Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Late Show
The show starred:
- Santo Cilauro
- Tom Gleisner
- Jane Kennedy
- Tony Martin
- Mick Molloy
- Rob Sitch
- Jason Stephens
- Judith Lucy (1993 season only)
The Late Show has its roots in the 1980s comedy group, The D-Generation . Consisting mostly of Melbourne University students, The D-Generation managed to gain a cult following with their radio and TV appearances.
After the breakup of the original D Generation, some of the members went on to perform on commercial TV programs such as The Comedy Company and Fast Forward. The remaining members floated a few pilots with the commercial networks, which were rejected, before accepting the ABC's offer of a one-hour timeslot on Saturday night.
Despite Saturday night being a time when many of their target audience were preparing to go out for the evening, the show was able to quickly build quite a following. The critics initially panned the show, however when it became clear the public loved it, most of them backpedalled. Despite being on the ABC network (which the show once parodied as being "Still number four", a reference to their poor ratings), by the second season it was easily winning its timeslot, and had become one of the ABC's highest rating shows.
The show owed its success to its very Australian brand of self-deprecating humour. The performers on the show were its biggest critics, often blowing off any mistakes they made during its live filming as inconsequential, since they maintained that nobody would want to watch the show anyway.
Perhaps the most popular segments of the show were the sketches that ran from one week to the next. The Olden Days was an overdub of the 1970s Australian show Rush , and their most popular segment was where they overdubbed the show Bluey , retitling it Bargearse , a reference to the overweight detective who starred in the original show. In the second season, Charlie the Wonder Dog was a much loved sketch, a dig at shows like Lassie and Skippy where the animal always ends up saving the day.
Other sketches included:
- The show's introduction, usually by Martin and Molloy. Their self-deprecating and witty banter was reproduced for their radio program Martin/Molloy a few years later.
- Jeff and Terry, played by Sitch and Cilauro, two shonky entrepeneurs with a different scam each week, such as polystyrene cladding or extremely cheap airfares. The main goal of this live sketch seemed to be for the two to make Jane Kennedy, who played the interviewer, laugh and forget her lines.
- Street interviews. Martin and Molloy would take to the streets and interview passers-by on issues of the day, spending most of the time critiquing their subjects' outfits.
- Graham and the Colonel (Sitch and Cilauro), ostensibly two sports commentators, but mostly an excuse for the two men to crack each other up.
- Late Show News Highlights, where Gleisner would give a comic news wrap-up and interview newsmakers. This interviews would usually be with Sitch, an impressionist, made up to look like his target. The interviewee would normally be exaggerated and portrayed as stupid or obsessive. Examples included Imran Khan obsessed with girls, Jeff Kennett insisting he would be riding in a car with a 'little flag on the bonnett' and John Hewson proving he was strong by crushing cans.
- Music video parodies, usually with a high-degree of visual accuracy regarding the original.
- Shit-scared, in which Sitch played an over-confident stuntman and Molloy his incompetent assistant.
- Short stand-up comedy pieces, usually by Martin and later Judith Lucy.
- Shirty, the Slightly Aggressive Bear, a parody of childrens programming which starred a violent drunken man in a blue bear costume, and his female co-host played by Kennedy. During one infamous episode in which the Shirty mask came off accidently, it was revealed that Shirty was played by none other than Oscar-winner, Russell Crowe.
The Late Show was also able to get many well loved Australian TV personalities on as guests. Charles "Bud" Tingwell played the grandfather in Charlie the Wonder Dog, and popular TV and radio voice-over man Pete Smith was also a regular. Many guests had cameos of only a few seconds, brought in for throwaway gags. One memorable joke had John Farnham offering wine, producing a bottle of water and smiling to himself. At the end of the show there would be a special guest performing a song; under the premise that the wrong guest would be booked, the artist was always some celebrity who had a similar name to the 'real' guest, and usually no musical ability. Thus, TV fisherman Rex Hunt donned a spangly costume to perform a song by T-Rex, cricketer David Boon wore a big suit to be David Byrne, and most memorably, former Premier of Victoria Joan Kirner took the stage with a gusto rendition of Joan Jett's I Love Rock and Roll . The final show in 1993 had a 'real' guest on to sing at the finale - Don Lane , the show's competitor in the Saturday night timeslot.
After the second season in 1993, the performers decided to pursue other projects. Most stayed prominent in the Australian comedy scene. Tony Martin and Mick Molloy had a top rating radio show Martin/Molloy before creating films such as Crackerjack and Bad Eggs (both of which also starred Judith Lucy). Jane Kennedy, Tom Gleisner, Santo Cilauro and Rob Sitch formed Working Dog Productions, which makes the top rating TV show The Panel, and also made the movies The Castle and The Dish.
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