Cause for cheer?

Last week’s ABC 2012 launch and other recent announcements have made us feel pretty positive about Australian comedy, which is somewhat of a strange sensation. Here’s the list of what’s coming up next year, tell us what you think about it in the comments.

Shaun Micallef’s new ABC show Mad As Hell looks set to build on his fine work with Newstopia and – on paper at least – sounds like the best sounding attempt at an Australian version of The Daily Show either proposed or executed to date. There’ll also be another series of Talkin’ ‘Bout Your Generation, although it’s hard not to wonder if it’ll be the show’s last.

Also coming to the ABC next year is Andrew Denton in Randling. Randling is apparently a word game of some description (a local answer to QI?), and will probably play quite well to the ABC’s base audience of wannabe sophisticates and the retired.

Last night’s final episode of Good News World was reportedly the show’s last ever – aaawwww – which is not much of a surprise given it rated poorly and had even hardcore GNW fans switching off. “A lot of people who have shit-canned Good News World haven’t watched much of it” a source told TV Tonight. “What they didn’t like about it was that it wasn’t Good News Week. Everyone’s entitled to their opinion, but it’s been a tough year for comedy” they continued, showing how much they’d learnt from the program’s failure to come up with one single decent sketch. Next year Good News Week will return in a series of specials filmed in live venues, so make sure you avoid those.

The long-awaited gay science fiction fan sitcom Outland will finally air next year, as will a sitcom from Josh Thomas called Please Like Me, and Frank Woodley’s Woodley. There’s also Myf Warhurst’s light-hearted mockumentry Nice, and Agony Aunts and Agony Uncles which sounds suspiciously like a sort of a re-working of Grumpy Old Men and Grumply Old Women. There are some quite good people involved in that last one, though.

Returning series include Adam Hills – In Gordon Street Tonight, Lowdown, Laid and Gruen. We also wouldn’t be surprised if The Hamster Wheel comes back, although nothing’s been announced.

Also not yet announced is the air date for The Games – London Calling, John Clarke and Ross Stevenson’s 2012 reworking of The Games for Channel 9. Perhaps we’ll hear about that closer to when the London Olympics are scheduled to happen, which is 27 July-12 August?

The people behind Review with Myles Barlow have two new projects, the first being a sitcom called This Christmas, and the second being the sketch comedy website which is “holding a sketch comedy competition whereby people can contribute ideas and the winning entry will be produced and screened on the site”. “We feel that there is a lot of undiscovered and really funny talent out there who aren’t in the industry and we’re keen to provide an accessible outlet”, said Executive Producer Jason Burrows. Let’s hope he’s right.

Also making use of online for sketch comedy is Shannon Marinko from The Bazura Project, who made a great sketch recently which is a parody of The Bolt Report. Hopefully he and comedy partner Lee Zachariah will be back with something in the near future – this sketch proves they’ve got the talent to make comedy on all sorts of topics beyond film.

And with lots of shows having either ended or due to end very soon, we’re going to start turning our attention to the 2011 Australian Tumbleweed Awards. Nominations and voting kick off shortly!

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  • richard says:

    Micallef is the most exciting. Finally he gets away from the drivel that is TAYG

    And if he brings Tony Martin onto the writing/acting staff (a John Oliver Doppelganger?) I will “bar up*”

    *(c) Gavin Wood

  • 13 schoolyards says:

    What is it going to take to finally kill off GNW? It’s got more lives than a robot cat. It’s not so much that the format itself doesn’t have a place on Australian television, but the same host(s)? The same joke(s)?

  • James says:

    A few you missed –

    COMEDY (6 X 30’)
    Move over heart throbs, it is time to meet the desperate, the dateless and the downright delusional as we celebrate the greatest love stories never told. From gay Thai boys, to the morbidly obese, and a brother and sister in love, LOVE.SICK follows the hilarious and provocative love stories of a collection of bizarre characters. From the creators and stars of the controversial 2011 Tropfest Finalist A Family Affair, Stevo and Melinda, along with Producer Craig Anderson (Double the Fist). Produced by CraigFX in association with ABC TV.

    COMEDY (6 x 30’)
    Hapless city cop Toby Banks has been demoted to night duty in the sleepy beachside town of Coolum. Working out of a rundown caravan on the outskirts of town, he meets Gregor, Coolum’s night security man, board game collector and paranormal authority. They team up to investigate ‘The Strange Calls’ – bizarre late night phone calls that expose the paranormal mysteries haunting the town. It’s a place where men turn into chickens, mermaids fall in love with locals and cats return from the grave. THE STRANGE CALLS also offers a multi-platform experience that invites the audience to interact with its colourful characters via Twitter, share their own paranormal stories on the companion website, and uncover more of this rich and bizarre story world online. Created and written by Daley Pearson. Produced by Hoodlum in association with ABC TV, Screen Australia and Screen Queensland.

    Full list –

  • 13 schoolyards says:

    Thanks for that, good to see ABC2 still trying new things. Oddly, that list doesn’t seem to feature Shaun Micallef’s ABC series…

  • James says:

    That’s odd. Here it is –

    One man, a desk, the world…
    Shaun Micallef returns to ABC TV in 2012 in a half-hour weekly round-up, branding, inoculation and crutching of all the important news stories in SHAUN MICALLEF IS MAD AS HELL.
    “So, what’s this show all about? A good question, if I do say so – and it’s exactly that sort of direct, no-nonsense questioning of even myself that’s going to make this show the must-see event television that’s been virtually killed off by Kyle and Jackie O’s A Night with the Stars.” says Shaun Micallef.
    Presented by Australia’s second favourite comedian and his like-minded Think Tank of reporters and pundits, SHAUN MICALLEF IS MAD AS HELL offers not only reportage and analysis of the week’s events, but discussion, argument and dissection of what’s making the world turn every which way.
    “We are thrilled to be working with Shaun on this exciting new project for ABC TV. Shaun’s unique talents will be bought to the fore on this weekly wrap of world events and Australian issues. It will be funny, insightful, honest, and just a little bit surreal, with that signature Micallef tone.” says Amanda Duthie, Head of Arts and Entertainment.
    SHAUN MICALLEF IS MAD AS HELL is produced by Granada Media and Micallef Productions in association with ABC TV. 10 x 30min