We love a good mystery here at Australian Tumbleweeds – after all, what bigger mystery is there than “why isn’t Australian comedy funny?” – so we’ve been following developments (or lack thereof) regarding John Conway Tonight with some interest. Fellow mystery fans may recall that after three weeks on air Sunday nights on ABC2 John Conway Tonight – a ramshackle but often entertaining quasi-parody of tonight show professionalism filmed in a pub back room – vanished from schedules:
Since then word got out that the show – which had been contracted for ten weeks – would be continuing with co-host Aaron Chen taking over the host’s chair. And lo and behold, first a dress rehearsal was announced on May 10th:
By May 14th it had been bumped up in status to an actual episode with Chen in the driver seat:
— AARON CHEN (@aaronch3n) May 14, 2017
Those of you with access to either a functioning time machine or working TV listings will know that no episode of Aaron Chen Tonight aired on May 14th. Nor did one air on May 21st. And while an episode is currently listed to screen on May 28th, the listing seems pretty generic (it’s just for John Conway Tonight with no specific details) so we’re not overly confident it’s not just a leftover from the days when John Conway Tonight really was screening every week.
So what happened? Usually we’d simply assume the May 14th episode was a mess and ABC2 have cut their losses, but with the way John Conway Tonight has been going from the start – we’re considering officially adding “ill-fated” to the title – who knows what’s really going on? Do they need time to completely rework the show without John Conway? Are they waiting for Conway to return as host (which would explain the listing for this Sunday)? There’s no mention of further episodes being filmed on the Cafe Lounge Facebook page so it seems safe to assume that whatever the John Conway Tonight team are up to, they’re not filming new episodes there.
As we all too often say when discussing Australian comedy, it’s a real mystery.