Too many autocues, not enough Live audiences says Ed Kavalee

Paying Attention regular calls for more Live audiences & comedians, less autocues, earpieces & contestants.


Strictly speaking Have You Been Paying Attention? is not Live to Air, but Ed Kavalee remains a fervent advocate for Live telly and audiences.

“Live TV has a vibe to it which is good and that’s why Live audiences matter so much too, I reckon. You still get moments where, if something starts to happen, everyone gets their tails up and you can have some fun with it,” he tells TV Tonight.

“There’s a lot of autocue going on out there, a lot of earpieces going on out there. There’s a lot of pre-prepared renovating contests and singing contests. That’s fine. Whatever.

“But I like that Working Dog –and Dirty Laundry Live as well- have Live audiences. Let’s get people in a room, do something and we’ll see what happens!”

Have You Been Paying Attention? is recorded ‘As Live,’ a term used for shows that endeavour to keep rolling with an audience present. Working Dog has a litany of audience shows including The Panel, Thank God You’re Here, The D-Generation, The Late Show and Santo, Sam and Ed’s Total Football.

“Even with whatever you think of the various Footy Shows, they are still in front of human beings reacting. On the soccer shows we always have tiny audiences, but it still makes a difference.

Q & A is very stage managed but there are people there. You put yourself in the position to have ‘something happen.’

“But who can do it? We’re breeding a lot of contestants, which is fine, I have no problem with it. But comics are the people who have the leg-work in front of Live audiences.

“I’m a big game show guy. I’m really glad that Family Feud is working because it’s happening in front of people. Dancing with the Stars, which I’m not a huge (rave for), but at least it’s happening in front of people too. I think Shane Bourne is a great choice.”

On Paying Attention? Kavalee was charged by host Tom Gleisner as one of the show’s key punchline artists.

“Tom said when we were first starting the show to just be a ‘bowling machine’, as he calls it, to just keep us moving. If I think of a joke, put it in thanks very much, if I don’t then don’t worry about it. If I know the answer give that, and try and get other people involved,” he explains.

“Some people can be nervous, especially if it’s their first time. So Tom asked me to help people get involved and just chat. It’s not just about question and answer, but mucking about with each other as well.

“I know it looks like individuals but it’s really a team sport, and the show changes depending on what the team is each week.

“Glenn Robbins makes jokes about himself being the ‘old timer’ but someone like Glenn, in particular, can play any role he needs to. He can be ‘fuddy duddy old timer’ or ‘King of the zingers’ or ‘Guy passing the ball.’ He’s a legend, and that’s why –he can do so many different things.

“When Pete Helliar is on he provides the ‘faux journalist’ because he works on a news show five nights a week. So he knows some things, but doesn’t know others and he can do the jokes as well.”

Kavalee recently finished his second self-devised movie Border Protection Squad featuring Ryan Shelton, Peter Helliar, Tony Martin, Sam Pang, Lachy Hulme, Dave Hughes, Andy Lee and Josh Lawson. He is exploring plans to release the film online.

“I’m really interested in the direct download model,” he says. “No reviews or film screenings.

“Let’s just put it out as if it’s an independent single or something an just see what happens.”

Meanwhile there is more Breakfast radio and of TEN’s quiz comedy where the destination is nowhere near as integral as the journey.

“A show with seemingly no structure, with the right cast can have quite a lot of different angles attached to it,” he suggests.

“What’s good about this show is even if you get an answer that is genuinely wrong or a joke that doesn’t work: who cares? There’s another question coming. The pressure is off, so just enjoy yourself.”

Have You Been Paying Attention? airs 9pm tonight on TEN.

3 Responses

  1. Good that my namesake has started to become a little less successful on the show in recent months and allowed for a variety of winners. In the first season or two he got far too many right answers which was a bit of a let down at times.

    Good insight though as to what directions he was given though.

  2. I actually went to the filming of HYBPA last night.
    It really is a fantastic time! and they certainly look after you
    Recommend people do this before its only something we used to do.

Leave a Reply