Segments and Sketches

Jeff and Terry’s Home Building (1992)

This bumbling duo of shonky salesmen, Jeff and Terry, were played by Rob Sitch and Santo Cilauro, with Jane Kennedy as the straight woman/interviewer, trying to conduct a type of infomercial. What made the sketch funny were the frequent script blunders.

Rob: Home cladding-well, the benefits are obvious. Unlike wood or vinyl cladding these quality polystyrene claddings will never crack.
Santo: Nah, they warp.
Rob: Yeah, but only if you leave them out in the sun they warp. They’re fire resistant.
Santo: But if you put them too close to a fire they burn like buggery.
Rob: But you can hose them down! Don’t alarm our clients unneccessarily!
Santo: Sorry. In fact, when they’re on fire we recommend hosing down.
Rob: You need never have to paint again.
Santo: But you should, to avoid your home lookin’ shithouse.
Jane: How long have you been in the business?
Santo: Next week marks our first week in the business. It’s not a business. What did that guy from Consumer Affairs call it?
Rob: A scam. It goes business-scam-corporation. Scam is very highly regarded…our new offer, for this month only we’ll build and clad your home, with colour computer thrown in, no profit margin, just bare bones for um… six…
Santo: No make it nine.
Rob: $9,000. For this month only we’ll do two for the price of one.
Santo: But the price of that one’s doubled.
Rob: All our work comes with a money back guarantee
Santo: When you give us your money we guarantee not to give it back
Jane: Surely there’s a cooling off period?
Rob: There’s a 14 day cooling off period
Santo: But that starts 14 days before you sign the contract

The Olden Days (1992)

‘The Olden Days’ was a send-up of the 1970s gold rush series, ‘Rush’, which screened on the ABC. Throughout 1992, the D-Gen dubbed over original footage of the show and substituted names for characters, such as Governor Frontbottom and Sergeant Olden. The gold fields had turned muddy, and the beards were worse than ever. In 1993 The Olden Days had run its course and was replaced by Bargearse.

The song for the opening titles went like this:

They come from Coopers Crossing
And Darwin and the south
From the mighty plains of Innisfail
To the Murrumbidgee’s mouth
Through bushfires, snakes and tinea
Drizzle, drought and flood
None of them will hold us back
When someone cries out mud!

Mud boys, mud
We’ll give our flesh and blood
Our backs will ache
Our beards are fake
We’ll all pretend the sets don’t shake
Mud boys mud
We’ll deck them with a thud

Fires will burn
Floods will quench
But we’ll still have a buxom wench
And keep on shouting mud… mud!

Frontbottom: Look at our conversations. They’re so simplistic.
Olden: No they’re not.
Frontbottom: Yes they are.
Olden: No..they’re..not
Front: The are they are too.
Olden: They’re not…they’re not
Front: They are, they are, they ARE..they are..they are..they ARE..they are, they are, they ARE they are, they ARE.

For more on the original series see Classic Australian Television.

Shirty, The Slightly Aggressive Bear

Shirty was a regular send-up of gloopy children’s television programmes which featured a bear that got a tad violent if he didn’t get his way. As Jason revealed in the last episode of Season 1, Shirty was based on Percy the Panda, a character from the 1960s children’s TV show Adventure Island. But who was underneath that lovable costume?

In a sketch which failed to make it to the DVDs, we discovered that Shirty was actually played by Russell Crowe, who at the time was only beginning to taste fame after the release of neo-Nazi flick Romper Stomper. Now, I always thought this was a sketch Russell would rather let lie, but he’s discussed it recently (March 2006) on Mick Molloy’s radio show, Tough Love.

Graham and the Colonel

Top! Uncompromising! No holds barred, no beg your pardons. It’s time for those intellectual sparring partners, Graham and the Colonel!

Whether you loved or hated sport (and, with the exception of the Olympics, I was very much in the latter camp) The Late Show’s penultimate sketch, Graham and the Colonel was one of the funniest segments during Seasons 1 and 2. Apart from their take on the latest sports news, you’d listen to long-winded anecdotes (such as stories about the crap racing horse Dufflecoat Supreme or the Mrs Colonel). And of course, there’d be the inevitable fluffing up of lines which led to them throwing their scripts behind them to a background of audience laughter.

Tommy G at the News Desk

Not too many Tommy G news sketches made it to the official DVDs because of their topical content (although a number of superb impersonations of notable world figures by Rob and Tony certainly did). The topical nature of the news was one of the main reasons why the ABC never repeated The Late Show in its entirety years later (does anyone remember the Adelaide water supply problems of 1993?).

However, if you watch them again you do in fact remember the ‘main events’ of that time and I’m sure that even today’s audiences would find them funny even if they weren’t even born back then! And can learn about historical context as well!


One of The Late Show’s biggest hits of 1992 was Shitscared, a segment which included accident prone stunt duo Mick and Rob being interviewed by Tom Gleisner. Rob being the earnest, patronising yet ignorant stuntman and Mick being his dimwitted sidekick.

Oh, and both of them are quite shitscared! This segment was one of the opportunities for the D-Generation to include a little more slapstick into the proceedings (as if there wasn’t enough already). The Poolside Shitscared is my personal favourite, where Mick fills Rob’s snorkel with helium, and the “Robbie’s done wee!” quote. Ah, how puerile. Another good Shitscared includes the Oriental Shitscared (on the DVD).

Pissweak World

An occasional segment which advertises an exciting ‘theme park’, which in reality is an extremely low-budget affair located in someone’s home or garden. Marvel at the authentic teepee (an umbrella). Ride the horses! (Tom’s dog Charlie.) Pissweak World starred the Pissweak Kids, who later went on to star in the equally pissweak Charlie the Wonderdog; in the 1993 season.

Mick and Tony’s Street Interviews

It’s so easy to take the piss out of people who a) can’t speak English, b) are old or c) have no dress sense. And yes, it seems like a comedic cop-out, but Mick and Tony do it so well that you just don’t care. These people are real and they’re funny! Indeed, so inspired were my friend Kinuyo and I by these interviews (about topics such as the Worst Dressed celebrity, the man who entered a female beauty contest, the Australian anthem) than in 1993 (when we were 16 and 17) we gathered up the old Handycam and wandered out to the mean fields of the School Athletics Carnival, quizzing students about ‘Whether or not you watched The Late Show’. We tried to do a Mick and Tony demeanour – ‘Do you consider yourself to be the doyenne of the Athletics Carnival?’ I do recall little girls in their sports outfits saying ‘It’s dumb!’, and another group of people singing ‘Ouchy Wouchy Heart’ to camera. Hope I can find the tape.

Anyway, the Worst Dressed interviews are the best. But overall the bits that stick in my mind are: The ‘Bloody Jeff Kennett’ man on bike, the bloke with the ‘tight Lee jeans’, ‘Do you notice you’ve got a kid growing on the back of your head?’, Delilah the Doyenne of the fashion industry, ‘I TINKA’ guy, and the ‘We should have a flag with a bum and a fist coming out of it’… ‘You’re a thinker, aren’t you bits. Vintage.

Toilet Breaks (1992-1993)

I’ve put both Toilet Breaks together. These are a chance for people to go to the toilet while some horrible TV show featuring bad music is played for two minutes. The first Toilet Breaks were cheesy musical snippets from a bygone era and complemented the other regular segment of 1992, Countdown Classics presented by Jane and Tom (we don’t mention CCs in great detail here, only we will say those Ian ‘Molly’ Meldrum ‘technical glitches’ are very, very funny).

The 1993 Toilet Break clips are arguably much better and feature people performing on the 1987 talent quest show, ‘Pot Luck’, judged by the late Bernard King. Most famously, young Piffy the Bell Ringer (aka Remi Broadway) with his big grin and flamboyant, frilly shirt, wooed the camp Mr King no end. This cringeworthy 1987 clip instantly became a cult classic. Several weeks after The Late Show broadcast the Piffy segment, Remi, who’d matured into a teenager by then, appeared on Graham and the Colonel to do a bell-ringing version of the theme tune to great acclaim. Some years later, Remi went on to present a children’s show and has had bit-parts in several minor Hollywood films.

By Kim Gilmour