Circling the Drain

We know we’ve been focusing a lot on The Weekly over the last few months because Jesus fuck who thinks putting Tom Gleeson on twice an episode is a good idea? C’mon, he’s the weakest link and yet they’re pounding away like somehow after two decades he’s going to suddenly spark up and deliver the goods. Then again, he’s the only one off The Weekly who’s been given his own spin-off show so clearly getting laughs doesn’t count like it used to. Hell, even Denton had to be funny before they’d let him host Randling.

But what about the shows around it on what was once the ABC’s comedy fortress of Wednesday nights? Let’s cast our minds back to last week, when on the ABC’s big night of comedy we had:

a): Anh’s Brush with Fame. Featuring Anh Do painting the portrait of Rosie Batty, anti-domestic violence spokeswoman. That’s a bundle of laughs right there, but it got even better when Do revealed he’d also painted a portrait of her dead son, who was murdered by her mentally ill ex at a sporting ground. He then revealed the portrait, and she broke down. Hilarious!

b): The Weekly. Nuff said.

c): You Can’t Ask That. This episode’s laff-tastic subject: suicide! Oh for fuck’s sake.

This week’s line-up wasn’t quite as bad – while Do was painting the portrait of one of The Wiggles (fun!) we did notice the show had the increasingly common comedy coda of “if this show has raised issues, here’s the suicide hotline” – and You Can’t Ask That was about military veterans, not all of whom were now suicidal or on drugs. It did end with the suicide hotline advice though. They really should just add that to The Weekly‘s end credits, just for consistency’s sake.

But it does raise the question: what is all this grim stuff doing on what even now is still vaguely promoted as the ABC’s big night of comedy? Oh wait, the ABC’s been working hard to redefine comedy as something closer to “vaguely entertaining” for years now, so celebrity tear-jerking and public service announcements pretty much fit the bill. Suicide and dead kids: you have to laugh.

It is in no way surprising then that one of the commercial networks – you know, the ones that are actually interested in entertaining their audiences – decided to go up against the ABC on a Wednesday night with some actual comedy:

Beloved co-host of The Project, TV Week Gold Logie nominee and all round funny man Peter Helliar brings his trademark humour to Peter Helliar: One Hot Mess.

A natural-born entertainer, Peter’s characterisations, terrible accents and relentless and infectious energy have kept him at the top of the comedy world ever since he rose to prominence on Rove in 1999.

Now a household name alongside Carrie Bickmore and Waleed Aly onThe Project, Peter has earned himself a nomination for the coveted Gold Logie, one of the Australian television industry’s highest honours, at tonight’s TV Week Logie Awards.

Peter Helliar: One Hot Mess sees Peter take a hilariously affectionate swipe at Australian suburbia, sport, family and fatherhood, as he brings his hit stand-up show to television audiences.

Will it be one hot mess or one mess of hotness? Either way, it is going to be both hot and messy.

Peter Helliar: One Hot Mess.
Wednesday At 8.30pm on TEN & WIN.

If you missed this latest installment in a seemingly never-ending run of stand-up comedy specials, you can watch it here. Or just forget we even brought it up.

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  • Andrew says:

    I watched The Weekly for the first time in ages. The interview with the forensic entomologist I have to admit was actually interesting but it ain’t comedy.

  • David M says:

    “A natural-born entertainer, Peter’s characterisations, terrible accents and relentless and infectious energy have kept him at the top of the comedy world ever since he rose to prominence on Rove in 1999.”

    Jeez, that’s false advertising if ever I heard it.