STEPHEN CURRY, : 30 SECONDS
With his new comedy : 30 Seconds, Stephen Curry is exposing what really goes on behind the scenes of the advertising game. During commercial breaks, he talked with Guy Davis. Curry: “ There’s a great line in the series: ‘ The hardest people to sell to are
Any profession is going to have its pretentions, its occasional lack of scruples and its cutthroat offi ce politics. But an advertising agency seems to have it in slightly larger quantities than other workplaces ( as any regular viewer of Mad Men will tell you!).
And all these aspects of the ad game and more are deftly skewered in : 30 Seconds, a smart new pay-TV comedy produced by Andrew Denton.
Set in the Sydney offi ce of fi ctional ad agency BND Worldwide, it stars Joel Tobeck, Peter O’Brien and Underbelly co-stars Gyton Grantley and Kat Stewart.
And appearing as the borderline incompetent but terribly well-connected ad producer McBaney is Stephen Curry, star of The Secret Life of Us and The King ( as well as those TV commercials where he re-enacts great moments in Aussie Rules history).
: 30 Seconds isn’t your typical comedy, Stephen. It’s funny but it’s not all about the punchline.
It takes an episode to get used to the pace of it. It’s certainly not going for a laugh a second or the big payoff or anything. It’s a representation of the less scrupulous aspects of advertising, written by these three guys who’ve worked in advertising for a long time. Three Drunk Monkeys they call themselves. I was hoping it was actually written by three drunk monkeys, which some people say might have made for a better product!
They’re fantastic, these guys – a lot of their characters are based on real people and a lot of the scenarios based on real scenarios, which makes the mind boggle. It also makes the mind boggle to wonder if these guys will work in the ad industry again. I don’t think they’re doing themselves any favours.
That said, I’m guessing that most people have come to understand that advertisers will use just about any tactic to get people to buy things.
It’s not so much what the advertisers are prepared to do; it’s what we’re prepared to buy. There’s a great line in the series: ‘ The hardest people to sell to are happy people’. That’s so true. When you look at something and say to yourself ‘ I need that’, it’s more often than not something you don’t need. But you think it’s going to make you a more perfect person. Or, most importantly, more attractive to the opposite sex.
So tell us about your character, ad producer McBaney.
Oh, he’s an idiot. [ Laughs] But he’s got connections and he’s not afraid to drop a name. I don’t identify with that all, although George Clooney does. At least, that’s the impression I got when I was having a drink with him and Brad Pitt the other night. But McBaney is one of those people who are in every game – you look at them and wonder how the hell they got into the position they’ve managed to reach. ‘ You’ve bumbled your way into a job you’ve got no right to have, haven’t you?’
Has he got anything going for him?
Well, he’s a lot more error than trial but I do like that he doesn’t mind a freebie. He’s a demon for a freebie – any kind of clothing that he doesn’t have to pay for, even if it’s heavily branded, he’s getting his hands on it. In my experience, when you see someone in a Master and Commander T-shirt, you can be pretty sure they didn’t work on the fi lm.
Have you had any experience with advertising types?
It’s a bit hard to avoid ad agencies, being an actor. I do a lot of voiceovers and I’ve done a lot of commercials, so I’ve had pretty close contact with advertising people, most of whom are genuinely nice people. But it is a diff erent world. I did a voiceover a little while ago, and there were seven advertising people in the room. All of them had diff erent things to say, so it was a bit confusing and confl icting. In the end, the last guy said ‘ Right, Steve, can you do this one with a bit of theatre of the mind?’ Now, I know what theatre is and I know what a mind is but all of us in the room were looking at him as if to say ‘ What are you banging on about?’ He sat down and didn’t say anything else for the rest of the day. That voiceover was for cheese. Some theatre of the mind stuff will make that cheese walk right off the shelf!