DVD Review: Stop Laughing… This Is Serious

Get to the bottom of Australia’s funny-bone with this six part ABC documentary, out now.

The Comedy department of the ABC as well as Screen Australia and Screen NSW have done this wide brown land a course of justice by bringing Stop Laughing… This Is Serious to the Australian household.

For decades, Australian comedy has tantalized and tickled the funny bone of its citizens, but not much of it is documented in such detail. In this two season, six x one hour episode series, interviews with comedians, actors, writers, performers, producers and many other people from all walks of life discuss the origins and influences of Australian radio, TV, theatre and film comedy. From the early days of In Melbourne Tonight and Graham Kennedy‘s adventurous and risque wit, to bare-naked body parts blending with slapstick music, to uni revues and eventually to the halls of network television and the silver screen, Stop Laughing… This Is Serious interviews many talents who have come far with their careers to become household names.


Each episode has a certain genre / theme to cover. For example: the first episode of Season One (narrated by Eric Bana) highlights the humourous look at everyday suburban life. One’s everyday mannerisms is a performer’s goldmine of jokes (and royalties). While episode three of Season Two (narrated by Colin Lane) covers the topic of how the variety format covers a large age demographic, and helped get many well established comedians of today, a launching pad for their career.

Not to forget, all the controversies are covered too, such as censorship, racism and equality.

Many shows, films and people are covered over the two seasons, like:

  • The Big Gig
  • In Melbourne Tonight
  • Graham Kennedy
  • Kath & Kim
  • Paul Hogan
  • Frontline
  • Judith Lucy
  • The Late Show
  • Hey Hey It’s Saturday
  • Billy Birmingham
  • Black Comedy
  • The Castle
  • Nick Giannopoulos
  • Crocodile Dundee
  • Norman Gunston
  • Edinburgh Fringe Festival
  • The Naked Vicar Show
  • Ian McFadyen
  • Kevin Bloody Wilson
  • Fat Pizza
  • Fast Forward
  • Shaun Micallef
  • The Comedy Company
  • Full Frontal
  • The Chaser
  • Australia, You’re Standing In It
  • The Gillies Republic
  • Barry Humphries

The list is endless.

The 2 disc set contains other than the two seasons and six episodes of the series, but on Disc Two, extras contain more interviews based on jealousy, more details on comedian Gerry Connolly and censorship, a detailed look at Billy Birmingham‘s development of The 12th man, and impressions upon impressions. This DVD set is a definite must-have if you are very passionate about Australian comedy, no matter which shape or form it comes in: from black and white TV to YouTube.

Stop laughing… This Is Serious Seasons 1 and 2 are now available on

DVD  – ABC Shop

iTunes – Season 1 & 2

Google Play – Season 1 & 2

Written for ChampagneComedy.com and Oztalgia.com

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