Return to The Late Show

Season 1 Episode 1

Review by Shitscared.
Originally broadcast Saturday July 18, 1992

[rating=4]

Welcome to the ABC. The graduates of The D-Generation sketch comedy show split up in two forms a few years ago. While some went to work with Steve Vizard on Channel 7’s Fast Forward, The rest: developed The Late Show.

S01E01A

“Splendid!”

“ABC TV – A unique look inside ‘Sandringham’ with His Royal Highness – Prince Charles!” – are the first words spoken by Tony Martin, who was known as Anthony Martin on The D-Generation and “Fatman” on the EON FM breakfast show. His narrative tone throws to .. Tony.. dressed up as Prince Charles.

This is the first sketch of the show, so let’s make it a good one.

Princess Diana is married to Charles, and their relationship was starting to show cracks. The image of Charles as a boring person to be with is shown as in each scene, Di is trying to top herself. The first sign is when Charles rattles off a list of ‘unpleasant duties’ maintaining the palace, with one instance of trying to make love to his wife. As we’re shown the next room, Charles points out a ‘Hello dear!” to Di, who is in the middle of the room, setting up a noose around her neck. Di, is played by Jane Kennedy – the only female in the group.

To the stairway, and Charles meets Stephen (Rob Sitch) a butler to the palace, displaying a tray of medication, calling it Diana’s lunch. Skip to the kitchen, and Charles bumps into the bott-bott of Diana, trying to gas herself in the industrial oven. The last scene, Charles is in the drawing room, describing the view outside, when Diana’s body flies by the window. Charles then refers to her as ‘popping out’ to get the latest Spandau Ballet album.

Cue James BrownTurn Me Loose, I’m Dr Feelgood as the theme song to the show, along with the opener of random footage of the cast prepping for the show, as well as footage of what appears to be pre-recorded sketches and random live bits from the un-aired pilot episode that got the show to where it was – on TV.

In alphabetical order: Santo Cilauro, Tom Gleisner, Jane Kennedy, Tony Martin, Mick Molloy, Rob Sitch and Jason Stephens.

After “The Late Show” titles appear, the emerald green colour decor appears, with Mick and Tony on stage welcoming us to the show. Both wearing suit jackets and jeans / trousers high up their cracks, we’re looking at the fashion of 1992. Tony apologies to viewers who tuned in to see the previously run Michael Aspel program in the time slot. He also points out that the show is going out LIVE around Australia. The nerves are with the guys as Mick produces 2 bricks saying that he found them ‘in his pants’, while Tony takes the joke up a notch by producing a rickety hat stand.

Not nervous...

Not nervous…

Once the intro jokes are over, they throw to Tommy G at the News Desk.

This is The Late Show News and heading our bulletin tonight...

This is The Late Show News and heading our bulletin tonight…

News headlines:

* Olympic swimmer Julie McDonald withdrawls from games after “Supermum” Curry-Kenny nipple-cripple. (visual joke)
* New York & Presidental Candidate Bill Clinton bets onlooker $200 that he’ll get her into bed by midnight.
* .. and in Yugoslavia, a Serbian man perfects the world’s first fully bomb-proof outside toilet. (cue urination sfx). The joke fails to get a giggle.

The longer stories featured are:

* Pope John Paul II addressing a crowd from his hospital window, with a sight gag showing some bott-bott through his garment
* Dr John Hewson story about a youth wage scheme, where the elderly would be replaced by kids
* 1992 US Presidental candidate Ross Perot quits the run. Rob Sitch as Perot is interviewed. Poopy-pants.
* National Drug Offensive promotion – with a 1/2 decent impression of Jason and Santo impersonating Aussie band The Angels being interviewed by Jane the journalist. Heckled later by the crowd.
* 39 false killer whales beached themselves and were sent back to the water. Cue Japanese fishing trawler spliced in.
* Capt Jospeh Hazelwood who ran aground the Exxon boat and caused a major oil spill is cleared. Mick as Hazelwood.
* New $5 note – dodgy Queen image apparently able to wipe off her top.
* Jason interviews true-blue Aussie athletes for the 1992 Barcelona Olympics in the ‘new’ uniform.

Now to the pre-recorded segments.

Homocide and Matlock Police star James Condon brings us the talent of swinging a bag of golf clubs into a car while talking to the camera to promote the Hardly Permanent Building Society. You can always trust a condescending old fart in polyester slacks. Or so he says.

Jane, what does that say in the little box?

Jane, what does that say in the little box?

A segue later and Santo and Jane are standing close together to discuss a book that was released by historian Barbara Thiering about Jesus. No, not the bible – but other theories she has done ‘research’ on – the dead sea scrolls.

Santo and Jane break down the scrolls, showing highlights from the scrolls on the big screen behind them, in a similar layout to a tabloid newspaper. Some jokes are a hit and miss, as you can tell from the audience.

After an outcue of a “It’s A Saviour!” birthing announcement, the segment ends, going into a segue, and into the first ever sketch that becomes a major cult favourite with association with the show:

Shitscared.

Rob Sitch as Rob Sitch, and Mick Molloy as Mick are interviewed through the process of their upcoming stunt by Tom Gleisner as Tom. The segment begins on a typical wet Melbourne day, being introduced to Rob Sitch who is ‘one of the country’s most foremost dare-devils’.

Shitscared Number 1

Shitscared Number 1

Rob is in his red jump-suit as they track down the road to Stunt Headquarters. Everything is fine for the first few seconds, until Rob’s side-kick Mick, wearing his trademarked blue jacket and grey helmet, is shown struggling to open the gate, which has been locked after being foreclosed.

After a breakdown of elements by preparing for stunts by Rob and Mick sabotaging every single one, the stunt eventually gets around . Rob will be using his ‘high grade’ yellow belt in Shindo Ki to jump away from an oncoming truck driven by Mick, while blind-folded, with only a metre distance away. Using the power of his mind.

With the ending of the truck coming from behind Rob and not in front, the audience drowns itself with laughter, and so begins a love affair with the stunt team.

A quick Bruce Ruxton reference segue later…

Tom and Jane promote “Keyboard Classics” – the awkward keyboard music your 12 year old sister used to play and act like she knew what she was doing. With hits as the music from the giant keyboard scene in the film Big, Fur Elise, and a dodgy Chopsticks performance.

The Muckraking Bookie Board

The Muckraking Bookie Board

A quick opening title of headlines introduces us to Muckraking with Jason and Mick. Tonight’s topic – the death of Todd from Neighbours. A quick rundown of the death shows Todd jaywalking across the road, then being hit by a hidden van. It is revealed later that Jason was the driver… naughty. He also admitted to killing the wombat on A Country Practice as he thought it was the ‘Little Fat Kid from Hey Dad..!’

Mick breaks down the odds of character deaths in TV soaps with the Muckraking Bookie Board, rattling off random deaths from other well-known soapie killings. After more explanation of how Todd passed away in hospital due to a cheese slice being placed on his nipple (visual joke) the segment closes with a Toyota “Oh What A Feeling!” freeze frame.

Cue in Tony who walks out to the crowd who talks about pestering the audience to discuss popular early 90s US band R.E.M. by breaking down their song lyrics. If the crowd didn’t know any better, it was a way of making Tony’s upcoming musical performance topical. The trippy part is that it appears Tony is talking to himself, causing the great paradox of 1992.

Tony, Tony

Tony, Tony

After the witty banter of lyric discussion, Tony uses this cue to hop back on stage and perform his own version of R.E.M.’s Stand. Now go and photocopy your bum and bake it in a cake.

A quick pre-recorded sketch of a game show called “Who Knew Brett Best?” –  a topical moment as Australian Artist Brett Whiteley had recently passed away, many people jumped on the bandwagon to gloat how ‘close’ they were to him.

Next up – black and white footage of the early ABC series Rush, re-dubbed by the cast and labelled as The Olden Days. After novelty opening credits of funny names and a catchy “Mud” theme, the badly synced voice-overs (intentionally – duh!!) and dodgy false moustaches are shared around as we meet Governor Frontbottom (portrayed visually by Brendon Lunney), who just happens to be talking to “Harold Bishop” at The Melbourne Club. Frontbottom is given a task – control the mud-diggers. Dah-dah-daaaaah! To Be Continued…

Hmmm....

Hmmm….

We’re now joined by Jane and Tom, sitting on bean-bags and wearing PJs discussing their own segment – Countdown Classics – a segment about the highlights and lowlights of the music show which captured a generation of fans from the mid ’70s to the late ’80s, hosted by Ian “Molly” Meldrum. Due to gremlins in the system, we’re dealt with the “VHS screen of death”, which Tom shows a frustrated expression.

The magic of live TV

The magic of live TV

The first list of favourite moment:

* April 1978 – Saturday Night Fever Dance-Off Competition – judged by Molly and John Paul Young.

They also do a tease about next week’s segment – a highlight of the guys who brought the whole “fever” phenomenon to life – The Bee Gees. *Cue most mystifying cut-away*

Quick pre-recorded sketch: Septic Strings Mineral Water. Available in Plain and Blue-Green Algae.

Quick segue based on political heads.

Greatest respect for the chicks... WOMEN!

Greatest respect for the chicks… WOMEN!

35 minutes into the show, Tom has a News Desk update, which the headliners are played a second too early, playing over the top of Tom’s voice. An extended story on Dr John Hewson’s young wage scheme the News Desk touched on earlier is milked again with the voice impersonation by Tony as Hewson.

After that joke is done, Tom talks to Bill Clinton (Rob) via Satellite, discussing how Clinton is trying to remove his ‘slick willie’ womanizing image. Cue sexual innuendo / attractive women jokes, with some sadly falling flat. But they tried.

Really, they did. Credit for the effort.

Production segue error:

38 minutes in.. desperate to go to the bathroom and at least we know how long the next segment runs for.

S01E01K

Pre-recorded segment – Postcard From Shoppingtown. Westfields were ever-expanding, turning shopping plazas into giant shopping centres for the norm. Tony and Mick investigate ‘Shoppingtown”. What do you do during school holidays? Get your butt down to Shoppingtown! Tony and Mick explore various stores, such as:

* Visiting the best ever theme park for adults – Liquorland
* Helping promote Chaka’s Carpets with a catchy jingle similar to Carpet Call
* Mick ‘driving’ a kiddy car
* Tony re-living a scene in Apocalypse Now
* Mick using Passport Photos to take a photo of his bott-bott
* Stumbling upon the “Cat In The Hat Fun Jazzersize Show”
* Checking out the poster rack at the newsagents, finding the cliche poster list

S01E01L

Cue opener for Commercial Crimestoppers.

Santo and Mick talk about crappy late night advertisements on TV. The Medieval Fair in Adelaide cops the first treatment, with pure piss-weak performances of knights and fair maidens prancing and sword-fighting about in the commercial replay. As Santo says: “Take Ye Olde Ad and privvy TURF IT!” To establish what will be possibly be many entrants from this company – Demtel get’s a look in, with the “Dream Pillow”. Santo and Mick break down the medical jargon in the ad, such as no definition for ‘neck gap’ and trusting a guy wearing a white lab coat. A preview is also shown for next week’s segment – “Kitchens Kitchens Kitchens!” or…

“Dickhead Dickhead Dickhead!”

Tony's "Grandmother"

Tony’s “Grandmother”

With Commercial Crimestoppers finishing, Tony is on stage, discussing the new $5 note, breaking down the watermarks and security features, as well as the new $1 and $2 coin. Tony brings out his ‘grandmother’, played by Myrtle Woods – and puts her to the test to tell the difference between different coins:

* $1 coin and 10 cent piece
* $2 coin and 5 cent piece
* $5 note Kelvinator fridge freezer
* $5 coin and a deadly Bengal Tiger
* The Federal Treasurer John Dawkins and a bucket of pigs manure

Such is life. . and music by pop sensation Melissa.

It’s time to dust off some characters well known from the EON FM radio days.. and now it’s time for the latest in sport with Graham & The Colonel! Thanks Tony for the voice-over.

The Colonel (L) and Graham (R)

The Colonel (L) and Graham (R)

This is best explained in video form…

.. and cue the end. 3 minutes left of the show, Tom talks about “What’s the Worst Album Cover in Music History”, Mick holds up a wicked cover with some severe testicle separation.

Ow..

Ow..

Legit album covers shown in this episode:

* Phil Golotta and The Blue Echoes – High Heeled Rock & Roll
* Ripper / Ripper ’76 / Ripper ’77
* Hi, I’m Don Lane – Luck and Love
* The Accordionettes – Love Is A Piano Accordion

.. and to show when it went to air – Tom refers to the Olympic opening ceremony on at the same time slot for next week.

Cue the closing rolling credits – a montage of pre-recorded sketches and what appears to be footage from rehearsal.

###

For the time it went to air in 1992, live sketch comedy is a difficult thing to do, nothing can run smoothly, and if the joke dies, you can’t edit it out. You just have to move on from there and hope the next joke

To summarise the episode, Tom says it best just before the closing:

“All I can say is, it was a a shamble in rehearsals and it was downhill from there!”

 

5 comments

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    • Alex Madrigales on November 4, 2013 at 3:03 am
    • Reply

    will season 1 or even a complete series EVER be released?

    i would really love a copy

      • on November 4, 2013 at 10:11 am
      • Reply

      Hi Alex, hopefully this might answer your question why the show hasn’t been released in full: http://www.champagnecomedy.com/will-there-ever-be-a-dvd-box-set-of-the-entire-the-late-show/

    • Alex Madrigales on November 9, 2013 at 9:50 am
    • Reply

    thanks for that.

    its a shame, i would of paid for a copy if someone got hold of seasons.

    very much worth it.

    if you come across it, pls let me know.

    • HB on May 14, 2016 at 1:23 am
    • Reply

    Does anyone know who sang “Mud” (The Olden Days theme tune)?… sounds like Russell Crowe 😉

    • Gavin on March 4, 2017 at 10:10 pm
    • Reply

    Looks like you missed the small segments after the end credits:

    * Tony asks if his ‘grandmother’ will return next week

    * Promotion for studio audience (with 7 digit phone number!) – call from 10am Monday

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