Vale Have You Been Paying Attention? series 6

Have You Been Paying Attention? is a constant on our screens. It’s on air somewhere between 25-30 times a year, providing solid, easy-going laughs on a night of the week when most people are tired and cranky, and reluctantly staring down the barrel of another four days at work.

Have You Been Paying Attention?

It’s a tonic that most people can enjoy. The questions are pitched so that even the most casual of news junkies can get a few questions right at home, and everything including the giving of the answers is an opportunity for a laugh.

The show was good when it first started and its solid foundation of accessible quiz plus as many laughs as possible suggest that it’ll probably still be on air when endlessly rotating series of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette are just a distant memory.

Speaking of which, if you’ve been watching Have You Been Paying Attention? since the start, the only changes have been the increase in running gags (most of which are good, and only a few of which are over-done) and the increase in sponsored segments and celebrity guests spruiking something. We could live without the latter, but they’re usually done as well as they can be, with most of the guests prepared to joke around or have the piss ripped out of them to some extent. It’s an approach we wish more entertainment shows would take; Graham Kennedy, in the early days of Australian television, realised that the best way to get an audience to tolerate ads was to make them funny – and that’s exactly what Have You Been Paying Attention? is doing.

And, in many ways, that’s the cleverest aspect of Have You Been Paying Attention?, the sleight-of-hand way it puts across the content it needs to put across, whilst injecting as much slightly-subversive, topical humour as it can get away. It may not seem innovative, or even interesting, if you judge it by the standards of the live circuit, or podcasts, or Mad As Hell, but in commercial television terms it is. When was the last time you saw The Project do it? Or even Charlie Pickering?

In a world where comedy on commercial television is usually somewhere between “not great” and “really awful” (hello, How to Stay Married), Have You Been Paying Attention? is a real stand-out.

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