Press release time!
SKIT BOX in production on WHAM BAM THANK YOU MA’AM for ABC’s FRESH BLOOD
Tuesday, August 16, 2016 — Fresh off the back of worldwide viral sensation Activewear, Sydney based Skit Box have passed the halfway mark filming their Fresh Blood series Wham Bam Thank You Ma’am. This 6×30 minute sketch series has been commissioned thanks to a partnership between ABC TV, Screen Australia and NBCUniversal’s ad-free comedy streaming channel Seeso.
The series is written, directed and stars Adele Vuko (Soul Mates, This Is Littleton), Greta Lee Jackson (Crazy Bastards, In a Woman’s World) and Sarah Bishop (Red Christmas, Crushed).
Skit Box is well positioned to deliver comedy from a uniquely female perspective; as well as the three Creator / Writer / Directors, the Executive Producer, Producer, Cinematographer, Production Designer, Hair, Makeup and Costume Designers are all women. Erin White, Nikos Andronicos and Kacie Anning also guest direct.
Wham Bam Thank You Ma’am features a range of sketch formats with recurring characters and storylines, as well as unique one-off content in each episode. Special guests include David Collins (Umbilical Brothers), Triple J’s Matt Okine and Christiaan Van Vuuren (Bondi Hipsters). Fellow Fresh Blood initiative recipients Aunty Donna, Henry Stone, Paul Ayre and Veronica Milsom complete a lineup of established and emerging Australian comedians.
“It’s great that we get to make a show that dissects modern sexism whilst also watching guys in our crew carry lots of heavy stuff for us,” said Sarah.
“We were really excited to create a show with Screen Australia, ABC, Seeso and Screen NSW, they are all such a wealth of support and are so pragmatic about fostering new and creative show ideas,” said Adele.
“Have you ever noticed that Donald Duck walks around without pants, but when he loses his shirt, he covers his lower half? What’s up with that?” asked Greta.
Screen Australia and ABC’s Fresh Blood initiative has been kickstarting the careers of young comedy writers, directors and performers since 2013. With Seeso now coming on board the series will also be available in the US, helping to grow the profile of Australia’s best new comedy creators.
“Watching these talented women grow over the past two years has been a privilege. I am so grateful to our backers for Fresh Blood, giving emerging talent like Skit Box a breakthrough into the industry,” said producer Michelle Hardy.
Head of ABC Entertainment Jon Casimir said, “The team behind Wham Bam are the best kind of troublemakers: smart, funny, charming and full of bite. We’re lucky to know them and even luckier to be launching their debut comedy series on the world.”
“It has been extremely rewarding to see Skit Box progress through the ranks of Fresh Blood, moving from their hilarious gender-bending sketches, to a confident and popular pilot capable of attracting international finance for this full series. We’re sure Adele, Sarah & Greta will make a blistering debut season,” said Mike Cowap, Screen Australia’s Investment Manager.
Seeso’s Kelsey Balance said: “It’s a dream come true to work with such a talented team of strong, comedic women. Their hilarious and poignant sketches have already made an impact in the zeitgeist in an international way and we can’t wait to share this show with our US audience.”
Skit Box have achieved over 30 million hits worldwide and have been featured internationally on The New York Times, Buzzfeed, NBC’s The Today Show, InStyle, Glamour, Perez Hilton, The Huffington Post, Cosmopolitan and many more. They were recently named on Mamamia’s list of Australia’s Top 10 Female Comedians.
As well as Wham Bam Thank You Ma’am, Skit Box have several upcoming high profile projects including their award winning live comedy stage show Skit Box Presents, and a feature film The Retreat which is in development with Screen Australia.
Seeso is a new digital comedy streaming channel from NBCUniversal and have already picked up several other Australian ABC comedies including Soul Mates and Fancy Boy.
Sure, we didn’t exactly love Skit Box’s Fresh Blood effort, but hey, what’s new there.
What’s slightly more interesting is the way that the ABC seems to have basically given up on doing anything more than fuck-all with new talent – unless it’s Luke McGregor. The situation we now have seems to go something like this:
a): be a comedian or comedy group that’s good enough or has contacts enough to have people saying “why don’t they have a TV show?”
b): get onto one of the ABC’s numerous initiatives to develop new talent.
c): ignore or fail to realise that the ABC has zero interest in actually doing anything involving new talent as they only have maybe a half dozen comedy slots a year and once you factor in The Weekly, The Chaser, Gruen, Shaun Micallef – he’s coming back with Mad as Hell and Ex PM next year, by the way – and the three or four other established shows competing for the other slot (Black Comedy, Utopia, Upper Middle Bogan, whatever the Tasmanian government wants to fund) – there’s literally no money for anything else.
d): get US funding. C’mon, out of ABC TV, Screen Australia and “NBCUniversal’s ad-free comedy streaming channel Seeso”, who do you think is holding the purse strings?
e): become a US show – or, more likely, already be the kind of generic “international” comedy that’s largely influenced by US comedians.
f): have just enough Australian input that the ABC can put out press releases like this in an attempt to make it look like they’re nurturing local talent.
g): be aired in Australia as “local content” despite being almost entirely bought and paid for from overseas.
And if you’re Please Like Me, you can then:
h): rate extremely badly.
i): keep coming back because the Americans are paying for new episodes.
j): gradually alienate audiences because it now looks like the ABC is spending money on a show people actively dislike.
“It has been extremely rewarding to see Skit Box progress through the ranks of Fresh Blood, moving from their hilarious gender-bending sketches, to a confident and popular pilot capable of attracting international finance for this full series.”
Guess we should stop trying to pitch that reboot of Kingswood Country then.
So Pivot TV, the recurring saviour of “Please Like Me”, is closing down in the states sometime before the end of this year. Presumably before the currently-fliming series 4 actually airs.
I’m sure you’ll experience some schadenfreude.