Courier man packages the laughs
COMEDY is all in the delivery for Paul Fenech. After letting a bunch of bungling pizza delivery drivers loose in the SBS comedy Pizza, the actor and director is back with a new set of incompetent workers on wheels in Swift and Shift Couriers.
Fenech describes the nine-part series as Pizza meets The Office.
The show is set in a busy city courier company led by shortswearing depot manager Keith, played by Ian Turpie.
‘‘I was trying to think how to show the average worker’s life on different levels, from the boss all the way down to the driver on the road, and find a place that is going to have the most dramas,’’ he says.
‘‘Couriers are the best because they’re probably the lowest in the food chain when it comes to whitecollar work. The lowest end is always the best place for comedy.’’
The Swift and Shift cast features plenty of familiar faces, including Amanda Keller, Angry Anderson and former pop star Melissa Tkautz.
Though it has Fenech’s trademark blunt, often culturally charged humour, he says the show is ‘‘not as scary as Pizza’’.
‘‘ Pizza had so much testosterone you grew hair on your arms just watching it,’’ he says.
‘‘This show ( Swift and Shift) actually reminded me of a very modern version of all those old English comedies we used to have, such as Are You Being Served? and Carry On, which had lots of different characters. This has that sort of dynamic, but with a lot of familiar Australian characters.
‘‘I’ve been watching all the competition lately and to me it’s always the same thing— all these guys in ivory towers looking down on the rest of society and doing a pale imitation.
‘‘I like to think we reflect it much closer. I get a lot of non-actors in crazy shapes and sizes and ethnicities because to me that’s the real Australia.
‘‘All the people who work in loading docks and drive around in the heat and work in crappy little offices— this show is for them.’’
Though he’s made his name in comedy, Fenech says he’d like to try dramatic roles.
‘‘I’d love to become Australia’s Joe Pesci. Where was I in Underbelly, mate? I look exactly like one of the real crims,’’ he says with a laugh.
‘‘I’d give anything a go really. I’ve been reasonably lucky— I’ve had an awesome career so far. I’m one of these guys who has no connections to the industry. I wasn’t a guy who went to an acting school.
‘‘I was just some guy in the background who worked his way up.
‘‘People are now saying, ‘He’s one of the stars of the show’. I don’t see myself that way at all. I’m just a regular stooge in my own brain.’’ Swift and Shift Couriers, M SBS, Monday, 8.30pm Local comedy Duration: 30 minutes
Lowdown: couriers are last in the pecking order, says Paul Fenech.