Funny uncle

Scott Brennan is the gay uncle to his nieces and nephews, but he also has some advice to share in ABC's Agony Uncles.

Performer and writer Scott Brennan is just a tad concerned about Agony Uncles.

Brennan, best known for his appearances in Skithouse, Comedy Inc. and Neighbours, is one of several blokes consulted by Adam Zwar for a new ABC series on the big questions about relationships.

“To be honest there might be a couple of things in there that I don’t really want my parents to hear. So I will have to word them up,” he admits.

Quizzed by Zwar on a long list of social questions, he knew he wouldn’t be able to fall back on a punchline every time.

“I thought if I’m going to talk about this stuff then may as well be completely honest. I can’t just sit there and make joke after joke. These are quite big stages in people’s lives so I wanted to be as completely honest as I could have been,” he says.

“(The show) is about giving advice and sharing life experiences in a particular tone of voice.

“It’s about guiding people through the difficult transitions that we face in life. That’s the brief but I think most of what I say is just me babbling. But that’s generally what I do for  a living. But it’s advice for men of a certain age.”

The ‘Uncles’ include Tim Ross, John Elliott, Tom Elliott, Brett Tucker, Josh Lawson, Ed Kavalee, Waleed Aley, Sam Pang, Damian Walshe-Howling, Des Dowling, Adam Elliot, Glynn Nicholas, Kick Gurry, Dave Thornton and Lawrence Mooney.

Zwar conducted one on one interviews for the six-part series, comparing the new-age male, metrosexual male, and Aussie bloke with traditional values reared in the 50s, 60s and 70s. There are firm views and grey areas, mixed with a whole lot of wrong. It may well be likened to a younger Grumpy Old Men.

“He had a big list of different headings and just fired off the questions. If we went off in a tangent, then we went off in a tangent. So we really just sat for hours having a gasbag, really. They’re the sort of questions anyone would ask,” Brennan explains.

“How to pick up, how to meet someone, what’s it like at the start of a relationship, how do you decide that you’re actually going out together, how to negotiate and the nuts and bolts of the real things that happen. Breaking up, divorce, how to meet someone new –all that kind of stuff.

“I don’t think anyone has all the answers so this is a good format because there are enough people in the show to provide some kind of answer for something.”

Brennan is not only an uncle and godfather, but a gay uncle and godfather, so his relationship experiences are weaved in amongst the advice of his heterosexual peers.

“I think Adam said ‘I need a poof on this show, who will I get, I’ll get Scotty!’ So he got me and Adam Elliot.”

But he hasn’t ever needed to explain his personal preferences to his nieces and nephews.

“I’m the cool uncle, let’s face it. I’m the uncle that’s on the telly. I’m also the youngest uncle so I think I’m the closest to what my nieces and nephews are going through,” he says.

“I never sat down with them. Some of them are young enough that I’ve always just been gay, because I’ve been out for 20 years or so. Mostly it’s just a fact of life for them, and they’re fantastic. I get on really well with them.”

Recently Brennan has been writing for ABC3’s Prank Patrol, appearing in Spontaneous Broadway in Adelaide, getting ready for the Comedy Festival and shooting an appearance in Zwar’s other series, Lowdown

“I’m the only person in that show to play a different character,” he admits.

“They gave me a different character for the second series and I don’t have a fake moustache or anything.”

So if he’s worried that frank answers in Agony Uncles might surprise his parents, is he also worried that representing 10% of the population his advice won’t be of any use to others?

“I’d like to think I’m wise enough that the other 90% will take some of it on board.”

Agony Uncles premieres 9:30pm tonight on ABC1.

16 Responses

  1. Well I loved it. Hubby (reluctanly at first) and I had a few laugh out loud moments. Being a fan of some of the Uncles definetly helped, but found it completely light hearted and enjoyable.

  2. Victor, Agony Uncles pretty much held onto Gordon Street’s lead-in. What is not positive about that? At 9.30pm, it’s rare for a program to out-rate the program that preceded it. In any case, it more than doubled Outland’s ratings from the previous week. And was comparable to The Good Wife on Channel 10. Did you leap into print before you did your research or are you just trying to stick the boot in to fill the hours in your day. Either way, you obviously didn’t watch it. Otherwise you would have remembered the title.

  3. Agony Aunts – a derivative show with mediocre Australian celebrities with almost nothing to say. And the audience didn’t even bother to turn up. It joins a growing ABC list across many genres. Just who commissions this stuff at the ABC? Seems to be a complete lack of ambition, execution or ideas. Give more money to SBS instead.

  4. The fact that Adam Zwar, Scott and Adam Elliot weave their relationship questions in with the rest indicates everybody is very comfy with treating them all as equal. Scott and I had a friendly chat about what he brought to the show and hopefully that’s what the article reflects. 10% line was a bit of a light nod to social cliches in keeping with the tone of the show, and it came from me. Funny the things that draw a reaction sometimes!

  5. First of all I don’t think that David conducted this interview, he is just reporting on it and rewording the questions that were already asked (correct me if I’m wrong)

    Second of all, I’m gay and if I was asked that question I’d probably be mroe confused than offended.
    Although I probably wouldn’t be surprised to find out that someone thought that gay relationships were drastically different to hetero relationships.

  6. I don’t think it mattered who was saying what, whether that be the straight men or the 2 gay(open) men, they were all just stating how they went about dating, the basic hit and misses with it all, was the same for all.

    Of the two gay men, the one mentioned in this article was the less interesting, comedians can never just be themselves, they are always on the job.

    As for %, it will never be known, the exact no., when society makes people live in fear of being their true self, and be completely open about it. What I find interesting, is that gays rarely talk up the no., but straights love to keep it low, 5% or 3%, or 0%, as if they would be the voice of knowledge on such things.

    As for the show, it was okay, it has been done before(UK), it doesn’t hurt to have an Aust. one done of the same premise I guess.

  7. Sorry David, but I find the last comment insulting. Gay relationships are identical in most aspects to heterosexual ones and I think a different insight might in fact open other people’s eyes to things they haven’t thought about before in relation to their own relationships.

  8. As a gay person, I think it’s too hard to account for the number of people who are still living closeted and acting ‘straight’ despite not being so. And what about those who are bisexual?

    If we’re talking about the percentage of people who aren’t completely heterosexual, then I think the figure would be significantly more than just 10%

  9. and to Benji77, no it doesn’t matter.
    As I said, it was just a comment and I guess this isn’t the place to initiate any sort of discussion about things that aren’t really relevant to the article/show/actor that a post discusses.

  10. All I said was that I thought that estimates of 5% were more realistic.

    Based mostly on several discussions that I have read over the years.
    I know that there’ll never be a true figure due to a;; the complications in measuring such a thing.

    I just made the comment in passing because I thought it was generally accepted that the 10% figure often quoted was a little high.

  11. So Jarrod, you’re questioning the accuracy of the 10% figure and then pull 5% out of where?

    How people answer questions about their sexual identity often depends on how those questions are asked, the circumstances under which they are asked (face to face interview, anonymous form, etc), and how socially acceptable the interviewee thinks homosexuality is. Things are further complicated depending on whether we’re measuring the percentage of people who identify as “gay”, the percentage who have had a homosexual experience, or the percentage who feel some attraction toward the same sex but don’t necessarily act upon it.

    Then, are we measuring just those who are exclusively gay or do we include bisexuals? What about people in prison or NRL footballers out on a Friday night?

    So, where did you get that 5% from again?

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