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Australia, Australia this is you

How is it we can still laugh at wounded children, injured animals and wedding pratfalls? Love it or loathe it, Funniest Home Videos is a survivor. Shelley Craft tells TV Tonight why.

shelcIn 1989 Graham Kennedy told Australia to ‘whack it in the old JVC’.

Twenty years later, the clips are still playing, hosted by the bubbly Shelley Craft.

“Now we just whack it in the old JVC DVD,” she says.

After 500 hours and 120,000 clips (and they’re just the ones that made it to air), how is it Australia can still laugh at wounded children, injured animals and wedding pratfalls? Love it or loathe it, Australia’s Funniest Home Videos is a survivor. A slice of video Australiana.

Craft, who also hosts Domestic Blitz, follows in the footsteps of Toni Pearen, Kim Kilbey, Jo Beth Taylor, Catriona Rowntree, Lisa Patrick, Jacki McDonald and Kennedy (the sole male host). She attributes its success as perfect family fare. Viewers have grown up with the show, watch it with their kids in the old Hey Hey slot and warm to the running gag element of the show’s content.

“You have your favourites. I love the animal clips, they would have to be my pick. I’m not very good with baby vomiting. It’s not really my bag at all, especially when it’s on camera,” she says.

“We get so many of the accident stacks, the bike stacks or whatever, but I think only one of them has ever won a Grand Final. It usually does come down to the cute kids. So anyone who has a cute kid at home get the camera rolling you might be $250,000 richer by the end of the year. Chuck in a dog or a mad cat you might get a few votes along the way.”

With some serious prizes on offer there are also those who go to great lengths to stage a perfect accident.

“We do get a couple of fake ones and I’m sure the producers know who they are,” she says. “We have a little catchcry for one guy who sends in one a week. He goes to so much effort and you can tell they’re a set-up. But the attention to detail and the trouble that he’s gone to, you’ve got to give him a crack. So we do show it but unfortunately he’s never in a chance to win the prizes. But we’re very grateful for his efforts.”

The show’s structure has also modified over the years. Now gags are themed under titled segments. There is also a significant proportion of overseas clips.

“But they also use ours,” she says. “We send our clips overseas and they go into the Funniest Videos bank.”

Yet there is nothing as instantly recognisable as seing an Aussie backyard on the telly. In years to come an AFHV time capsule could serve as a video diary of the nation in the nineties and naughties.

“What would the show be without a hills hoist and a slippery slide?”

Hand in hand with the show’s laugh track are its whacky sound effects and voice overs, first effected by impersonator Keith Scott and for the last five years voiced by Dave Gibson.

This week the show marks its 20th Anniversary with a best-of battle between the show’s previous Grand Final winners. Expect to see lots of infants falling over, animals with unique tricks and adults going A over T. The show is defiantly the ultimate running gag.

“It’s always going to end the same isn’t it?” asks Craft.

Indeed.

Australia’s Funniest Home Videos 20th Anniversary Special airs 6:30pm Saturday on Nine.

20 Responses

  1. Plenty of the ones that made the best list were hilarious, but number 1 wasn’t even remotely funny! Best video of all time!?! What the? I had about a dozen people at my house and they all (ages of 40 down to 6) thought it was a stupid video and not even cute! What were the judges thinking? Not even the audience laughed.

  2. Shelly is an awesome host, and was definitely needed as the show was getting a bit repetitive with Toni Pearen, however she was awesome too. I really miss Shelly on Satruday Disney! She and Dan were the best hosts that show ever had.

    And if Shelly was the really Shelly that posted the message on this blog, then maybe she can tell us if Domestic Blitz is on a “production break” or if it is actually axed.

  3. Goonies, it’s amazing that people have noticed the bananas and pyjamas kiddy couch underneath me…you’re not the first and it’s probably what I get laughed at for the most…I do have to defend myself and say it was my 2 year old nephew’s couch which I borrowed for the occasion!

  4. I don’t think it’s “purile” – it’s just a show that families can watch and little kids (and occassionally adults) laugh at. The 6:30 Saturday timeslot exemplifies this.

  5. I agree with Steve. Its a terrible show. Very cheap and purile. I’ve never found small children getting hurt while their parents continue to stand there filming to be particularly funny.

  6. Thanks for the article David. Yes, I hope the show is around for the next 20 years too. Everybody needs a laugh now and then as long as you can laugh at yourself as well. Thank you “HMM” for thinking I have had a facelift.. I am actually just not suffering from 6 years of jet lag anymore.

  7. @Marco – may I just say the Bananas in Pyjamas cushion underneath you took the clip to a whole nother level!!

    I agree with Andrew B too – sometimes I feel like throwing something at the tv over the lame videos that make the finals. Who decides which ones make the top 3?

  8. I won 3 cars out of it in 2004 by coming 2nd for the year – so I’m eternally grateful and a faithful viewer. They play my clip at least once a year – so it’s no biggie if it isn’t aired this time around (if anyone’s ever seen it, I’m the guy getting his chest waxed by him mum, and screaming like a little girl! It did hurt tho, a lot!!!

  9. Not even physical torture would force me to watch this incredibly lame and puerile show, but it’s always been very cheap for Nine to make, so it’ll be around for another 20 years.

  10. Hi David
    Any idea if they’re only showing the 20 years worth of Grand Final winners, or also runner’s up or top 3 of each year? I don’t think 20 clips or so could pad out the hour – unless they’ve gone to the trouble of getting the winners into the studio for a catch-up?

    Cheers

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