed out how shallow, vapid and venal the television industry really is.

All we’re saying is, if we’re ever going to see a successful Logies night in our lives, then the Logies has to work out what it wants to achieve. If it’s all about the awards and celebrating what passes for talent on Australian screens, then a stripped back, no muss or fuss night focusing on the tension of who’s going to win what – followed by the stars making painfully earnest and dull speeches thanking people no-one’s heard of  – is the way to go.

If, on the other hand, it’s meant to be something regular people will want to watch, then get everyone drunk, bung in a bunch of bizarre musical numbers and incomprehensible skits and get Rodney Rude to host. Oh and tell the press to go to Hell when they report on “yet another dismal Logies night”; how is that any different from what Australian television serves up every other night of the year?

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