BERT: The decline of sketch comedy in this country isn't really about a fashion for stand-up or panel shows, it's more about money. Broadcasters in the 2010's just don't have the money to make television that requires such extravagances as a script, let alone sets and costumes. As a result, when sketch comedy does get made it's often because whoever's in charge really wants it to be there. The great mystery is, if these people have a genuine enthusiasm for sketch comedy, why don't they have a clue how to do it properly?
There are a number of reasons you might not have tuned into The Matty Johns Show - it stars a guy whose personal history many find off-putting, it's about sport - but they weren't the only reasons to avoid it. There were also the comedy sketches. Matty Johns' "humour" is very much of the "broad 'n' blokey" variety favoured by Paul Hogan, but with a bonus touch of gross-out, and lots of awkwardly shoe-horned-in rugby references. Also harking back to another era were some of the characters, such as the send-ups of almost-forgotten personalities Don Burke and Alby Mangles. Combine that with a bunch of scripts that barely contained jokes and the whole thing came over as an ill-advised vanity project - even the studio audience, who presumably had some interest in either Matty Johns or rugby, gave these sketches a muted reception.
Hungry Beast didn't have a studio audience, but it's unlikely the cast's continually poor attempts at comedy would have made one laugh. If sketches like "If Lady Gaga Wasn't A Popstar" are the best these bright-eyed newcomers can do (and if you haven't seen that sketch, it's exactly what you imagine it is), then why give them a third series to prove their lack of talent once again?
Josh Thomas and friend Tom Ward only produced one sketch for their podcast in 2010 (OK, two if you count that video they made to promote Thomas' stand-up tour), but their four minute long, Ricky Gervais-inspired effort was bad enough to get them a nomination in three categories at these awards. Now that's one hell of a bad sketch!
EDDIE: I think you're being a bit harsh there, Bert. Sketch comedy's really hard to get right. On The Footy Show we used to have endless debates about whether Sam Newman should wear a pink tutu or pink mini skirt as he was being snogged by Molly Meldrum and three midgets.
BERT: Are we about to show that footage?
EDDIE: No, we're going to show the same old montage of clips from The Don Lane Show we always wheel out on these occasions.
CUT TO DON LANE WALKING THROUGH THE SOLDIERS' BAYONETTES, DON LANE SINGING ABOUT HOW HIS PANTS MAKE HIM WANT TO GET UP AND DANCE, DON LANE BEING TAUGHT MIME BY MARCEL MARCEAU... IT NEVER GETS TIRED, THIS STUFF... OH LOOK, IT'S DON LANE AND SAMMY DAVIS JR, THAT WAS A GREAT MOMENT OF AUSTRALIAN TELEVISION...THE FIRST TIME WE ALL SAW IT. ARE WE STILL ON AIR?