THIS COLUMN WAS PUBLISHED AUGUST 2009
Are you fucking serious? They’re bringing back Hey Hey it’s Saturday? If that’s not a blatant attempt by Channel Nine to attract my attention I don’t know what is.
Where do I start? Bump off Leunig and give me a whole page for this one.
What are they thinking? When I say they, I mean my friends at Channel Nine. And when I say friends I mean blokes who would gladly kill and rape me as half time entertainment at the Grand Final. Or any occasion, event or gathering. For a laugh. And similcast it with Eddie Maguire in the studio and Steve Jacobs on the ground. “Yeah Eddie, the crowd down here is electric. Traditionally what happens on the footy trip stays on the footy trip but this year Nine has a World First Premiere. Who needs Carols By Candlelight when we’ve got Deveny on a spit after a night with the State Of Origin All Codes dream pack sex team, After the break, Livinia with the weather….”
But seriously, it’s about time someone exhumed and resuscitated the festering corpse of Hey Hey. Something had to be done about the staggering deficit of blokey, cobbled up, camp concert style content on television and the shortage of middle aged, white men with relevance deprivation on our screens.
Hey Hey ran for 27 years. Haven’t we suffered enough? Apparently a Facebook page calling for the show’s return has 197,000 followers. Which may sound impressive until you realize they’re all Daryl Somers, Hey Hey’s host. Host as in organism that is invaded by a virus on which parasites thrive. The show was axed in 1999 despite the noisy protest of Daryl’s mum.
Hey Hey was fine for what it was. An alternative to having a conversation with your family. But it was even dated back in 1999 when it was axed. Anything could happen and generally didn’t. The words “improvised”, “unscripted” and “flying by the seat of their pants” were used as code for “sloppy”, “cheap” and “Why prepare, research, rehearse and plan when you can just throw starving egos into a studio and let their delusion of talent do the work being fuelled by the promise of a Logie, being called a legend over a Crownie after the show or a hand job from one of the make-up girls.”
Dead Eyed Daryl will be joined by Red being a sarcastic prick, Wilbur being a smartarse, Molly sucking up to anything with a whiff of next big thing, Shane Bourne doing jokes beginning with the line “A couple of sheilas walked into a bar” and John Blackman making us think what happened in the 70s should stay in the 70. Mrs. McGillicuddy anybody?
Well at least the mediocrity of the performers made the Red Faces contestants look good. So too segments with like What Cheeses Me Off and personalities like Plucka Duck. Plucka? Get it? Sounds a bit like…which reminds me, I wonder if Jacky McDonald is still alive? Hey Hey It’s The Token Woman! Livinia Nixon! Denise Drysdale! Jo Beth Taylor! The occasional presence of any women on Hey Hey was amplified by their unashamed absence. What does it say when Dickie Knee – a hat and wig on a stick got more air time than any performer with a vagina on Australia’s longest running light entertainment show.
Light entertainment is what you call comedy when the jokes don’t work. Variety is what you call a programme when you’re not sure what it is and family entertainment the genre it’s labelled if you want to sell station wagons, nappies and lawn mowers. How do I know? I wrote for IMT with Frankie J Holden, All Star Squares and The Wedge. I’m not proud of it, I had to pay the car rego.
If these ‘reunion shows’ (Look who’s just popped in! It’s Peter Russell Clarke, Colette Mann and the blokes from The Curiosity Show! You thought they were dead didn’t you? Well after 30 seconds you’ll wish they were!) rate Hey, Hey will be back on our screens permanently. You have been warned. This isn’t nostalgia. It’s creative paralysis and corporate cannibalism.