Bringing it back home
The original two blokey idiots on radio are in harness at Gold 104FM
JONATHAN Coleman and Ian Rogerson, better known to a generation of radio and TV fans as Jono and Dano, don’t need to tell you they have chemistry.
That fact becomes obvious within minutes of speaking to them.
Not only do the pair tend to finish each other’s sentences, it quickly becomes apparent the larrikin charm which took the cheeky double act to the top of the ratings pile 20 years ago, has not diminished with the passage of time.
Now the dynamic duo — who ruled the airwaves long before Hamish and Andy, Merrick and Rosso and Martin-Molloy — are back. They kick off their new drivetime show this week on Gold 104FM.
If they are at all nervous about getting back in the saddle after 20 years, they’re not showing it.
‘‘It’s one of those things we talked about for 20 years, really. And strangely enough, the planets have aligned, the legal cases have all been dismissed and we’re able to work together again,’’ Rogerson says.
Coleman agrees. ‘‘It just seems like such a natural sort of fit. We’ve been doing it for so long. We were the first two sort of blokey idiots on the radio on Triple J.’’
Coleman, who rose to fame on Simon Townsend’s Wonder World!, left Australia for the bright lights of London in 1990. He returned in 2005.
Though the pair had kept in regular touch over the years, Coleman says the last thing he wanted to do after arriving back in Australia permanently was to immediately board the Jono and Dano train.
‘‘I didn’t want to come back after 16 years in Pommieland and be suddenly thrown into Jono and Dano. I think we wanted to try different things,’’ he says.
Instead, he hosted The Jonathan Coleman Experience with Julia Zemiro on Gold for two years.
When the RocKwiz host decided she wanted to concentrate more on TV and theatre, the timing was seen as right for Jono and Dano to reenter the fray.
Rogerson had occasionally filled in for Zemiro on air, so Coleman says they both knew the magic was still there.
Rogerson and Coleman acknowledge their demographic has undoubtedly aged along with themselves.
Both admit surprise that even after 20 years they are still regularly recognised in the street and are regularly asked when they are going to reunite.
THEY admit the radio landscape has changed in their time away, but believe that may be the key to their return.
‘‘I think we hark back to the way radio used to be done, where instead of it just sort of being something that’s stitched together as a format, we’re more along the lines of being . . .
‘‘Seat of your pants,’’ Coleman finishes.
‘‘We make it up as we go,’’ Rogerson adds.
Coleman says in many ways radio has become a ‘‘safe’’ environment, something poles apart from Jono and Dano’s original approach. It’s an avenue they are keen to again explore.
‘‘I’m not saying we’re going to go on the radio and reinvent the wheel, but I think what we used to do on the TV and on the radio was kind of raw and real. I think there’s a lot of overplanning sometimes on TV and radio,’’ Coleman says.
The funnymen say they are not worried about going head to head with the likes of Hamish and Andy on FOX, who swept all before them in 2008. They believe there is enough audience share to go around.
‘‘I used to listen to Hamish and Andy on the way home when I was doing the show with Julia, so I’ve been stealing their material for ages,’’ Coleman says.
‘‘I think they should look at that as a tribute. We’re like Hamish and Andy’s older brothers.’’
‘‘Slightly thieving older brothers,’’ Rogerson adds mischievously.
The pair are not concerned about being seen as yesterday’s heroes. In fact, they embrace it, from wearing their ’70s, ’80s and ’90s musical preferences on their sleeve to displaying a refreshing willingness to take the mickey out of themselves.
‘‘We look like two real estate agents,’’ Coleman says.
Rogerson: ‘‘We’re sponsored by Viagra and Botox!’’
Have we got a deal for you: they may look like a couple of real estate agents, but comedy duo Jono (right) and Dano are back on the radio airwaves.