Next to Community Television, multichannels are about as Off-Broadway as they come. So they are the perfect playground for having a go and trying something new -which is exactly what to expect from Darren & Brose, ONE’s new late-night chat show.
Hosted by Darren Chau and Brose Avard, it is a mix of celebrity interviews, sketches and music crammed into a half hour of freewheeling telly.
Chau and Avard have previously presented on Channel 31 but will now climb a rung on the ladder to Logie heaven courtesy of ONE. The budget for their show produced by Latrobe Media doesn’t appear to be much bigger than on C31, but at least they have access to some network talent as guests.
Darren & Brose isn’t Live and there’s no studio audience, so put away any ideas of the next Vizard or Rove for now. Instead it’s two blokes at a desk with an agreeable celebrity who is along for the ride.
Darren does the driving here, with Brose more sidekick than co-host, and the guest questions are aiming for a punchline rather than an anecdote. Shades of David Tench on that front.
There are so many guests jam-packed into the first episode it is dizzying: Stefan Dennis, Julia Morris, Denise Drysdale, Dave O’Neill, David Reyne, Lawrence Leung and a song from Mike Brady. Not even Graham Norton would attempt such a feat!
Stefan Dennis, proudly owning the title of “The longest consecutive ongoing character in Australian TV history”, is reminded of his pop albums and ludicrous Neighbours storylines.
Julia Morris spills on kissing 50 Shades of Gary Sweet and gets quizzed on TV titles Full Frontal and IMT (not the one with Graham Kennedy, either).
The wonderful Denise Drysdale plays a round of “Trivia Newton-John” on TV history against Brose, and Dave O’Neill does likewise on music.
David Reyne and Lawrence Leung both oblige for a rapid-fire 60 second challenge.
Cramming so many guests into each episode is so ambitious as to be rather frustrating. Drysdale, with her warmth and experience, is too under-utilised while Stefan Dennis and Julia Morris are lucky to squeeze out one anecdote each. Instead it was onto the next question / punchline without any time for natural conversation. That left me wondering whether the show was seeking to be some kind of anti-chat show, or whether it has aspirations to echo the greats.
The filmed sketches, are more miss than hit, but do avoid the show getting too claustrophobic given its one-set limitations. I also couldn’t quite work out why Mike Brady was there to sing Up Their Cazaly -should this be screening in September?
Yet the show has bright spots that are cause for optimism.
Darren Chau is bright and confident as the anchor and displays a genuine love for television, as evidenced by his questions. Where else would you expect to hear references to Police Rescue, Great Aussie Bloopers and Sweet and Sour? These give the show a daggy love of entertainment that should help it find an audience. It’s all linked together with cityscape shots of Melbourne to create the effect of a loose late night show.
The sum total is cheap and cheerful and if only our trusty hosts can allow the guests more time to converse, Darren & Brose could be an ideal way to wind down your evening.
All of which is perfectly fine for a late night, multichannel slot. We’re Off Broadway and experimenting is entirely appropriate for a medium that never likes taking risks. From here the only way is up.
Good on TEN for giving this a whirl. Others such as Hamish & Andy and Rove have their roots in similar terrain. Here’s hoping Darren & Brose get an invite to the Logies next year, even if they are stuck down the back, next to the fire escape.
Darren & Brose airs 11pm Thursday on ONE.