Whatever Happened to That Guy?
What and give up show business? Peter Moon bares his soul for the sake of a new comedy living life in the Australian entertainment video bin.
There is a scene in the second episode of Whatever Happened to That Guy? where former Fast Forward star Peter Moon, playing Peter Moon, goes to audition for an advertisement.
When he gets there he finds out it’s an ad for erectile dysfunction treatment.
Seated in the room waiting for their chance to read are John Blackman, Pete Smith, Red Symons, Wilbur Wilde and Michael Veitch.
It’s a moment that sums up the self-irreverant tone of Moon’s new comedy in which he sends himself up mercilessly.
The series opens with Moon in bed laughing at his old Fast Forward clips. How well we all remember, “Oh Victor, you are very unattractive man”. Unlike the rest of us, Moon hasn’t moved on. The Indian carpet seller is another he will reference before this series is through. While he shrieks with embarrassing laughter his long-suffering wife, played terrifically by Andrea Powell, is trying desperately to get to sleep.
This comedy dares to show us what it’s like to plummet from being an A-list invitee in the 1990s to unemployment a decade later. Now Moon bellyflops from ‘prospective project’ to ‘prospective project.’ All the while he talks up the veneer of success. There are important meetings to be had, bites of producer interest and new ideas on the go.
There is also apathy, laziness, and creative negativity. With his writing partner Bruno (Paul Ireland), Moon fakes his way through the latest brainstorming sessions on his next film script.
Wherever he turns he is recognised…. sort of…. although nobody can quite seem to remember his name, referring to him by the industry default: “that bloke off the telly.”
Once Moon reminds them of FF most respond with affection, before adding a running gag that “Magda was funnier.”
In the first episode, Moon is distracted by a health scare, which sees him front his doctor (a no-fuss Jeremy Kewley). Against Moon, most of the other performers play everything necessarily straight.
Directed by FF and Kath & Kim director Ted Emery, the style of the show is not too disimilar to his famous Riley / Turner sitcom: a low-budget production set in suburbia, with an under-achiever tone. Moon even has a former FF writer on board here, Brendan Luno.
A number of familiar faces join in the self-mocking gags by playing themselves -this fun idea is only confused when recognisable actors play traditional roles, such as Damian Walshe-Howling as a TV technician in the second episode.
Whilst the media assault isn’t as blistering as Frontline or as vitriolic as Curb Your Enthusiasm, you can’t help but admire the guts it takes to bare your soul, your career, your fears -yes and even your body- for the sake of a new television project.
Peter Moon turns from comic jester to a neurotic life in the Australian entertainment video bin.
Somebody get this guy a gig or we’re all done for.
Whatever Happened to That Guy premieres 8:30pm Monday May 25 on the Comedy Channel