TV

‘Sammy J’s Democratic Party’ Will Lure Politicians Into A Bunker With Robert Menzies’ Ghost

"I think it’s my favourite thing I’ve ever done."

After a hugely successful debut season of Playground Politics last year, Sammy J is returning to our screens today! His new ABC show, Sammy J’s Democratic Party, will combine timely political commentary with a good dose of zaniness.

The comedian describes it as “a 12-minute sketch show broadcast live from a bunker underneath Parliament House”. He may be giving it the politician’s spin; it’s not exactly live, and we don’t know precisely where this bunker is, but what we do know is that it’s pretty much as up to date as a show of this nature could possibly be. Filming of the first episode only wrapped at 11pm last night.

“Basically in the course of ten minutes, my comedy challenge is to convince the audience that a show set in a bunker under Parliament House is a good idea and that they want to come back watching next week,” Sammy J tells Junkee ahead of the show’s premiere.

“I think it’s my favourite thing I’ve ever done.”

The first episode, he says, will feature an appearance from Ned Kelly (back from the dead to perform a violin solo), as well as Liberal MP Tim Wilson starring in a new segment called ‘Get Them To The Front Bench’. Wilson co-stars with a cabbage.

Playground Politics, for those who somehow missed it, used a Play School format to explore Australian politics during the 2016 election campaign season. The series gave more bang for its satirical buck however by getting actual politicians on board as guests — including Bill Shorten for their Christmas special.



How does Sammy J get politicians onto his show where there is a high chance they will be buttonholed into doing something extremely silly and against their best interests? “The fact that people know Playground Politics a bit really helps because they know the style,” he says. “Though Tim Wilson was quite bold appearing in this sketch, in episode one of a show that didn’t exist at the time that he said yes. So hopefully he’ll be our gateway drug for other members to agree. We’ve sent out a lot of invitations. I’d like to get Malcolm Turnbull in the bunker.”

When pressed further on whether Wilson knew about the cabbage ahead of time, Sammy J pauses before replying. “… Maybe the cabbage only appeared when he arrived at the studio. And maybe it was too late for him to back out.”

The comedian has also scored a series of exclusive interviews with the ghost of Robert Menzies (“I just went to the afterworld and spoke to his people and he agreed to come back from the dead for two minutes per week”) as well as a new sketch called Constitutional Cops (“where we’ve got these low level thugs enforcing the constitution around the mean streets of Melbourne”).

Sammy J calls Playground Politics his “Trojan horse” and looks at Democratic Party as the natural extension of this — a way of including the ideas they had that didn’t quite fit with the Play School format.

“I think it’s my favourite thing I’ve ever done, this particular ten minutes,” he says. “It’s been so fun so far, having a really loose brief. It’s stupid, it’s got some Playground Politics in it… but it’s got lots of other stuff as well. I still don’t quite know what it is.”

Sammy J’s long-term plans are modest (“I would love to take over the ABC have my shows on every channel 24/7”) but in terms of Democratic Party he’s looking forward to  defending his show to the bitter end.

“I’ll just be jumping around in a bunker and locking the door so that by episode eight the ABC can’t pull me off air because I have the broadcast equipment and I’ll just keep going, rogue style.”

The first episode of Democratic Party will be out today at 5pm on ABC iView and on Facebook, followed by a screening on ABC TV at 10pm.