Stop Laughing …This is Serious!: April 8


The third and final episode of Stop Laughing …This is Serious! looks at how Australian comedy has established itself on the world stage.

Watch for Barry Humphries talking about how a young Malcolm Turnbull criticised him as an Aussie export to London -and several priceless Norman Gunston interviews (yes Sally Struthers is there).

For a comedian, where you are from is no longer important, it’s whether you are funny, period. From Barry Humphries to Tim Minchin to Adam Hills, our Aussie tenacity has shown the world our comedians are funny wherever they perform.

When the world turns its attention down under, we know how to make them laugh as Roy and HG did during the Sydney Olympics with The Dream. In the mockumentary series The Games, John Clarke shows that behind-the-scenes shenanigans organising the Olympics is also ripe for comedy.

Our Aussie accent and language has also developed into a tool in our comedic armoury as pioneered by Paul Hogan and followed by Dave Hughes, Adam Hills and You Tube sensations the Bondi Hipsters. We show how Australia got over the cultural cringe, which was lampooned in 1960s political satire The Mavis Bramston Show and how Norman Gunston gave overseas visitors a baffling and hilarious introduction to the land down under in the 1970s. Magda Szubanski explains how exporting the soap opera Neighbours laid the cultural groundwork for Paul Hogan to become the most well known Aussie overseas with his box office smash Crocodile Dundee.

Meanwhile, the live comedy scene has been evolving constantly, with Australian duos Los Trios Ringbarkus and Lano and Woodley both winning the coveted Perrier Award in Edinburgh and returning to great acclaim in Australia. Edinburgh has seen many Aussie comedians pass through its numerous venues, not least the indiscreet arrival of 50 antipodean artists led by John Pinder and Rod Qantock landing in 1988 – an invasion known as Oznost. The Doug Anthony Allstars were wreaking havoc round the UK at the same time with their own brand of edgy, dangerous live comedy while Wendy Harmer was also tackling UK audiences.

Finally, “Hello Possums” explores the new ways comedy can find an audience with so many talented performers publishing their own comedy online, often leading to more mainstream success both in Australia and overseas. The future of Australian comedy is looking rosier than ever as we enter an exciting new dawn of globalised hilarity!

9pm Wednesday on ABC.

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