“It’s John Blackman here from Telecom Mobilenet…”

Veteran TV and Radio personality John Blackman passed away on Tuesday 4th June after battling illness for years.

Known for his decades long stint of the voice of Hey Hey It’s Saturday, Blackman was a humorous prime target for mockery on The Late Show, in which he was the voice for a Telecom Mobilenet advertising campaign (errr.. Telstra), where he introduced himself as “It’s John Blackman here from Telecom Mobilenet”.

The infamous sound bite became a running joke throughout Season Two of The Late Show thanks to visual telephone gags during Tommy G at the News Desk.

Here at ChampagneComedy.com, we’ve put together an unofficial montage of these jokes. While the news is extremely dated and of its era of 1993, Blackman’s catchphrase is iconic and will warm your nostalgic hearts.

Vale.

Skivvies are back! The Sharp reunites (thanks to a little nudge from us)

In exciting news, legendary Melbourne band The Sharp have announced that “Skivvies are Back!” after 31 years.

Their song and video clip, “Scratch My Back” was satirised so well by The Late Show in 1993 that the phrase “Skivvies are Back” became synonymous with the band.

A Facebook clip released on 4 March revealed that drummer Piet Collins and bandmate Charlie Rooke will be doing a series of gigs, playing their successful debut album This Is The Sharp from “top to bottom”. While bandmate Allan Catlin on double bass is not joining them, they have recruited Scott Owen from The Living End, along with musician Lee Harding on vocals.

Dates are to be announced, but we’d like to pat our own backs (ha, ha) for giving drummer Piet Collins a bit of inspiration to get most of the original line-up back together for another tour.

When Matt interviewed drummer Piet Collins about the classic clip for the Champagne Comedy podcast in 2022, he had nothing but praise for the comedians they admired so greatly, and didn’t rule out the idea of a gig potentially involving some of the other popular (and parodied) bands of the time.

“I remember hearing about [the parody] very soon after it happened and watching it and just  thinking it was the funniest thing I’d ever seen,” Piet recalled. “What a great compliment it was to get from a bunch of comedians who we we huge fans of. If you were living in Melbourne in in the early 90s you were you were going to be a fan of the D-Gen or you’re going to be a fan of The Late Show. Everyone you knew loved it.”

The clip gained notoriety for its uncanny imitations as well as its focus on the skivvy-wearing aspects, which you can see here on the official Working Dog YouTube feed.

Utopia Season Five Coming To DVD

For the people who love their physical media, the fifth season of Australia’s favourite government department is finally being released on DVD: Utopia. Starring Rob Sitch, Celia Pacquola, Dave Lawson, Dilruk Jayasinha, and Kitty Flanagan, the hilarious antics of the Nation Building Authority continue, and you can own it from February 7th, 2024.

The fifth season of the award-winning series sees the beleaguered staff of the Nation Building Authority still trying to get the job done in the face of endless backflips, government interference and ever-shifting priorities. C.E.O. Tony Woodford and his loyal staff are forced to deal with project management teams interested only in talking points. Billion dollar projects announced without a business case or cost-benefit study. Shifting geo-political priorities. Rural road construction held up by a problematic statue. Cyber-attacks and an embarrassing UNESCO report.

 

You can purchase Utopia Seasons One to Four individually or as a boxset at where you can find it (JB Hi-Fi’s store listings are crap). Or, for the digital person – watch it now for free on iView or buy on iTunes. Also randomly available on paid streaming services, so check whatever you’ve subscribed to.

Obscure Late Show Locations #621: The Marrickville Dental Surgery

Anyone who’s a fan of The Late Show will remember the time Mick and Tony took to the streets of Sydney and interviewed people about their reaction to Sydney winning the 2000 Olympic Games.

So many legendary quotes.

I”I’ve heard most of the big Olympic decisions have been made on the bus trip to Bowral.”

“Pull [your daks] up two or three inches mate.”

“What will you be doing in the year 2000? Going through puberty possibly.”

“That’s what happens when you take your John Fahey impression a little too seriously.”

“Gotta get that cap!” “Get that get that quick!”

“Thanks very much Senator Bronwyn Bishop.”

“Do Graham and the Colonel know you’ve got their jacket?”

And of course, the classic discussion of the potential Olympics theme song.

The “Jump in my car” classic moment happened in front of the dental surgery on Marrickville Road. Which is still there. That’s why one rainy weekend our roving reporter Matt and his mate Seb drove there to see how it looks now. Check out the video!

Loose Talk, Foolish Pod Behaviour

If you are a subscriber to the Champagne Comedy Podcast (thank you), you would know we are working through the catalogue of The D-Generation / Working Dog‘s works. While we are on hiatus from completing Season One of Frontline, we have made a random bonus episode!

Behind the Scenes of Hard Quiz: Hester’s Late Show Specialty

In this unconventional bonus episode, Hester takes us behind the scenes of her time playing ABC TV’s Hard Quiz. But what’s truly intriguing is her specialty subject: The Late Show. Fans of this iconic late-night Australian television show are in for a treat as Hester shares anecdotes, trivia, and insider stories. Imagine diving deep into the world of your favourite TV show with someone who was part of it!

Going ‘Daily Mail’ Viral: The Madness of Mason Hell-Cat

Mason Hell-Cat, a regular contributor to Champagne Comedy, explains his wild experience of going ‘Daily Mail‘ viral. We all know that the Daily Mail loves a good story, and Mason found himself right in the middle of one. From the crazy events that led to his viral fame to the aftermath of dealing with internet trolls and admirers, Mason’s story is one for the books.

A Special Guest Appearance by Tony Wilson

No bonus episode is complete without a special guest appearance, and this one is no exception. Author, Media Personality, and D-Gen nerd Tony “Good one, Wilson!” Wilson joins the fun. With his witty banter and insightful commentary, Tony adds an extra layer of humour and nostalgia to the episode, such as how he became friends with the cast of the D-Gen, how he nearly became the third chair on Santo, Sam & Ed, and his contribution to Tony Martin‘s SIZZLETOWN.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a ‘loose and foolish’ bonus episode without a healthy dose of tangents and banter. Expect the unexpected we take you on a rollercoaster ride of hilarious digressions and spontaneous conversations. After all, sometimes, it’s the unplanned moments that make for the most entertaining content.

If you haven’t subscribed yet, we’re available on all your favourite podcast platforms.

Hard Quiz Goes The Late Show

In a delightful crossover moment on ABC TV’s popular game show Hard Quiz, fans were treated to a surprising twist when The Late Show became the expert topic in a recent broadcast.

Hester, whose impressive knowledge of The Late Show left both the audience and host, Tom Gleeson, thoroughly impressed. Hester’s quick wit and encyclopedic recall of classic sketches and catchphrases made for some funny and flashback moments as she faced off against her fellow competitors.

As the episode unfolded, it became clear that The Late Show held a special place in the hearts of many Australians, and the show’s enduring popularity was evident. The inclusion of such a beloved cultural icon on Hard Quiz served as a reminder of the enduring impact that quality comedy can have on our lives. It was a night of laughter, nostalgia, and friendly competition that left fans eagerly awaiting more surprising twists on their favourite game show.

You can see the entire episode on iView for free.

Coight Does Mitsubishi

If you’ve been watching Have You Been Paying Attention? on a religious basis, you would have noticed various sponsorships throughout the broadcast run, with the most recent being car manufacturer Mitsubishi.

What a better way to promote their off-road hybrid vehicles than Mr All-Aussie Adventure himself, Russell Coight.

In a collection of TV commercials, Coight does his signature spool on outback adventures with his ‘trusty’ fuel powered 4×4, thinking a particular latte-sipping city-slicker couple with their hybrid won’t survive a day in his neck of the woods.

The entire Russell Coight All Aussie Adventure series is available on DVD and digital.

Dovetail: The male city slicker? Neighbours star Dan Paris.

PS: This site is not sponsored nor has any commercial deal with Mitsubishi or Working Dog.

 

Boris Conley: “Maybe Elliot would be on TikTok during the lockdown”

To celebrate the 50th episode of theChampagne Comedy Podcast, ChampagneComedy.com caught up with Frontline‘s “Friday Night Funnyman” Elliot Rhodes, or known privately as Boris Conley.

Boris, a former waiter and performer, shared intriguing details about his time on the popular TV show Frontline and his musical career. From his impromptu piano performances to touring as part of a tribute act, Boris’s journey offers a fascinating glimpse into the world of entertainment.

Boris reminisced about his early days as a waiter, where he would entertain customers by showcasing his showmanship on the piano during slow business hours. His talent and flair for performance were evident, and he admitted to being a bit of a show-off.

During the interview, Boris also discussed his role on Frontline where portrayed the character Elliot Rhodes – an individual with unwavering enthusiasm and self-belief. Despite being oblivious to the attempts of host Mike Moore (Rob Sitch) to remove him, Elliot eventually faces the harsh reality of his situation .

Boris shared that most of his scenes on Frontline were shot in just two days, and he often completed his performances in less than 10 minutes. The contrasting production quality and vibrant colors in Elliot’s scenes, achieved through different filming techniques and transfers, further emphasized the character’s larger-than-life personality.  Boris also provided insights into the filming locations of Frontline. The first series was shot at Ripponlea in the old ABC studios in Melbourne, while the Elliot scenes were filmed in the same studios used for news and current affairs. This unique setting and filming approach contributed to the distinct visual style and production quality of the show.

The conversation then shifted to speculate on what Elliot might be doing now, with a range of possibilities – Elliot could be performing his own cabaret shows, appearing on TV programs like Sky News Australia or the ABC, or even creating satirical content on platforms like TikTok. Regardless of the specific path, it was clear that Elliot’s undying spirit and determination would continue to fuel his artistic endeavours.

Boris’s interview offered an exciting peek behind the curtain of his career as both a performer and a part of the acclaimed series. As we look to the future, it’s clear that Elliot’s spirit lives on, leaving us with a sense of wonder and anticipation for his next artistic endeavors.

Subscribe to the Champagne Comedy Podcast now to hear our shonky over-analysis of the episodes, as well as some other goodies lying within.

Check out Boris’ son’s YouTube channel here: @redonwhite1176.

Thank God You’re Here returns for 2023

It’s something in the Working Dog-iverse (we made that up) that the team tends to not revisit their projects after they’ve moved on. But that theory was destroyed when Russell Coight’s All Aussie Adventures returned for a third season in 2018 after a many-a-year hiatus. Now, after a 14 year break, the theatresports themed Thank God You’re Here is returning to our TV sets in 2023 for a new season.

Originally presented by Shane Bourne and judged by Tom Gleisner, the basis of the show presented four personalities from various forms of entertainment, dressing them up in a particular costume and showing them the blue door to enter a random scenario, acting out and responding to the characters around them with hilarious results.

Seasons One to Three were screened on Channel 10 between 2006 to 2007, until Channel 7 brought the blue door over for a Season Four in 2009. Now, Channel 10 have brought the blue door back home for Season Five.

Not much is known at the moment if Gleisner is returning as Judge, but Have You Been Paying Attention? regular and Utopia cast member Celia Pacquola will be taking hosting duties of the show.

The show was so successful, that it has been sold overseas and adapted in various countries. You can follow the official social media accounts for updates – as well as a launch date. You can register to be an audience member here.

Update 2023-07-18: Returning Wednesday August 2nd, 2023.

 

Working Dog starts posting more YouTube videos

If you’re still reminiscing about classic Late Show clips then you’re in for a treat! In recent weeks and months, Working Dog Productions has started posting a lot of Late Show videos on its YouTube channel either to coincide with current events (such as Red Hot Chili Peppers touring), or just to have a laugh. You’ll also find clips from other WD productions, such as Utopia, Have You Been Paying Attention, The Castle and of course, Frontline.

The video quality’s generally great too (but it looks like Rob’s Dick Smith impression in the following compilation could have been lifted directly from my crackly VHS recording!).

So what are you waiting for? Subscribe to the channel. While we have you, do subscribe to the Champagne Comedy podcast too! After reviewing all 40 episodes of The Late Show, we’re back and dissecting all things Frontline.