A very Superwog phenomenon

At 340 million YouTube views, brothers Theodore & Nathan Saidden are ABC's fastest-growing sensation.

Not too many young performers have racked up 340 million views on YouTube but that’s just what Theo and Nathan Saidden have managed with their hit comedy, Superwog.

Now in its second season on ABC, the comic creation first hit YouTube in 2008 after the Sydney-based brothers began experimenting with a home handi-cam.

“We used to imitate our parents when they were fighting,” Theo Saidden tells TV Tonight.

“We’d re-enact the fight word for word after and it was just a cool way to relieve some of the tension. We had handi-cams and made videos as young as 10. My mum wanted us to make positive memories out of our holidays.

“Comedy has honestly been something that’s lifelong for us. We’re very close brothers and part of our language is imitation and making each other laugh.”

It was a Skip Ahead initiative from Google and Screen Australia which helped the brothers graduate  from YouTube shorts to long form narrative, now in their second ABC series co-produced with Princess Pictures.

“They had a really full week of inspiring lessons. We met George Miller, the Mad Max director, we met with writing experts, field producers. We just left from that so inspired, so we turn that into the pilot,” he recalls.

“I think we’re really settling in now to the longer sitcom format.”

Both Saidden brothers write the comedy, and star in multiple roles, with Theo also directing. This season Superwog (Theodore Saidden) and Johnny (Nathan Saidden) take driving tests, romance cheerleaders and try to stay one step ahead of the law.

“We put the trivial under the microscope”

“We put the trivial under the microscope … there are everyday experiences such as not getting the ‘thank you wave’ on the road. In Episode One, the ‘Wog Dad’ (Nathan Saidden) is trying to protect that ‘unofficial’ car space he thinks he’s entitled to in front of his house,” he continues.

“Despite the title of the show, it’s actually a really inclusive show. Everyone can relate to it. It’s just a really good Aussie comedy, and Season Two is a supercharged version of Season One.”

Saidden cites comedy influences such as Sacha Baron Cohen, Fat Pizza, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Peep Show, with a style that is madcap and often highly physical.

“Slapstick can really become laugh-out-loud”

“Our dad used to play tapes of Monty Python, and they’re pretty physical. Some of their best sketches are when they’re screaming or hitting each other in absurd ways. Slapstick can really become laugh-out-loud.

“Princess Pictures have been phenomenal. I have to really give it to (producer) Mike Cowap. He has made this season just a pleasure for us. It was the best shoot, we were having the time of our life.

“What Princess have done so well is really help us make our vision come true.”

“We have fans that have been so loyal”

In addition to their YouTube success they boast nearly 400,000 Facebook and over 250,000 Instagram followers. No surprise then, that the pair draw fans wherever they go.

“We have fans that have been so loyal. We’ve got fans who tell us they were in Year 4 when they first watched us, and now they’re in year 12. They talk about the 10 years+ of loyalty,” said Saidden.

“We’re just so lucky.”

Superwog 9:30pm Wednesdays on ABC. All episodes now on iview.

3 Responses

  1. As usual, comedy is unique to each person and everyone is different. I caught the majority of this show last night when channel surfing and it didn’t hit my funny bones.

    It reminded me of a throw back to Kingswood Country and Wogs out of Work. Both very stereotype characterisation of ethnic groups: one done by a white group for a white audience; and the other done by an ethnic group partly for an ethnic audience, but with a wider eye on mainstream popularity.

    Apart from its, to me, questionable “comedy” value, I do wonder how ethnic organisations feel about such shows when such stereotypes are enabled by their own ethnic people. I am surprised it got pass the commissioning stage, but I suppose that is very ABC woke of me.

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