Bag Raiders + Levins OZ Comedy Guide
Posted on Oct 5th, 2010 in Interviews by Mr. Goldbar
The best part of touring Australia (other than the fact that they love DJs and partying more than almost anywhere else on the planet) is the ability to hang with awesome Aussies like Sydney synth team Bag Raiders and Heaps Decent honcho / jack-of-all-trades deejay Levins on the same trip. Good times on the reg!
This trio has been responsible for so many laughs while we’re overseas, we figured why not get Chris, Jack and LevDawg to spread the joy, and take a few minutes to talk about their favorite homegrown comedies. With the Bag Raiders’ self-titled new album out now, there’s no better time to share these (down) underground favorites.
Hit the jump for roundtable chuckles, and be sure to pick up the Bag Raiders’ Fool’s Gold EP Big Fun (featuring Donnis raps and XXXChange & Jokers Of The Scene remixes) on vinyl, iTunes, Beatport and everywhere else music is awesome.
Levins: Full Frontal was a sketch show that followed on from two older sketch shows – Fast Forward and The Comedy Club. Mostly it was pretty lame but in 5th grade every kid used to watch it and repeat the dumb jokes ad infinitum. The show was notable though for launching the careers of Eric Bana and Shaun Micallef.
Chris: At the risk of sounding un-Australian, my TV watching is limited to nature documentaries, Lost and Grey’s Anatomy. I have watched a couple of eps of Summer Heights High…
We Can Be Heroes
Levins: This was Chris Lilley’s first show about six Australians trying to get the Australian of the Year award, all six were played by Chris Lilley. The characters and production of this show were so spot on. By the sixth episode you’d stopped laughing at the ridiculous main characters and came to care about them, I’ve watched the whole series about 20 times.
Jack: This was pretty sweet. But I think he nailed it better on…
Summer Heights High
Jack: Chris Lilley’s second show. Jonah is one of the all time great Australian characters. “I said puck you miss… with a p”. For me the show was all about him. The other characters are good but he takes the cake.
Levins: This aired on HBO in the states, Chris Lilley’s next show is actually a co-production with HBO, BBC in the UK and ABC in Australia. Summer Heights High was awesome but I loved the characters in We Can Be Heroes way more.
Jack: Amazing sitcom from the late 80s / early 90s about two Greek immigrant brothers who own a coffee shop or a diner or something if I remember right. Also featured the inimitable cousin Effie. As a kid I was only ever allowed to watch half an hour of TV a week and I’d save it up for this. So you know it’s good!
Levins: Chris I can’t believe you weren’t into Acropolis Now? Didn’t it feel representative of your own Greek-Australian experience?
The Norman Gunston Show
Jack: Kinda like a precursor to The Ali G Show. Can’t say I’ve watched it much but deserves a mention for historical value. Right??
Levins: This was my dad’s favourite show. Norman Gunston was this comedian Garry McDonald dressed as an inept TV show host, complete with bits of tissue stuck over his bleeding cuts from shaving. He would interview every big actor and rock star that visited Australia and just do the most awkward, weird interviews. I remember during the 1994 Barcelona Olympics the theme song was that huge duet song “Amigos Para Siempre,” and Norman Gunston did a parody of it with Effie from Acropolis Now. I wish that was on YouTube! Garry McDonald also starred in a great sitcom called Mother & Son which was the closest we got to successfully making a show in the American sitcom format.
The Late Show
Jack: Ahhh used to love this one. There was a skit called Bargearse where they overdubbed some 70s cop show. Also Shirty the Slightly Aggressive Bear was a good one. Best of all was some kind of stuntman routine with Mick Molloy. Levdawg you remember that one??
Levins: That segment was called SHITSCARED! Bargearse was classic too, plus the advertisements for a shitty theme park called Pissweak World. This was the best ensemble cast – most of these guys used to be in D-Generation (also good!) and went on to make the show Frontline, a great radio broadcast, and movies The Castle and The Dish.
Levins: Australia’s most successful comedies have all been satirical. Frontline satirised the current affairs programs on network TV and did it super well. In high school we got to watch the whole run of Frontline episodes in English class one year and it was awesome recognising actors from The Late Show popping up in cameos.
Jack: Classic sitcom from growing up. Used to be on Channel 7 at 5:30 or something I think. Nudge, the lovable halfwit from next door. Betty, the ditsy secretary. And who was that little fat kid? Arthur? Was that it? Poor little dude – he would’ve had a hard time at school. Still I guess he can afford the counselling.
Levins: I think this show is the longest running sitcom ever? And is still really big in Germany? It has aged terribly, but I still have good memories of it. I remember when I was 10 me and some friends went up the country to go to this grass tobogganing place (as one does at 10) and the fat kid from Hey Dad (Arthur MacArthur) was there! We were all starstruck.
Jack: Funny and clever political style spoof about administrators leading up to the Sydney Olympics in 2000. Weird how these shows are all old right? Has the golden age of Australian comedy come and gone? Or maybe we just don’t watch them anymore. Shit I don’t have a TV.
Levins: The Games did the satirical mockumentary thing way before The Office in the UK, and this is still as funny as it was when it first aired. The episode when they realise the 100m track is a few metres too short was gold. John Clarke needs to make more television.
Lano & Woodley
Jack: This was a pretty dumb but sometimes quite funny sitcom type show. They used to do musical numbers too. I can still remember the theme song: “I got a feeling… Got a bit of an inkling…”
Levins: “This is gonna be, one of those days…”. This show reminded me of The Goodies. There were lots of good visual gags and stunts.
Jack: Again a satirical take on news coverage done by these guys who call themselves The Chaser. I think they started out doing stuff on JJJ (the biggest national radio station here) and got super duper popular after the last series they did (The War on Everything?). I only watched this one a couple of times but I liked it. And I like these guys. Bit smarter than the average and often putting themselves out there and kinda screwing with people. I remember one skit where they managed to sneak into some APEC conference here – not sure why – and getting right up close to George Bush. Think they got arrested.
Levins: This was the show that introduced most people to The Chaser team and they still haven’t bettered it. They used to run commercials for a current affairs program that would just be a mash up of all the stupid topics that current affairs shows focused on: “Tonight, fat kids with ADHD caught on camera… joining Lebanese gangs to perform shonky renovations.”
The Micallef Program
Levins: Probably the most creative, Monty Python-channeling sketch show Australia ever made. Shaun Micallef hosted a half hour show every week for about three seasons, the first of which was hit and miss, the second one was comedy gold and won awards. After such high critical acclaim, Shaun Micallef made the third season completely insane, most sketches didn’t make sense and some were unbelievably stupid; I remember one whole episode was pretty much all really complicated set ups and the punchline would always be a dick joke. Superb!