Kings of the kids
They are slime-tastic, clean-living and prefer Chamomile Tea to alcohol. Are Nickelodeon's Luke & Wyatt the next Hamish & Andy?
These two are seasoned hosts for the Nickelodeon channel, fronting the live chaos that is SlimeFest to the adventure fun on Camp Orange.
Now in its 10th season, Camp Orange: Force 10 is the fifth instalment to be hosted by the pair. They maintain the adventure series is a perfect fit for their brand of kid’s entertainment and comedy, without ever talking down to their audience.
“I think Luke and I really understand the joy of getting kids to be a part of it in a really fun way. It is competitive but it’s not mean-spirited. That’s a really delicate balance to walk,” says Wyatt (pictured, right).
“The reason it has done so well is because it really hits that and there’s no other show on network or Foxtel with aspiration and adventure for kids.
“No-one is ever eliminated and everyone shares rewards. The aim is to be the nicest.”
With 5 competing teams competing at SeaWorld, the show offers ‘take-away memories’ as prizes, such as a helicopter ride, for all but the grand final. The audience also gets to vote on the winners.
“Last year we did it via the website and we filmed 4 different endings. The NZ team romped it in, because everyone in NZ voted for that team, and a few Aussies. But they were fantastic. So this year we have two (NZ) teams so I think it will split the islands in half.”
This season the show includes guest appearances by Timomatic, Luke Jacobz and Matt Bennett (Victorious, pictured, centre).
“He’s great on set. He doesn’t dumb it down and he’s not patronising,” says Wyatt.
Luke and Wyatt met nearly a decade ago at a Perth University, before tackling busking and stand-up comedy.
“We were more invested in theatre. I mean as if people would pay us to muck around and be idiots? That was our attitude,” explains Luke (pictured, left).
“A lot of it is bringing your own sensibility to it. Nickelodeon has picked up on our comedic sensibility with adults and it’s worked really well with the brand, because it’s slightly edgy.
“Sometimes kid’s stuff can be all ‘smiley, happy, let’s all have a party.’ But a lot of kid’s stuff these days is going a lot darker.”
Wyatt notes even fantasy cartoons like Adventure Time are speaking to adult viewers.
“I chat to my friends in their late 20s and ask them what they did on the weekend and they say they sat at home and watched 3 series of Adventure Time,” he says.
“Things come along and reinvent the industry and it’s age is so much older than what it’s doing,” Luke adds.
“It’s 11 minutes of surreal storytelling,” says Wyatt.
After 4 years of living in Melbourne the pair are now based in Sydney.
But given they are ever-popular with younger viewers, do they need to be mindful of their image in their personal time?
“We’re pretty clean-living dudes. I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, I have a lot of Chamomile tea and I have a girlfriend. I’m pretty normal, so there’s not too much to regulate,” Luke confesses.
“I don’t think there will ever be some crazy expose!” Wyatt suggests.
“‘Luke went to bed past 9:30pm because he wanted to watch an extra season of House of Cards!’” Wyatt jokes.
So with such dedication to their craft, and a 2012 ASTRA Award under their belt as Most Outstanding Presenter, do they ever see themselves as making the leap to primetime television? Are they the next Hamish and Andy?
“At the moment with where we are at and what we’re working on, we’re really enjoying Nickelodeon. We’ve been with them now for a number of years and they give us a lot of creative freedom to do what we want. They’ve let us evolve with the network, which is a really big plus,” says Luke.
“We obviously have dreams and plans, and a lot of that is staying zip-tight.”
Camp Orange: Force 10 premieres 5:30pm Tuesday June 10 on Nickelodeon.