Stop Laughing, This is Serious: Feb 15

It’s the final episode of Stop Laughing, This is Serious tomorrow night, and there is some classic Aussie TV featuring: Hey Hey It’s Saturday, The Big Gig, The Norman Gunston Show, The Money or The Gun, Club Buggery and more.

“Too much variety is barely enough” looks at the eclectic genre of variety. Performers like Graham Kennedy, Bert Newton and Norman Gunston dominated, serving up a mix of comedy, live sketches and music.

In this episode we chart the cultural juggernaut that was Hey Hey It’s Saturday, chart its idiocentricities and reveal some of today’s stars who got their start on the uniquely Australian phenomenon that was Red Faces.

We search for the roots of Australian variety and find it in the Tivoli circuit that dominated Australian entertainment for over sixty years. This episode also examines the resurgence of circus in the late 1970s and the colourful and subversive television programs like The Norman Gunston Show and The Big Gig. We look at the early work of Andrew Denton in Blah, Blah, Blah and The Money or The Gun and discover Australia’s love of anti-authoritarianism.

We track the evolution of the variety genre – from cultural institutions like Club Buggery, The Sideshow and Rove Live, to the late night revolution driven by sketch comedians in The Late Show and Tonight Live with Steve Vizard. Variety has been uniquely placed as a platform to showcase stand-up comedians like Dave Hughes, Celia Pacquola and Hamish & Andy, enabling them to hone their craft and gain national attention.

In this episode we mine the fertile ground of the variety genre and the collision of comedy in all its guises.

9pm Wednesday on ABC.

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