The New News

Submitted without comment.

         Wednesday Night Fever cast

set for late night comedy antics


Premieres Wednesday July 3 at 9:30pm on ABC1



ABC TV today announced that Wednesday Night Fever – its new, late night, weekly comedy series from the makers of controversial hit At Home with Julia – will premiere on Wednesday, July 3 at 9:30pm on ABC1.

Hosted by rising comedian and first-time frontman Sammy J, and featuring tasteful metal outfit Boner Contention as house band, Wednesday Night Fevers ensemble cast includes some of Australia’s best comic performers and impersonators including: Amanda Bishop (At Home with Julia); Paul McCarthy (Comedy Inc. – The Late Shift, At Home with Julia); Genevieve Morris (Comedy Inc. – The Late Shift); Dave Eastgate (A Moody Christmas, Elegant Gentleman’s Guide to Knife Fighting); Heath Franklin (‘Chopper’ of The Ronnie Johns Half Hour); Melbourne Comedy Festival sensation Anne Edmonds; music theatre star Lisa Adam and Robin Goldsworthy (At Home with Julia, Paper Giants).

Airing over seven weeks, the 30 minute weekly program will feature an array of topical impersonations, satirical characters, musical comedy and special guests – all in front of a live studio audience. 

Jennifer Collins, ABC TV’s Head of Entertainment, said “It’s a stellar cast with the smart and witty Sammy J at the helm. The series will be a playground for these great comedic talents.  We’re thrilled to have satirical sketch comedy in prime time, delivering a unique take on the latest news from around the world and here at home.”

Creator/Producer Rick Kalowski said, “I’m relieved to finally have a host and cast after it fell apart with Rolf Harris and The Comanchero bikie gang”.

Wednesday Night Fever is a Quail Television and ABC TV co-production for ABC1. Quail Television Executive Producers are Rick Kalowski and Greg Quail.  ABC Executive Producer is Sophia Zachariou.

“We’re thrilled to have satirical sketch comedy in prime time”. So no-one at the ABC actually watches Shaun Micallef’s Mad as Hell then?

Okay, we do have a comment: Sammy J is good, some of the other cast members are not. Well, not bad-at-their-job bad – they’re just people who’ve been associated with so many duds at this stage that they really need an extended break (the old “you’ve got to leave before you can make a comeback” theory) to avoid that feeling that we’re just seeing the same old faces. And as that’s the feeling that’s killed at birth pretty much every single ABC panel show of the last five years, that’s not a good thing.

This is a problem that’s hardly ever addressed: after so many lean years Australia’s professional comedy talent pool, for whatever reason, is largely tainted with the stench of failure. Again, it’s not a slight on them as comedians, as often the problem with the failed shows wasn’t their fault. But it remains a fact: there are comedy performers out there whose names are associated with failure, who are firmly linked in the public’s mind with unfunny shows that tried too hard or not hard enough, who actively turn viewers away from trying something new by reminding them of shows they didn’t enjoy.

Whether seven episodes is enough to turn around those perceptions remains, like everything else about this show, to be seen.

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  • BIlly C says:

    I’d be more interested in knowing who the writers are going to be and how many they have.
    Sammy J is a very good live performer. The Forrest of Dreams is one of the best shows I have ever seen and since then he’s not been too shabby either. Anne Edmonds is a good choice too. Going for impersonators has limited their casting ability. That’s a specific skill but this is a combination of cast members from Let Loose Live, Ben Elton Live From Planet Earth, Comedy Inc and the Ronny Johns Show. It was almost certainly tank and cast a shadow across the rest of Kalowski’s time at the ABC. If it’s not a hit every producer will be sitting in meetings think he has no idea what he’s talking about.

  • James says:

    “It was almost certainly tank and cast a shadow across the rest of Kalowski’s time at the ABC. If it’s not a hit every producer will be sitting in meetings think he has no idea what he’s talking about.”

    Ooh you make an excellent point.

  • Urinal Cake says:

    Well going by this line, “I’m relieved to finally have a host and cast after it fell apart with Rolf Harris and The Comanchero bikie gang” I’d say he’s off to a bad start.

  • Jimbo says:

    C’mon guys, have your souls been eaten away by many years of crap comedy on the ABC? Ok, well yes, they probably have. But I’m keen to give this show a go, if only for the fact that Josh Fracking Thomas does not seem to be in it.

    My ultimate ABC fantasy (aside from being in a three-way with Karina Carvalho and Julia Baird – perferably live on The Drum) is to see a return of the Big Gig, with the Chaser boys on writing duties. They could bring back all the greats – DAAS, Empty Pockets, Shirley Purvis, Harmer, Kitson, Ackroyd, Nicholas, Bongo, Flacco, etc, etc. I’ve gone all gooey just thinking about it…

  • Billy C says:

    I’ll certainly give it a go. Just like I gave Dirty Laundry Live a go for one ep. But it’s got to hold my interest as much or as more as any of the U.K or U.S shows I can buy on itunes or watch on DVD. Sammy J is a real talent but impersonations done live or live to tape are very dated. Look at Ben Elton’s Girl Flat. It will be punchline sketches that will end with a thud. Live sketch does not work on tv in this country. It barely works on Saturday Night Live. It only worked on the late show when it was intentionally shonky.
    We don’t have a live sketch tradition anymore and we also don’t have the shared entertainment culture to make fun of. Everything is too fragmented. Did you see that ad? No. Did you see that hit video clip? No. Did you watch tv last night? Yeah a braking bad box set but we can’t talk about it till I’m finished.

    They’ll be doing impersonations of people where most of the audience will have no idea who they are impersonating. Unless they entirely stick to politicians in which case they’ll lose the younger audiences. The fact the band is called boner contention is going to give you an idea of the tone. It’s not right for the ABC1 audience. It should be on ABC2 to start off with. At home with Julia was broad comedy mocking the Prime Minister. Of course it rate but by it’s final ep it had lost 25% of it’s audience. If it was 5 eps it would have dropped off even more (imho). I commend the ABC the trying something new I just wonder why they built it out of the corpses of unsuccessful shows.

  • Baron von Chicken-Pants says:

    So the collective noun for comedy failures is ‘ensemble’?

  • Urinal Cake says:

    The truth is Jimbo, when Josh Thomas left our screens he also took our laughter.

  • Jimbo says:

    Just admit it – you want to blow Josh.

  • Urinal Cake says:

    What is this highschool?

    Here Jimbo here’s a proper homophobic comeback:
    You’re the one that calls him Josh ‘Fracking’ Thomas. You want to semen his colon.

  • Jimbo says:

    Girlfriend, are you having your period or something?

  • billy c says:

    No it’ an “Elton”.