Hey, we’re back for 2019! And given that comedy never sleeps these days, here’s our round-up of all the comedy you may have missed or deliberately avoided so far this year.
A Rational Fear
Dan Ilic’s A Rational Fear has been an off-again/on-again satirical radio show and/or podcast for the past seven years, being revived, shelved or re-worked as Ilic’s comedy career has ebbed and flowed. Most recently, it was revived for five weeks on ABC radio before and after Christmas, with ABC stars and fellow ex-Tonightly colleagues joining the panel. Jazz Tremolow, Chris Taylor, Veronica Milsom and Lewis Hobba were amongst those involved. If you’ve been missing Tonightly‘s woke, left-leaning comedy, it was a decent substitute – and Ilic’s Alan Jones impression is fun too. Problem is, A Rational Fear is only ever going to appear on actual radio in a late-night timeslot in the middle of Summer because radio comedy of this type isn’t something any broadcaster, even the ABC, is ever going to revive. Any show that isn’t one person talking, maybe to callers, before cutting to some Adult Contemporary, costs too much. And also, if topical satire’s your bag, you probably got it from scrolling through a comedian’s Twitter accounts earlier that day.
Hughsey, We Have A Problem
Is it just us, or is Dave Hughes turning into a shabbier Mick Jagger only without any of the stage presence? It’s the hair mostly – the instant Hughes opens his mouth to begin speaking in his trademark “shouting robot” cadence any resemblance between Hughsey and someone entertaining vanishes, but it was fun while it lasted. Which sadly can’t really be said for this show, which definitely has its moments each week as the panel yells at each other about various “totally real” problems suffered by average losers, but generally overstays its welcome by around 15 minutes an episode. Unless Kate Langbroek is on (like she was last week), in which case just axe the whole thing after the first ad break.
Mark Humphries on 7:30
Mark Humphries was back on 7:30 earlier than we might have expected and so far it’s been business as usual – one mildly funny observation stretched out for two or three minutes. And if you thought you recognised the phrase “one mildly funny observation stretched out for two or three minutes”, that’s because we used it in the 2018 Australian Tumbleweeds Awards to describe Mark Humphries’ 7:30 sketches. We would have written something different, but given he never does, why bother?
Rosehaven season 3
Everyone’s favourite quirky duo living in a quirky small town in Australia’s quirkiest state are back! How much you love this low key, “unhurried” (actual quote from a Fairfax review) series depends in large part on how much time you’ve spent in an actual small town, as this fantasy version is total bullshit. Which wouldn’t matter in the slightest if it was funny, but as this is aiming to be Seachange without the sexual tension, all we’re left with is a handful of “jokes” about adopting a pig and some halfway decent banter that suggests that stars Luke McGregor and Ceclia Pacquola would actually be pretty good in a completely different series. Which would be Utopia, back sometime in the next year or so.
The Family Law season 3
This one’s already been and gone, and being burnt off during non-ratings as three lots of double episodes suggests that SBS might not have been quite as confident in this as they were back when they said “sure, do another season”. Considering just how many overseas shows there are out there about awkward teens and teens figuring out their sexuality and so on, you’d have thought this might have finally tapped into the zeitgeist. But for some reason that would require more thought to identify than we’re willing to give it, The Family Law never quite clicked. Partly the problem was that Law’s comedy mum kept grabbing the spotlight: more than just about any other genre, teen shows have to be about teens if they’re going to work. Parents are great as minor supporting characters, but unless you’re making a family sitcom (which is a very different vibe) that’s it. The whole point (and fun) of teen shows is that teens live lives where parents hardly get a look-in: The Family Law was like going over to a friend’s place to hang out, only to have their mum constantly sticking her head around the door asking if you wanted a biscuit.