If everything else on commercial television wasn’t already a local remake of some successful show from America or Britain or South Korea, you might wonder why Network 10 was bothering to make a local version of the British comedy panel show Would I Lie To You? Australian commercial television has rarely succeeded at comedy panel shows. This blog is littered with reviews of shows like Can of Worms, which was hosted for two series by Would I Lie To You? Australia’s host Chrissie Swan, or The Unbelievable Truth, which featured one of Would I Lie To You? Australia’s team captains Chris Taylor.
The real reason Would I Lie To You? Australia exists is probably because Have You Been Paying Attention? isn’t back yet. And 10 wants to make Monday nights on 10 the year-round home of comedy. If true, it’s a worthy aim, but Would I Like To You? Australia will have to sharpen up a bit to be worthy of keeping Have You Been Paying Attention?’s seat warm.
The British original of Would I Lie To You? is fast-paced and, crucially, lasts only half an hour. Would I Like To You? Australia has its moments, comedically, but goes on for far too long. We get it, a commercial TV half-hour isn’t enough time to do this show justice. Yet a commercial TV hour really out-stays its welcome when it comes to this format.
In case you don’t know the concept, host Chrissie Swan asks team captains Chris Taylor and Frank Woodley, and guests Ross Noble and Carrie Bickmore (on Chris’ team) and Zoe Coombs-Marr and Luke McGregor (on Frank’s team), to tell us a series of tall tales. The opposing team then has to say if the story is true or a lie. If the opposition is right, they win. If they’re wrong, the storyteller team wins.
Or something like that because who actually cares? We tuned in for laughs, and what with the need to stretch out the show to fill the timeslot, we got less than we should have. Having said that, Ross Noble’s story about making sandcastles with Rod Stewart had its moments, as did Luke McGregor’s unbelievable claim that he’s highly skilled at taekwondo. McGregor was probably the best on the night, also claiming that he’d once serenaded a woman called Vanessa with an original composition – part of which he played. Points also go to Frank Woodley for his story about guest-hosting Hey! Hey! It’s Saturday, which led to some fun gags about Daryl Somers.
The problem with Would I Lie To You? Australia, though, is the pacing: there are too few gags and it goes on way too long. Even the faster pace promised by the ‘Quick Fire’ round was a disappointment, with things seeming to drag on for as long as they did for all the other rounds. Sort out the pacing and up the gag rate and this could be decent, but that may also mean reducing the timeslot, and will 10 really want to go there?