News.com.au review of Channel 7's "The Unbelievable Truth"
09/10/2012 14:49 GMT
Posted by lisa
This article appears online at http://www.news.com.au/news/chasing-the-truth-in-comic-lies/story-fnejnj7h-1226491990978
Chasing the truth in comic lies
THEY'RE the naughty boys of Australian comedy. Just please don't expect their new series for Channel 7 to be wall-to-wall laughs. Or so they joke.
The Unbelievable Truth - a UK radio format adapted for television and championed by their comic idol, Graeme Garden of The Goodies fame - has provided a rare mainstream platform for some of the biggest names (and a few new ones) from the local comedy circuit.
Recorded earlier this year to a rapturous reception from the audiences in the Sydney studios, anticipation for this series has long been understandably high.
On the eve of the show's premiere, Craig Reucassel, Julian Morrow and Andrew Hansen are trying their best to hose down expectations.
"We're going to make a promo which says, 'There's only one funny thing in this entire half hour, see if you can spot it?" Reucassel, the show's host, says.
"Yes, the 'unbelievable' joke," adds Hansen, chuckling.
The rules of the game are a little complicated, but the pay-off is some of the best comic performances we've seen on commercial TV in years.
The truth is this: four panellists are each invited to deliver a short lecture on a given subject, which must be almost completely made up.
Points are awarded to panel members who can correctly spot the real "truths" secreted in between all the lies.
Think Thank God You're Here meets QI, with the same laugh-and-learn approach.
Those who accepted the challenge to hilarious effect include Shane Jacobson, Merrick Watts, Tom Gleeson, Kitty Flanagan and Jimeoin.
Morrow and Hansen also join the panels, with Garden flying in from London to oversee the production and to also make an appearance.
Then there are the funny new "finds" including Sam Simmons, Claudia O'Doherty and Toby Truslove.
Simmons in particular delivers a side-splitting speech on dogs, with sidekick pooch Ziggy, who almost steals the show.
Look out too for some chickens, a koala and a guinea pig appearing with Stephen K Amos.
But they saved the hamster for The Hamster Wheel, which returned to the ABC for its second "open season" on the media last month.
With Reucassel and Morrow signed to write and record a "factual" series for the ABC, Chaser teammate Chas Licciardello off filming a special on the US presidential race and radio commitments for both Morrow and Dominic Knight, it's been a flat-chat year for them all.
The move to Seven from Aunty has also gone more smoothly than they imagined, given the network gained an injunction over a skit in 2007 where the team infiltrated the offices of Today Tonight.