Sam New­man stands up to the moral cru­saders, writes Dar­ren Dev­lyn

Herald Sun - Switched On - - On The Couch -

SAM New­man has never been one to lis­ten to ‘‘ the vo­cal mi­nor­ity’’. Rat­ings, New­man says, prove those who ham­mer The Footy Show for its al­leged po­lit­i­cal in­cor­rect­ness have no con­cept of the pro­gram’s wide ap­peal.

The Footy Show to­mor­row cel­e­brates its 18th birth­day and 500th episode. Have there been times you’ve se­ri­ously thought it was com­ing to a close for the show or for you per­son­ally? We are all fill­ing in time un­til we’re sacked. We are at the mercy of the masses (TV rat­ings). We’ve had ‘‘ex­perts’’ try to nob­ble us. Paint­ing my face black (Nicky Win­mar sketch) . . . I will never ac­cept what it was hi­jacked into be­ing, that it was racist. The man­nequin (in­ci­dent) . . . I’ll never ac­cept (that it was an­ti­women). Peo­ple who have agen­das love to get their teeth into puerile and ridicu­lous ar­gu­ments that have no merit. But I take it as a back-handed com­pli­ment that they’d be so in­ter­ested in my pissy lit­tle life that they’d try to cat­a­pult me out of the busi­ness. The thing we get crit­i­cised for most is go­ing and chat­ting to peo­ple in the streets (Street Talk). Ninety-nine per cent of peo­ple who are on, love it. If, in hind­sight, they think they’ve said some­thing they shouldn’t have said and ring and say they don’t want to be on (Street Talk), then we never put peo­ple on. The right­eous mi­nor­ity want to close it down, say it’s a disgrace. We go to var­i­ous ar­eas where drugs are preva­lent and we have all the drug ad­dicts who are off their faces come up and speak to us. Some say, ‘‘Thanks for putting us on’’, and some say ‘‘That helped us turn the cor­ner be­cause we could see what f---wits we were’’. Footy Show mem­o­rable mo­ments. What are your rec­ol­lec­tions of the fol­low­ing: Shane Craw­ford pin­ning you down and sitting on your face? I know go­ing to Afghanistan with the armed forces would be risky, but I reckon hav­ing Shane sit on your face would run sec­ond. Kiss­ing Molly Mel­drum . . . Molly came on, we got on to his love life. I said, ‘‘The way I’m go­ing, Molly, you could be my next tar­get’’. And we gave it a small try on cam­era and de­cided to go our sep­a­rate ways. We ( Footy Show) get pil­lo­ried, but there have been some sig­nif­i­cant foot­ball mo­ments in the 18 years. A cou­ple of years ago we in­ter­viewed John Wors­fold, when the first sus­pi­cions were there about drugs and their in­flu­ence in foot­ball. The great man he is, he was non-plussed at the ex­tent of what had been shown to him. That was a telling mo­ment. Howdo you feel about your fu­ture prospects? I’m con­tracted to the end of next year. You know how se­cure con­tracts are, they can be can­celled within an hour. I’ve never planned a day in my life and now that I’ve be­come a pen­sioner (65), I don’t plan to change. I’m just try­ing to get the card so I can get free tram travel. I’m just squeak­ing by at the minute; I need as much free travel as I can get. Af­ter 18 years, we­can as­sume you don’t need to work for the money. Is that right? You’d be jok­ing, wouldn’t you. I’ve got a lot of over­heads, kids and wives and in-laws spread through the length and breadth of the coun­try. I tell you what, I gen­uinely en­joy work­ing with Garry (Lyon) and James (Brayshaw), fat Bill (Brown­less) and silly Shane (Craw­ford). I may give the im­pres­sion I don’t en­joy it, but I do.

You’ve been through hard times fi­nan­cially. Does that con­tinue to man­i­fest it­self in your work ethic? I’ve been broke. In or­der to ex­pe­ri­ence the highs you’ve got to know the lows. To re­alise what suc­cess is, you’ve got to know where you’ve come from. I’ve had both ends of the scale. The com­mon per­cep­tion is ‘‘Love or loathe him, the show wouldn’t sur­vive with­out Sam’’. The show mightn’t sur­vive as it is with­out me. The show would change into some­thing else and prob­a­bly be equally as suc­cess­ful. I’m ab­so­lutely sin­cere about this. The mis­take some peo­ple make (on footy shows that haven’t lasted) is they try to be some­thing they are not. I don’t try to be some­thing I’m not. Peo­ple per­ceive me as a p---k and I prob­a­bly am. Is liv­ing life with a pub­lic pro­file be­com­ing more or less en­joy­able as time goes on? I don’t go out at all, but if peo­ple like me start com­plain­ing about what we have to go through in life, we are stroking our­selves big time. We wouldn’t know what ad­ver­sity is. Ev­ery time you’re feel­ing sorry for your­self or feel you’re be­ing in­truded upon, you’ve just got to step back and look at what else is go­ing on around you. The Footy Show, Chan­nel 9, Thurs­day, 9.30pm Fun times: Sam New­man (cen­tre) says he gen­uinely en­joys work­ing with (from left) Shane Craw­ford, Bill Brown­less, James Brayshaw and Garry Lyon.

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