Producers respond to calls for ABC comedy to be pulled off air
New ABC sketch show is keeping people working, but not all politicians are amused.
Liberal Senator and former TV presenter Sarah Henderson isn’t seeing the funny side of new lockdown comedy At Home Alone Together, taking to social media to insist ABC Chair Ita Buttrose “get this #&@* off air.”
It’s a strong reaction to the new sketch comedy, which is trying to find the lighter side of the current pandemic.
As one of Australia’s finest and most iconic TV journalists, what was Ray Martin thinking? #AtHomeAloneTogether on @ABCTV is one of the worst, unfunniest TV shows ever produced with taxpayer dollars. Please @ItaButtrose, as Kerry Packer once said, get this #&@* off air. https://t.co/k4MPYFGqFj
— Senator Sarah Henderson (@SenSHenderson) May 20, 2020
Henderson is a former presenter for TEN News, The 7:30 Report, The Investigators and Australia’s Most Wanted. Her view is arguably at odds with the government’s own position of supporting local content during this crisis (although it has also been criticised for lack of supporting the arts).
Producer Dan Ilic has responded to a question about just how many staff are employed on the show at a time when many artists are out of work.
The show did drop in its second week of viewing, from 466,000 to 387,000 meaning not everybody has tapped into its humour.
But At Home Alone Together is also a show that has scrambled to get on air in record time. It may not find its own voice until further into its life (there are 8 episodes so far commissioned). It may very possibly gravitate into another form well beyond current lockdown restrictions. Wilfred was once criticised for being a bong-smoking dog with public funding too. It went onto several seasons and a US adaptation.
Comedy takes time (something somebody who has worked in television should really appreciate).
But comedy also provokes, so perhaps that’s where the Senator comes in.
As host Ray Martin recently told TV Tonight, “It’s got to be edgy if it’s going to work, so in that sense we’re clearly going to upset some people and hopefully make most people laugh,” he warns.
“But that’s part of the fun of it. If comedy doesn’t upset at least some people, you’re probably not doing it right.”