Did ABC comedy special snub Daryl & Ossie?

Over 27 years together on our screen but ABC's doco didn't ask a favourite duo to contribute.


ABC’s comprehensive doco series on Australian Comedy Stop Laughing …This is Serious ends tonight after three episodes, but leaves some big names off its roll call.

With over 60 contributors to the 3 hour special, why no sign of Daryl & Ossie? The pair were nowhere to be seen, despite over 27 years of Hey Hey it’s Saturday on our screens. With so many luminary personalities -both in front and behind the cameras- Daryl Somers and Ernie Carroll should really have been invited to participate together. Ignoring Red Faces -especially its discoveries- was a big oversight.

Jennifer Collins, Head of Non-Fiction, Screentime told TV Tonight,Hey Hey it’s Saturday was featured twice in the series – an early comedy performance by Dave Hughes , and a song “Amigos para Siempre” performed by Norman Gunston and Effie.

“There were so many major contributors to the story of Australian comedy, but limited to a three hour series, some tough decisions were made.

“Daryl was not approached for an interview for Stop Laughing…This is Serious, but Hey Hey it’s Saturday was cited within the series.”

Ernie Sigley and Denise Drysdale, did also not appear in the interviews despite decades as a comedic variety duo.

Other names who would be worth considering could include Bert Newton, David Williamson, Phillip Adams, Mike McColl-Jones, Ugly Dave Gray, Jacki MacDonald, John Blackman, Mark Mitchell, Brian Doyle, Reg Livermore, Chris Lilley, Rob Sitch, Barry Crocker, Brian Nankervis, Ted Emery, Adam Zwar, Geoffrey Atherden, Mark Trevorrow, Adam Richard, Michael Veitch, Kim Gyngell.

Also an acknowledgment of writer Fred Parsons, who spanned three eras of Australian comedy, writing vaudeville and variety theatre on Tivoli circuit for Dick Bentley, George Wallace, Mo and then on to TV with Buster Fiddess, Joff Ellen and The Wilsons with Graeme Kennedy and Rosie Sturgess. Parsons made famous the lines, “Fair Suck Of The Sav” and “That was a Joke Joyce.”

Also a chapter on children’s comedy characters? And a nod to Jeanne Little and Maurie Fields.

How about another round, please Auntie?

23 Responses

  1. It tried to be a look back at pivotal examples from the history of Australian comedy – not “20 to 1 : Great Aussie Comedies”.

    And HHiS was always a variety show anyway. If you had to pick critical examples of those for a comedy retrospective, you’d start with “In Melbourne Tonight” and draw a line from there through “The Don Lane Show” and beyond. Longevity notwithstanding, HHiS would be a minor side-note – mainly notable for its move from a Saturday kids show to prime-time.

      1. Another omission, though perhaps deliberate, is Hey Dad. As much as we groan about it, and as much as its legacy has been tarnished by recent events, it was still our most successful sitcom and one of the longest running in the world. And it sold well overseas at the time.

        Maybe it’s featured in part 3 but I doubt it. Might still be a raw nerve with some.

        1. Gary Reilly and Tony Satler featured in interviews, and their body of work includes Hey Dad! As I noted previously, it isn’t mentioned. Despite being our longest running sitcom (and one of the longest in the world) it would be a case of damned if you do / don’t. But again as they were interviewed it seems remiss to overlook Somers / Carroll.

  2. It seems that a three-part series isn’t enough to cover such a broad topic. Perhaps it should have been longer.

    I think other name they could have mentioned was Mary Hardy. She was a very popular performer and comedian in the 60s and 70s at a time where there were few female comics.

    Surprised also that there’s no mention of The Mavis Bramston Show which was really the first major comedy series produced here. Or even, for that matter, Number 96 which also had a strong comic element.

    Of course I say all of this having not yet seen Part 3 which is tonight. So that might address some of the above.

  3. I’m no huge fan of Hey Hey but perhaps it just didn’t fit the ABC view through the rose coloureds… – too mainstream , too popular, too commercial ? The little lovies who made this series ( love to know the budget for it because we paid for it ) had probably never even heard of Daryl Somers.. . I’m not joking.

  4. They’ve totally forgotten the staple comedies that were absolutely revolutionary:
    The Wedge, The Comedy Sale, The Late Report, Let Loose Live, The Big News, The Late Report, The Bob Morrison Show, Flipside, Newlyweds, Col’n Carpernter, Eggshells, Bligh, Bingles, Are You Being Served Down Under, Wedlocked…. and the all important, high ratings – Paradise Beach, Echo Point and Breakers.

    1. Perhaps they could do one on the not so greats like Over the Hill, Brass Monkeys, Newlyweds, Daily At Dawn and include those along with it and maybe Let The Blood Run Free (though I personally liked that a lot didn’t).

    2. I see what you did there. Actually, I thought The Wedge was alright and had some good sketches.

      Don’t forget Cops LAC and Hiding – the writing was hilarious on both.

  5. Totally agree David, I know people like to constant put Hey Hey down but I think the contribution that it made to comedy and for such a huge part of it should definitely not be understated, the show put so many people on the map comedy wise that prob owe the show a huge debt

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