We Hope You Haven’t Been Paying Too Much Attention

Generally speaking Channel Ten isn’t our first stop for comedy viewing – especially since they released all their upcoming Australian comedy online a few weeks back – so it’s taken us a little longer than it should have to discover this:

Stick with it – the good stuff’s at the end.

This promo answers one of the two questions we had about the return of have You Been Paying Attention for 2020 (okay, it answers two of three, as we did wonder if they were going to come back at all for a while there). It wasn’t completely out of the question that they’d be back together in a studio – The Project is still studio-based, only now the hosts are a lot more spread out at the desk – but short of filming it in a university lecture hall getting that many people together in the one space just isn’t going to happen for a few more months yet.

Whether this approach is actually going to work is a different question. Given a decent internet connection and enough time to get the editing right, there’s no real reason why it shouldn’t, though losing the free-flowing banter between the panelists is definitely going to be a bit of a blow. It’s the fast pace that made HYBPA a step above your average meandering Aussie panel show, and if they can’t find a way to keep that then they’re going to be in a bit of strife.

The other problem is that… well, have you looked at the news lately? Not only is it not exactly hilarious, there’s not a whole lot of it. Turns out when people don’t leave their homes for fear of death they don’t tend to do much that’s fodder for a comedy take on the week’s events; no wonder Mad as Hell is increasingly running longer sketches about non-topical subjects.

Which means even if HYBPA can overcome the technical difficulties (and really, there’s no reason why they can’t: numerous UK panel shows are already trying things over Skype, so Working Dog should have at least some guide as what not to do), they may struggle to find enough material for an hour a week every week. Which means the temptation’s got to be there to let the panelists ramble on a bit, and suddenly we’re back to a traditional panel show. Which is the last thing any of us want.

Obviously this is all speculation. For all we know, they may only need a couple weeks of non-stop jokes about being arrested for leaving the house, illegal dinner parties and trying to get refunds on cruise ship tickets before there’s enough non-plague news to keep things moving along. Fingers crossed: if there’s one thing worse than a lethal pandemic, it’s having Peter Helliar make jokes about it.

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