It took a mere six years in between Troy Kinne‘s first pilot for Seven to having his own sketch comedy on 7mate.
During that time he had presumed TV was not going to be for him.
“I’d done a pilot for Channel Seven of a sketch comedy with Dave Thornton, Tom Siegert and Monty Franklin through FremantleMedia. We won (a pitch) at the SPAA Conference and won a Channel Seven funded pilot. It was all systems go,” he tells TV Tonight.
“But when we handed it in it was the same week they bought Thank God You’re Here from Channel TEN. So they decided they didn’t need us.”
Instead he kept producing YouTube clips, working in radio and Stand Up Comedy. Eventually Seven producer Maryanne Carroll rediscovered his Pilot and got in touch. He’s now about to premiere his second self-titled season on 7mate.
On YouTube he has clips nudging half a million viewers, such as the simply titled “Shit Never Said During the Olympics.” It was this kind of broad, Aussie popularity that suited the 7mate brand.
“The whole thing of being online and popular was a bit of a mystery to them. So they wanted whatever it is that people find appealing on YouTube, could we somehow carry that over to Television? That was the main task they gave us,” said Kinne.
He describes his comedy style as “observational and relatable.”
“When we did the first show we sent out a very Jerry Maguire mission statement of what we wanted the show to be. One of the key things was we wanted to make a big deal of the little issues,” he recalls.
“The theory was there are more important people than us taking care of the big issues, so we’re focussed on little nuances, the way we behave in relationships, and family.
“How much we cling to our phones. Things like that.
“The hardest thing is being so broad so that it appeals to a mass of people, but the trouble you can run into is you make the joke too obvious.
“Ray Romano once said if you find the comedy in little things people will say ‘I thought that only happened to me.’
“So I pride myself on constantly trying to find those things out, in the way that people behave.”
His partner in crime is 24 year old Max Price, behind the scenes whiz who co-produces, co-writes, co-edits -and even makes on camera appearances.
“Other shows try to find the best talent but I’m happy to admit I’m not very good in front of the camera! I mumble and forget my lines,” says the self-taught Price.
He credits Maryanne Carroll with backing their talent, in the transition from online to television.
“She may not get the social media sketches but she backs us and says ‘If you guys think it’s funny, go for it.’ This is my first experience in TV but when I tell other people that they go ‘Wow!’”
“Maryanne has taken us under her wing. She knows we will form our own production company eventually, so she is teaching us,” Kinne explains.
“We can make a TV show from start to finish with the computer and deliver it without anyone’s help.
“I met Max when the whole YouTube thing was starting, and we were doing sketches again. I was a huge fan of The Late Show and The Comedy Company.
“Once we got to that point we were attacking it like it was a full time job. We’d call each other in the morning, discuss ideas, meet over script ideas, film and edit it.”
“There’s good and bad about the whole YouTube phenomenon now. The good is anyone can get on there and make stuff and get noticed. The bad thing is, anyone can get on there and make stuff.”
Season Two of the low-budget series features a small comedy ensemble, with Ronny Chieng and the addition of Roz Hammond (Mad as Hell).
“On the first day she was so awesome I said ‘Roz if your acting level is going to stay at that level you have to let us all know, because its not going to fit in!’”
Including a female-perspective on the male-dominated channel is crucial, even in the sketches titled New Boyfriend vs Real Boyfriend and Things Never Said on Bucks Night.
“We always try to write a sketch to make sure the woman ‘wins.’ We go out of our way to try and make that happen,” Price insists.
The ‘Off-Broadway’ debut has been worth it. Troy Kinne is now nominated for the Graham Kennedy Most Outstanding Newcomer Award at the Logies.
7mate has given him freedom to experiment.
“On the main channel there would be –for lack of a better word- more people sticking their noses in. Even for the (previous) pilot they wouldn’t let us in the edit room, so I was really shocked at how much control we’ve had.”
Kinne returns 9:30pm Thursday on 7mate.