A Stack Of New Aussie Comedy Shows Are Hitting Your Screens In 2018
Check out the Fresh Blood finalists.
Back in March the ABC teamed up with Screen Australia to give 20 diverse young sketch comedy teams $15,000 each to go out and create some brand spanking new comedy shows. Well, now they’ve done it, and four of those teams are getting an additional $75,000 to create a 30-minute pilot episode in 2018.
This is the second stage of the ABC’s Fresh Blood: a joint initiative with Screen Australia designed to find and promote the next generation of local comedy talent. It’s aimed at giving tomorrow’s best comedians the resources they need to get going, and it’s been hugely successful in past — alumni include Aunty Donna, Fancy Boy and Skit Box.
These final four projects are the standouts from a field of 360 total applications this year: the best and brightest of the future of Australian comedy. If their 3-5 minute shorts are anything to go by, the bleeding edge of Australian comedy is in good hands in 2018.
The Angus Project
We introduced you to The Angus Project earlier this year — created by and starring Nina Oyama and Angus Thompson, it stars Thompson as “hedonistic uni student who happens to have cerebral palsy”. Back in March, Oyama told us the idea for the show came out of her real-life friendship with Thompson.
“I met Angus at a university party and we became friends. I became his carer about a year later,” she said. “We watch TV together and make dumb jokes. We love Broad City and High Maintenance, and we thought we could make a show like Broad City that was about Angus.”
“People like Angus exist but they don’t seem to exist on TV for some reason. Our project shows that people who identify as having a disability don’t live in a little bubble and we want to show that.”
The five minute shorts they produced for the first round of Fresh Blood deliver on all of the above. If you want to get hyped for their full pilot episode, you can watch those shorts on iView here.
Be Your Own Boss
Be Your Own Boss, by Becky Lucas and Cameron James, is pitched as “a mockumentary series that dips into the lives and struggles of several desperate couples that are living the Australian Dream – to be your own boss.”
Lucas and James demonstrated their knack for mockumentary in their five minute shorts, which brought us “a 100% true crime documentary that’s 100% fake”. In it, the pair play an incompetent pair of self-obsessed investigators trying to untangle the mysterious case of 14 dead dads, and perfectly send up all the tropes of self-important crime reporting. We have total faith that they’ll similarly nail their adventure into the lives of the self-employed.
While you wait for that, though, you can check out True Murder on iView here.
Koala Man is the creation of Michael Cusack, and it’s the sole animated show in the final four. It’s also fucking great — it centres on a “a local suburban superhero with no special powers but a strong and burning passion to snuff out petty crime and bring order to the community”, and somehow turns that premise into one of the most engaging things we’ve seen all year.
In the five minute shorts, Koala Man stomps around the suburbs, generally overreacting to things, telling people off for overfilling their green bins, being too old to sit on swings, while armed only with eucalyptus oil and a great sense of entitlement. It’s great viewing, and you can catch up on it here while you wait for the 30 minute version next year.
Why Are You Like This
Why Are You Like This features best friends Penny and Mia having a yarn about everything you shouldn’t be talking about at high volume in public. Creators Naomi Higgins, Mark Samual Bonanno, and Humyara Mahbub have described is as a “sharp, dialogue driven comedy that is unforgivingly harsh”, and it certainly delivers on all of the above.
The first few episodes feature Penny and Mia swanning through town offending people with blissful ignorance, and man it’s refreshing to see a team led by women get to do this. I’d try to describe it in detail, but I don’t quite have their way with words — best to catch up on iView here.
You can watch the shorts produced by all 20 Fresh Blood finalists on iView here. Support up-and-coming comedians, get around it.