While doing his regular hosting duties on Triple M Melbourne’s Hot Breakfast radio show with Eddie McGuire, Mick Molloy has a regular chat to Triple M Brisbane’s The Grill Team at after 8am weekdays. The conversations are usually having a chin-wag with Greg “Marto” Martin, Michelle Anderson and Ed Kavalee about the odd stories in the world and sport.

On Friday August 8 show, Kavalee touched on a bit of The Late Show history – probing the stories he’s been told from some of the cast. Molloy responded, with amusing results. It also could explain why there were a few episodes where Tony would actually look a bit miffed to explain where Mick was…

You can catch his regular segments as well as Kavalee and the crew on The Grill Team Brisbane on 104.5FM Triple M weekdays. Stream online or download the podcast.

You can also catch Mick on The Hot Breakfast with Eddie McGuire on 105.1FM Triple M Melbourne. Stream online or download the podcast.

Category: Audio, TV

UtopiaRobSitchTime flies quickly..

As mentioned September last year, a new 8 part dramedy series from Working Dog is about to touch down on ABC.

Beginning Wednesday August 13 8:30pm on ABC, the teasers for Utopia are popping up. Headed by Rob Sitch, it appears the talent pool has been expanded with Celia PacquolaLuke MacGregor and Kitty Flanagan added to the cast.

Mark it in your diary now.

Category: News, TV, Video
Martin "Marty" Di Stasio, Brooke Vandenberg, Mike Moore

YouTubing their way on the information super-highway.

In a near-echoing statement to our previous report here, our favourite hard-hitting journalists Mike Moore, Brooke Vandenberg and Martin Di Stasio are now embracing YouTube – in full.

The multi Logie award winning satire show Frontline which Working Dog took an amusing look behind the scenes of current affairs TV in 3 x 13 episode seasons have been given the YouTube treatment, thanks to digital distributor Valleyarm.

That’s right – all 13 episodes, all legal.

Subscribe: Frontline YouTube


While you can still purchase the full 3 seasons on DVD, there may potentially be added extras coming to the YouTube channel.

Just like everything on the internet, just add “sex” and stir.

Category: DVD, News, TV, Video
The Late Show on YouTube now? Yas-sir!

The Late Show on YouTube now?

For years, you (and us) – the dedicated fan, have dealt with wearing out your VHS tapes of the Best Bits of The Late Show.

In 2001, the release of the Best Bits as Champagne Edition DVDs with added extras.

Then in 2007 Bargearse and The Olden Days received a release on DVD with even more extras and easter eggs.

But you’ve never had the opportunity to carry around your DVDs to show to your friends when you start randomly quoting a scene. Or you drive past Captain Cook’s Cabin, only to giggle because all you think of is Moorabbin, resulting in trying to explain to the uneducated what the connection was. Or you lent out your DVDs to friends, only to not get them back. Or you’re at a friend’s dinner party, trying to explain why you keep talking about Mount Everest.

DVD players aren’t the most accessible thing, but guess what?

You can now turn to the official YouTube channel of The Late Show for your Champagne sketch comedy needs!

No longer do you need to rely on poor quality video-dubbed transfers. The good people at Working Dog have joined forces with Valleyarm and MCN Melbourne to get our favourite moments onto the interwebs in high quality – enough for you to enjoy without blowing your bandwidth budget. If you look hard enough, you’ll see the full length and uncut Bargearse, The Olden Days and episodes of Charlie the Wonderdog.

Subscribe: The Late Show YouTube  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCieI9ZtptY8ncJFWXEukecA/featured

Rumours are too that there may be other videos surfacing from the vault, so make sure you click the link above to subscribe for updates.

But wait – there’s more!!

The radio serial-turn-6 episode series starring Cassie, Grant, Stix and Poncho – aka the 1995 ABC show Funky Squad has made the way to the internets too!

Subscribe: Funky Squad YouTube

With all 6 full episodes at your own viewing peril, watch the crime-fighting team breaking down barriers and kick butt!

Make sure you still get the DVD – as there’s a bonus Funky Squad comic embedded within, viewable by PC/Mac.

Category: DVD, TV, Video

If you haven’t already heard, Santo, Tom and Rob have written a new satire called The Speechmaker which is making its debut on 31 May at Arts Centre, Melbourne. Do pop along if you are there! It runs until 5 July. And we’d love to hear what you thought of it by posting a review on the forum!

The plot, as described on the Melbourne Theatre Company website:

Air Force One is London-bound for a surprise Christmas meeting between the US President and the British PM. It will be a diplomatic coup, not to mention one hell of a media opportunity – a no-risk vote-winner for the price of a little jet fuel, and the chance for the Leader of the Free World to give the speech of a lifetime.

Yet with the seatbelt signs barely switched off, what appears to be a major international crisis begins to unfold. As the stakes rise and the clock ticks, the President and his advisors are forced to make some uncomfortable decisions. Boasting a stellar ensemble cast featuring Erik Thomson (Packed to the Rafters) as the President, as well as Offspring’s Lachy Hulme and Kat Stewart, The Speechmaker promises to be an exhilarating stage debut from one of this country’s most successful creative groups.

The Speechmaker poster

Here’s a video of Rob discussing great political speeches of our time on Melbourne’s 3AW talk radio.

Category: News

Eurovision! The Budget! There’s simply so much news to dissect this week. Thankfully, the Working Dog team are back on our screens to help us make sense of it all.
Have You Been Paying Attention? 9.30pm Monday, 19 May, Channel 10.

Category: Uncategorized

Monday May 9, 1994 – the cathode ray tube of your 34 cm colour TV turns on and you fiddle with your rabbit ears antenna to view Channel 2 at 8 o’clock at night.

The reason?

After The Late Show chalked and wrapped up its second season in late 1993, The team that was The D-Generation split to do their own projects: Tony Martin and Mick Molloy did their own thing before venturing into the Austereo offices to form Martin/Molloy in 1995, Jason Stephens went behind the camera on various projects, and Jane Kennedy, Rob Sitch, Tom Gleisner & Santo Cilauro created Working Dog Productions to create a satirical dramedy 26 minute show that focused on behind / during the scenes of creating and developing a 30 minute current affairs show based on commercial TV – Frontline.

So who fronted the fake show?

Martin "Marty" Di Stasio, Brooke Vandenberg, Mike Moore

Martin “Marty” Di Stasio, Brooke Vandenberg, Mike Moore

Mike Moore (played by Rob Sitch): The anchor who is quite self-centred and dim-witted without even realising it. He takes his career seriously, while others make a mockery out of him behind (and sometimes in front) of his back. Moore has the hallmarks of well known anchors of current affairs shows in the 1990s – without stating the obvious hairstyle is based upon – and believes he’s firm and fair. Very lovable.

Brooke Vandenberg (played by Jane Kennedy): A highly popular reporter on Frontline who also is in place for the anchor baton to be passed onto. While hitting the ground hard with investigative journalism, Vandenberg seeks the spotlight as much as possible, while fueling her ego. She finds Moore repulsive and also loves to party. Just not the consequences afterwards.

Martin Di Stasio (played by Tiriel Mora): A senior reporter who while loves his job, sometimes does not give a shit about everything else and is more often laid back and does not hesitate signing a deal. Di Stasio usually goes for the softer, sympathetic tear-jerker stories.

There are so many secondary characters to mention – so here’s a brief list (not all, though):

Emma Ward (Alison Whyte): Line Producer for Frontline.
Kate Preston (Trudy Hellier): Segment Producer for Frontline.
Geoffrey Salter (Santo Cilauro): Weatherman for the TV network and Mike Moore’s best friend.
Brian Thompson (Bruno Lawrence): Frontline Executive Producer in Season 1. Unfortunately Lawrence died of lung cancer between Seasons 1 and 2, so the Thompson character was written out as being ‘fired’ off-screen.
Sam Murphy (Kevin J Wilson): Executive Producer who is hired after Brian is ‘fired’ for Season 2.
Graeme Prowse (Steve Bisley): Executive Producer who is hired after Sam retires for Season 3.
Stu O’Hallaran (Pip Mushin): Frontline’s main cameraman who is always on the road filming Brooke and Marty. Constantly taking the piss out of Mike.

Each episode covered various topics and themes, from handling sensitive taboo topics to how an actual story is put together, coming down to how a reporter show themselves in the episode. The visuals of the episodes were in two different styles: the ‘realism’ part where it seems you’re eavesdropping with the characters were shot with hand-held Hi-8 camcorders, while the actual ‘Frontline‘ in-show episode and segments were shot in broadcast quality.

Various guest stars have ranged from Ugly Dave Gray and Bert Newton playing themselves, to Harry Shearer playing a Consultant to change the image of the show. Even Tony Martin and Mick Molloy made cameos as each other but with roles reversed (Martin as Molloy and Molloy as Martin) as their radio personalities Martin/Molloy in the 90s.

After two successful seasons on the ABC from 1994 to 1995, Channel 7 bought the rights with the third season shown in 1997.

Recently Santo Cilauro expressed his thoughts of the success of the show with the 20 year anniversary.

It really makes us feel old. Especially you still feel young because you’re writing stuff and I still, in a strange way, feel that I’m writing like what I was writing in my university days like in our revues. The platform just gets bigger and bigger. When we’re told, all of a sudden we get this reality check and realise it was a really long time ago. But everyone gets old!

Thoughts on Frontline becoming part of school education curriculum:

Kind of weird. I was kind of surprised. It really shocked me when a friend of mine from Sydney said that their daughter was doing Frontline at school, and I was “Oh, Sydney as well?”. She said “Can my daughter talk to you?” as she was doing some kind of test on it. I said “Sure!”, then she said “Look, the question is about ‘Sexual Politics In The Office Place’” … and I’m sitting there going “When I wrote that – when we wrote that, the thing about gender issues was so not in our minds.” So it’s funny how things take on their own life. You write them in a particular way - The Castle gets seen, written up as some kind of a metaphor for Aboriginal land rights. And I’m thinking ‘I’m glad you think that, but that’s not how it was written!” – so same with Frontline. Sometimes too much gets put on it. It was just intended to be a comedy.

We were going to set it in a radio station, to tell you the truth, when we were first going to write it. That was one possibility. We just thought ‘Let’s set it in Current Affairs!’. So people can think and make of it what they will.

A Frontline Annual which was filled with tidbits and scripts was released, as well as a handful of episodes on VHS. Eventually all three seasons of Frontline made their way on DVD. Sadly, no extra special features. However, on one of the VHS tapes, Behind The Frontline documentary is featured.

Frontline won five Logie Awards:

* Most Outstanding Achievement in Comedy – 1995
* Most Outstanding Achievement in Comedy – 1996
* Most Outstanding Actress – Alison Whyte – 1997
* Most Outstanding Series – 1998
* Most Outstanding Achievement in Comedy – 1998

.. and the team soaked it up…

Congratulations Working Dog on the anniversary!

Category: News, TV, Video

Category: TV, Video

SSETFtableOn Sunday March 9 I travelled to South Yarra, Melbourne to be part of the Santo, Sam and Ed’s Total Football studio audience, shown on Foxtel. Unlike the day before where I attended the Have You Been Paying Attention? audience at Channel 10 studios, Total Football is produced live and uncut.

Total Football is hosted by Santo Cilauro, with co-hosts Sam Pang and Ed Kavalee. The show originated during the 2010 World Cup, shown on SBS. The show was such a success, once the World Cup had finished it moved to 7Mate and spun-off to cover all sports in general, under the title Santo, Sam and Ed’s Sports Fever! in 2012After a 10 episode season, the guys disappeared from the screens and popped up in podcast form as simply Santo, Sam and Ed, creating running for 24 episodes before taking a break and popping up on Fox Sports as Santo, Sam and Ed’s Total Football to report on the A-League.

Still with us?

Fox Footy studios

Fox Footy studios

I turned up about 30 minutes before call time of 6:30pm at the Fox Footy Studios in South Yarra, located in a nice quiet modern suburban city area. Hovering around the entrance, a small crowd eventually turned up, with some wearing their favourite A-League jerseys. At 6:30pm the front door opens and we were handed a Terms & Conditions form we had to read in order to be allowed in, which is stock standard at any audience taping/filming. We had our names marked off and waited in reception, where we were treated to beverages and snacks. The group was a little quiet until our minders generated a bit of chat and laid down the ground rules, making sure we’re following the guys on Twitter and Facebook, as well as being able to get photos with the guys after the show has finished.

The time hit 6:50pm, which gave us 30 minutes to get into the studio for a 7:10pm start. The crowd was guided in by the lovely Working Dog staff, in a singular line. As I walked into the studio door, I was amazed at how compact the room was. I’m sure it was large overall, and what appears that it may have been a heavy black sound absorbing curtain separating another part of the studio behind the seats, but it was nice and cosy. The main camera was smack-bang in the middle of the audience seating, and cameras to either side. Cilauro, Pang and Kavalee walked in and greeted everyone, and explained that the show might start early as one of the matches had finished earlier than expect. Cilauro started with a warm-up quiz which the correct answer would win a Diego Mara-donut (a joke from the Cup Fever! days). The video explains all.

I barely knew any of the answers but I nearly answered the Jim and Terry question (I explain later below to Cilauro). The mic levels were checked and the show began – live.

Inbetween breaks, bowls of jellybeans were handed out (aniseed flavour, we meet again…!). The person to the right of me grabbed a handful, with Producer Michael Hirsh turning to them saying “You love black jellybeans? I don’t like them at all!” – he’s on my team. With every break, the guys would tell jokes or move around all the way up to the last 3 seconds. The timing was phenomenal.

Later on, Melbourne Heart player Josip Skoko sat down at the desk as a guest, telling stories and promoting his coffee and jersey swapping stories. After his chat, the commercial break started and Kavalee disappeared. Rob Sitch turned up in his wig that resembled his character in Kath & Kimderella and they set up for an appearance as Jim and Terry from KiwiTV. A black curtain on the side was pulled back to reveal a green screen, while 2 chairs were propped up behind the KiwiTV banner – the sketch was ready. It was amusing that while Cilauro and Pang  spoke directly to the camera for the ‘satellite’, that Skoko kept looking ahead then looking to his right at Kavalee and Sitch. Laughs were shared and just like that – time to wrap it up.

Once the show was off-air, we were carefully ushered outside and lined up to the entrance so we could await our photos opportunity with the guys behind the desk. Afterwards, I sat down with Cilauro and discussed the show, as well as a few previous projects we all love them for – or otherwise this whole site wouldn’t exist.

Me: I’m not a big sports person, however, I have watched many of the shows – Sports Fever, Cup Fever, Total Football, in fact, I only got Foxtel just to watch the shows.

Really? I’m really interested in that, because most of our fans are football / soccer fans, and we love the fact that – hopefully – there are people that just watch it for good old fashioned comedy… but – in percentage term, how much.. can you enjoy “100%” of it or do you enjoy “60%” of it? Do you just go “errr.. I only wish I knew that!” or do you just get it and don’t worry about the fact you don’t know that stuff?

Me: It’s a combo of both – 50/50 – even when you’re doing all the questions at the start, I think “I may know that answer.. I’m not sure about that..” – I knew about Jim and Terry (the characters from Kiwi TV played by Kavalee and Sitch), but I hesitated because I was about to say “Geoff and Terry Bailey from The Late Show!”

Oh! *laughs* Well, you know what? Before we did our rehearsal, Rob had to.. we had to rehearse so the crew have an idea what we’re doing, otherwise we just ‘blah blah blahing’, Rob had to poke his head back in and go “Can you just remind us which one of us is Jim and which one of us is Terry?” So, it’s just – who knows… and you’re right – Geoff and Terry, if you go back… before The Late Show, Geoff and Terry used to be Me and Veitchy (Michael Veitch) in D-Generation. We used to do…

Santo pauses for a moment to try and think in the Wayback Machine.

.. but they were two similar guys and then Veitchy wasn’t there anymore, so Rob basically started doing the same kind of characters. I don’t know what their names are. I don’t know who’s Geoff and who’s Terry…

Me: As long as the same deliverance was right there, so you can make up any name you want…

.. Yeah, but look, it’s interesting you watch it (SSETF) and it still makes some kind of sense.

Me: It’s like with Roy & HG. They’ve got their own style of comedy, delivering the sport with the cheekiness. Recently with the winter olympics – their own character style and descriptions. You guys have the same thing as well. But it’s a unique presentation, because fans like myself know your style. That’s a way that we keep with you.

Oh yeah! It feels.. yes, it’s a long time ago, but it feels like when we were doing The Late Show – it’s alive, we don’t quite know what’s about to happen, we quite enjoy ‘deaths’, we quite enjoy when something doesn’t go quite right at the right time, I think we’re kind of addicted to just ‘live’. When I walk out of here (the studio) I’ll have a Producer come up to me and say “I’m so sorry I rolled the wrong thing and it didn’t come in on time” and I have to keep saying “No – you don’t understand, when that happens – it’s perfect.

Because you are constantly reminding your audience that it’s live” and it’s what I love doing. What we’re doing there and what we did on The Panel and I guess live shows, it just feels the same. Like what we do in radio, it feels the same and I wouldn’t do it any other way other than live.

I then waffle on with a related personal story of my own about my 9 to 5 job (I do this site as a hobby) in which Santo understands completely. But back to the interview.

Me: With Total Football, how many people are working behind the scenes? You possibly can’t watch every single game..

Well, Interesting you say that because the guys stir me about how much football I watch. I promise I wouldn’t watch that much but I end up doing it…

Me: Is this your binge-watching, you know.. [Insert topical show you'd love to binge-watch]

We do! It is like binge-watching, so luckily the season goes for… what.. for like 4 weeks?? No..

Me: Don’t you finish in May? (I think I’m wrong..)

We finish in May. We started in October and finish in May. I don’t know how many weeks that is.. BUT – we have no researchers. So we made a decision very early on that we would only research the stuff – we would only do our own research. We have people around us…

Santo points to a staff member walking away from us on the lounge.

… He’s an editor here. because as we were preparing for the show before, there were two games that we physically couldn’t keep our eyes on because we were preparing and editing for this (the show I attended), he kept an eye on a couple of things and just came up to us and said “Hey look, this happened in the game, do you want to have a look at it?”. So two or three things in the show were pointed out to us by somebody else, otherwise it’s stuff we find during the week.

We do our own editing. We have two editors in the suites, but everyone edits their own stuff with an editor. I think I’d hate to do a show where it was completely researched, but even where a lot of the stuff was given to us by a team of comedy writers – we have some REALLY good guys that write to us and say “this is my experience – do you need an extra writer?”. We look at that and go “Shit! They’re really good! They’re probably more qualified than we are in terms of comedy” or their credentials about who they’re worked with – but we thought, we have a particular sensibility, and it would probably be harder to actually get someone to think and choose. It just takes longer.

But the reason why we performed in Frontline – we just figured it would take too long to explain to better actors on how to perform stuff. But we go “You know what? Even though we’re not really good actors, let’s just do it ourselves because it’s quicker. A lot of stuff we’ve done in our careers we’ve decided to act ourselves. But apart from Rob – who is a really good actor, we’re pretty shithouse actors. So the way we do it here is pretty lean. It’s guerilla television.

Me: The tiny little bits and pieces from the crowd during the games, how do you spot them?

We’ve learnt to spot things at ‘x 6′ on the IQ. We can’t anything in real time. Unless they’re games we really want to watch. There are some matches you’d want to watch in real time, and you do, because we’re determined not to kill our love for the game. If the show ever gets too intrusive into a personal love of the game, then we’d stop it. Tom and Rob made a decision not to do any more fishing shows because it got in the way of their love of fishing.

Me: A River Somewhere!

Yes! So, they realised after a while if we keep doing this, we won’t really – we really want to enjoy our fishing trip that we love.

… now here’s the zinger which made me smile…

I suspect, when we look back at it after all these years, our love of our own company and our own lifestyle got in the way of doing another series of The Late Show. I caught up with Mick (Molloy) during the week and it was so good to catch up with him. We love each others’ company so much that at a certain point we would probably realise once the projects start getting in the way of your own enjoyment of something, it starts becoming counter-productive to your comic observation of stuff.

Me: Do you get a lot of people asking about stuff from the past?

Yeah! That happens a lot. We do get a lot, but as you know, we love it. We love looking at.. actually don’t like looking at the stuff from the past, but we look back at those days with great love. There’s nothing we’ve done that we don’t look back at with fondness. But we love moving on.

… and here’s the part you – the reader – will love…

It would be great to do a Late Show reunion or another Panel again at some point. It would be great. It really would. But then what happens is that it would get in the way of exciting projects.. like doing a play for the MTC (Melbourne Theatre Company – Working Dog‘s upcoming play The Speechmaker). It’s an exciting project. If we go back and do something, then maybe Thank God You’re Here wouldn’t have happened, so we just like to look forward to do stuff. Some things work, some things don’t – but we just keep moving forward.

There is a little bit more to the interview, but I’m saving that for later. You’ll see why, when it happens.

As like with HYBPA?  - to be an audience member for Total Football:

  1. It’s FREE!
  2. You get fed nibblies and drinks!
  3. It’s FREE!
  4. You’ll have fun!
  5. It’s Free!
  6. Located in Melbourne – I live interstate and stayed in a motel about 20 minute drive which I got at a decent rate though those cheap hotel deal sites.
  7. It’s fr… you get the idea.

Just click on the link and fill out your details. They’ll do the rest. http://j.mp/1g1NWTQ

Santo, Sam and Ed’s Total Football – 7:10pm Sundays on Fox Sports One. Check the guide for replays.

Santo Sam and Ed Twitter | Facebook

PS: Big shout-out to Tom, Santo, Sam, Ed, Michele, Courtenay, Xavier, Pauline, Sarah, Michael and everyone else who I spoke or interacted with while visiting both sets. Keep up the fantastic work.

Category: News, TV


Recently I was lucky enough to be part of the studio audience for one of Working Dog‘s TV projects Have You Been Paying Attention? (HYBPA?), shown Sundays 6pm on Channel 10. If you’re not up to speed, the show is currently in its second season.

The concept is simple: Host Tom Gleisner stands rattles off a bunch of topical questions that are related to news events during the last 7 days to five contestants. The contestants earn 10 points per correct response, but praise from the audience for an amusing punchline. At the end of the show, whoever scores the highest is awarded the HYBPA? trophy. It’s the most easiest and entertaining 22 minutes of comedy you can have to wind down your long week. Already a regular viewer, I confirmed my attendance and hightailed my butt to Channel 10 Melbourne for some free and classy entertainment.

I arrived at the Como Centre early for the call time of 5:05pm. You can’t really miss the entrance – just follow the signs with the Ten logo on it and you’ll see an entrance with HYBPA? Audience Call signs up. After meeting some very polite staff there and realised I was way too early, I went for a walk to explore the area, coming back about 20 minutes before call time.


A small group of people started to form around the lounge area. Various ages – from early 20s to early 60s. The elder couple started to chat about other free shows they’ve attended, such as a recording of Million Dollar Hot Seat during the week. They hadn’t actually seen an episode of HYBPA? and were going off the invitation they received through a “free stuff” website. The lovely lady said she had heard of the show and asked if it was anything similar to a former ABC/10 comedy news panel show Good News Week. Gleisner explains the differences between these game news show formats.

“I think the biggest feature we cling to with HYBPA? and point of difference is its topicality. We insist on doing it weekly, and whilst there have been news based quizzes before – many of them – often they do fall into the trap of recording a month’s worth of episodes upfront.

We found they often get a little bit disconnected from the genuine news, whereas with this show we really do, we’re writing questions right up to the day we record. So I think it’s topicality is perhaps the point of difference.”

(I can vouch for that, as I myself have attended a few Good News Week recordings in the past, which some episodes were recorded 1 – 2 weeks ahead. I’d always wonder how that show could stay up to date, it came down to what type of news would be long lasting and spoken about for weeks onwards.)

More audience members turned up a few minutes before we were all ushered inside to the third floor of Channel 10. Once upstairs, we were lead into a singular line down the hallway and had our names ticked off and received our name tags before being lead into a conference room where drinks and snacks were available for the taking and handed out by the staff. After a new minutes of mingling, Rockwiz and Pictures Of You host Brian Nankervis walked into the room to have a chat give us a rundown on what the recording would entail. After a few light-hearted jokes, Nankervis was more than happy to pose for photos before everyone had to turn off their phones – which is a stock standard in television audience land. We were politely ushered via stairs and lift to Level 5, where you walked past a few production booths – both visual and audio – as well as the writers room and green room, where we lined up in 2 rows, ready to be lead into the studio. It’s not just Tommy G who does the hard work…

“We have two researchers who assist in coming up with questions and putting them together, Rob (Sitch) and Santo (Cilauro) – my two colleagues – are also actively involved because they’ll have a look at the questions and think of ways to phrase them.

Plus segment ideas – like with everything Working Dog does, where Rob, Santo and myself, (Producer) Michael Hirsh, in this case – Jane (Kennedy) are all involved, even if not all of us are on camera.”

While we waited for the studio doors to open, Nankervis is still having stimulating conversations with the awaiting fans and the carers are keeping us amused. We then hear the deep voice of Michael Hirsh giving us the cue to walk in and careful where to tread just in case. The studio is lit up brightly with the stage set colours. The room is actually quite small – an optical illusion of a large room when on TV. There’s roughly 7 – 8 rows of seats, with flat screens, lights and microphones dangling securely from the ceiling. There’s also a blue neon sign attached to perspex hanging from the middle. As we take our seats, Nankervis chats to the audience more until he introduces Gleisner to the studio. Gleisner, genuinely friendly and open, probes the audience a little to see who has seen the show before or if they’ve been part of the audience, as well as a quick rundown on what the show is about. But how did the idea of the show come about?

There was the two special fill-in segments on The Late Show back in 1993 that came to mind, but it turns out, that’s not where it began…

“The idea came about from when we were filling in on a drive-time radio shift on Triple M in 2012 during the Olympics – Santo and Sam (Pang) in fact hosted that show. I came in each day for the two weeks we did the show with an Olympics quiz – five questions at them from the previous night, and it was such a fun and an effortless format… and then it was Rob Sitch who was actually away at the time, came back and heard it and said the fateful phrase ‘That would make a good TV quiz!’. That’s often the way things work with us at Working Dog - someone might have an idea, someone might recognise the idea, someone else might take the idea and knock it a bit sideways… it’s an often quite an organic process.

[HYBPA?] came out of that very short, simple radio quiz. We like the idea, so we piloted it in the following year. Nothing moves fast with us, and I think in the following year we mentioned it to Channel 10, and they were, you know… ‘you interested?’ – so we tried it out.”

About a minute later, a few bowls of jellybeans were handed out. Take a handful and pass around. I avoided the aniseed flavour like the plague, but took a bunch of lemon and vanilla flavours. Nankervis then spoke into his microphone and announced the contestants for the recording – Kennedy, Kate Langbroek, first time player Ronny Chieng, and regulars Ed Kavalee and Pang. Each rushed to their podium seats and had their lapel mics and make-up adjusted accordingly. They all wave hello and have a chat to the crowd, plus have tiny little pokes at each other – especially with Pang due to his constant winning rate of zero. The amusing seating arrangement of the front row being Chieng, Langbroek and Pang, Langbroek does highlight that she’s in the middle of an ‘Asian sandwich’ which brings the house down. So while Kavalee and Pang are regulars, how does the choosing of the other 3 contestants come about?

“We try to plan a couple of weeks in advance, especially with busy people – we can’t just drop / come down on the weekend at a moment’s notice. There’s no great science to it.

[When] planning for HYBPA? I, in fact, have distinct deja vu, back when we used to do Thank God You’re Here and The Panel - you know, ‘who will be on next week, how will be our guests’ – it’s the sort of thing you can only really feel if someone comes on and is a natural fit.

I think we decided on fairly early that Ed and Sam were wonderful and important bookends and having them there, they know how to play the game and keep it moving. They understand not just doing jokes, but also getting questions right. That’s a real safety net. It means you can roll the dice with people who have never done the show before and see how it goes from there.”

And with good cause. One of the audience members was so passionate and dedicated for Pang to win in this episode, that she made a certificate “Sam For Gold”, with a Kit-Kat wrapped in the middle. Pang was genuinely touched. With that - Kavalee ripped into him more.

While the setup continued, the camera and production crew did their thing – making sure the sound was perfect; the camera angles were great; the social media managers capturing the moments (Hey guys!!) and security on call in case someone did something naughty. But all was good from the benches.

After the countdown and cue in, the opening titles ran on the screens. We applauded, cheered and the show had begun. Gleisner did his hosting duties. You can see the episode here for a limited time on TenPlay. (Season 2, Episode 3). The first segment when shown on TV, usually goes for about 5 – 6 minutes. However, seeing it live, it went on for roughly 10 – 15 minutes long. This is because of the jokes that were made which sometimes are not suited for broadcast, or there was an overlap in the talking and is hard to edit. Sometimes a one-liner ends up turning into a whole conversation. That’s the beauty of the show – it’s improvised.

“It’s not scripted in any sense – I genuinely don’t know the answers that are coming.. as you can tell…

Gleisner was referring to what I had witnessed in the audience. On numerous occasions the genuine stunned look was on his face and was followed by a natural laugh demonstrates that it is all unexpected. Especially the joke that Langbroek made about her “pussy”. I can’t explain as it loses the translation to text and unfortunately it didn’t make the cut to the screen but it was a “had to be there” moment.

… especially I’m somewhat taken aback. We obviously let everyone know the general topics of the week. But if you’re appearing on the show, of course – you run over the news and you’d realise what type of questions that are likened to be asked.

How much they prepare – Ed’s a diligent comedy writer – I’m sure he’s got an armoury of things. Although sometimes we throw stuff at him and he pulls stuff out. He’s a great improviser too.

It’s a largely improvised show.”

During each break, Nankervis would bring out the lollies again and play a few games with random people in the audience. From math quiz games, to juggling balls, to doing fun hand game gestures that you would play with the kids with mild amusement – the winners were awarded with lollies or a showbag. I didn’t get to check to see what was in the showbag unfortunately. At one stage, he threw a few Starburst lollies into the crowd. One smacked the neon sign and made it flicker a bit… but no-one else in production saw.. *shhhhh!*

During one of the breaks, Kennedy‘s microphone had to be re-wired as her necklace was causing audio friction. As this is being fixed, Pang and Kavalee point out a quiet Santo Cilauro in the corner reviewing his notes. He waves to everyone and smiles. Afterwards, it got a little quiet, so Chieng randomly started to talk about some fun facts about the wild camels in Australia. Apparently Australia has the largest population of wild feral camels in the world.

He knows his camel facts. But if he could dish out the National Geographic of camels, who else would be great to talk random stories to the audience?

“It would be lovely to try someone visiting from overseas.. I think would be a great flavour. Obviously we’d have to make sure our questions weren’t to domestic. Sometimes when – I’m thinking a year or so ago – Will Ferrell was touring, promoting Anchorman 2, and he was working hard. He was in everything. Someone like that would be wonderful to have – the energy – he’s sort of a slightly different take for what you’d get from someone like him.

But there’s plenty of homegrown talent, like the Melbourne International Comedy Festival coming up in a couple of weeks, so we’ll be subjected to availability trying to drag in a few of those performers.”

The recording continues, until roughly an hour later it is completed. Just when we thought it was over, Gleisner gets word that the ‘big man’ is coming down to the studio. The big man – Working Dog Producer Phil Simon. He notes that there’s four parts that need to be re-tagged or questions re-recorded due to various issues. No-one is complaining – it’s more to watch and observe.

About 15 minutes later it is all over. The team thanks us for our support and hoped we enjoyed the Starburst and jellybeans. We’re taken out of our rows one by one, and are given a showbag each by the friendly audience and social media staff. I didn’t expect this, but it is a wonderful gesture:

HYBPA? Audience giftbag

HYBPA? Audience giftbag

The bag contains a bottle of Mount Franklin Sparkling Mineral Water, a HYBPA? pen, and a copy of Audrey Gordon’s Tuscan Summer Cookbook. No-one leaves empty-handed.. unless you pocketed some jellybeans.

I left the building knowing how much time, effort, production value and fun you can have being an audience member, now wondering how much champagne material of previous episodes now sit on the cutting room floor. A roughly 1 and 1/2 hour show trimmed down to 22 minutes.

To be an audience member:

  1. It’s FREE!
  2. You get fed nibblies and drinks!
  3. It’s FREE!
  4. You’ll have fun!
  5. It’s Free!
  6. Located in Melbourne – I live interstate and stayed in a motel about 20 minute drive which I got at a decent rate though those cheap hotel deal sites.
  7. It’s fr… you get the idea.

Just click on the link and fill out your details. They’ll do the rest. http://bit.ly/HYBPAaudience

Have You Been Paying Attention?  ‘family friendly’ version is on Sundays 6pm on Channel 10.

But wait, there’s more.

  • An extended ‘risque’ version plays later on Sundays at 10:30pm.
  • Repeated ‘risque’ version replays Tuesdays 10:30pm on Channel Eleven.
  • Repeated ‘family friendly’ version replays Saturdays 6pm on Channel Eleven.

Technically you can’t miss it.

HYBPA? Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Behind The Audience with Santo, Sam & Ed’s Total Football – coming soon!

Category: News, TV


Have You Been Paying Attention? - Mondays 8:40pm Channel 10

At The Movies with Judith Lucy - Tuesdays 9:30pm ABC1

Utopia - Premieres Wednesday August 13 8:30pm ABC TV

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