Comedy fans should definitely tune in for ABC’s doco series Stop Laughing …This is Serious, which begins this week on ABC.
There are 3 x 1 hr specials with a cavalcade of performers (mostly), writers and producers. The first episode looks at the use of rebellion in Comedy.
Interestingly one of the talking heads who appears in the series is Gary Reilly whose credits include The Naked Vicar Show and Kingswood Country -but there is no mention of Hey Dad! anywhere to be seen.
Still a thorough piece for fans of the genre.
The first episode of Stop Laughing…this is serious is called “FAARK, FAARK” and it looks upwards at the comedy of rebellion and anti-authority. Its title comes from one of the greatest rebels in Australian comedy – Graham Kennedy, who as the irrepressible host of In Melbourne Tonight in the 1950s invented a “crow call” to allow him to say a word deemed far too rude for television.
Much of our comedy has celebrated the rebels and rogues and laughed along with the larrikins. From Graham Kennedy breaking all the rules of television to Norman Gunston appearing on the steps of Parliament House during Gough Whitlam’s dismissal to the invention of Les Patterson and the remarkable story of Rodney Rude as a champion of freedom of speech, we love the little guy punching upwards – taking on the authorities and making us laugh.
We look at the comedy of the underdog, including Basically Black the first indigenous TV comedy with the heroic character Super Boong tackling racism wherever he finds it. We look at the fertile comedy breeding grounds of the university revues and how they spawned many of our favourite comedy shows like The Aunty Jack Show, The D Generation, Big Girl’s Blouse, The Late Show, Fast Forward and Full Frontal. We see how anarchic live acts Los Trios Ringbarkus and the Doug Anthony All Stars raised the stakes by involving the audience in their electric live shows and creating an air of unpredictability.
We explore the rise of political satire with Australia You’re Standing In It and The Gillies Report and its continued popularity with Shaun Micallef’s Mad as Hell. Tim Minchin explains the need for satire to mock the powerful and question the status quo, before Barry Humphries reminds us that comedians can set out to change the world, but must never expect to actually do so!
9pm Wednesday on ABC.