It’s party time for three wise mon­keys

The Footy Show de­fies its crit­ics to notch up 20 years. Sam New­man tells Dar­ren Dev­lyn how he, Garry and James stay ahead of the game

Herald Sun - Switched On - - Cover Story -

SAMNew­man’s never had any time for the ‘‘ vo­cal mi­nor­ity’’ who knock The Footy Show for its shenani­gans and al­leged po­lit­i­cal in­cor­rect­ness.

As far as he’s con­cerned, the score’s on the board. To­mor­row night, the show be­gins its 20th year — not a bad ef­fort when you’re a success in TV if you can pull a de­cent au­di­ence for 13 weeks.

New­man has de­liv­ered many of The Footy Show’s most mem­o­rable mo­ments— sit­ting guests down in the stu­dio and elic­it­ing re­veal­ing an­swers to in­tel­li­gent ques­tions. But the se­ri­ous side of his con­tri­bu­tion has on many oc­ca­sions been over­shad­owed by the wild stunts he’s pulled and for the con­tro­ver­sies that have erupted around him.

This year The Footy Show moves to an 8.30pm times­lot.

You’re look­ing pretty fit. If you haven’t got a good rea­son to let your­self go, why do it? I don’t know if I look bet­ter, but cer­tainly feel bet­ter. I ex­er­cise, eat prop­erly. I haven’t had a drink for three years.

What prompted you to give it up? I have a cou­ple of cars I like to drive. If I ever went to lunch or din­ner, I could never work out how many drinks I’d had. I de­cided I’d give up for that rea­son, so it wasn’t a prob­lem when I drove.

What does the mile­stone (20th year of The Footy Show) mean to you? It’s bet­ter to have lasted than not lasted. We have sur­vived, I sup­pose that is an achieve­ment.

I’d have thought the mile­stone would mean a lot to you given your ba­sic phi­los­o­phy that ev­ery day you’re at work is a day closer to get­ting the a---. We’re only fill­ing in time un­til we get sacked. One day it will hap­pen. As long as it’s not a sur­prise when it does.

What have been the most sat­is­fy­ing things that have come out of be­ing part of the show? De­spite what the scream­ing masses out there say, we are ac­tu­ally a very se­ri­ous foot­ball show at times and touch on some im­por­tant points. The most mem­o­rable part for me has been Street Talk. The only peo­ple who don’t com­plain (about Street Talk) are the peo­plewe in­ter­view. They love it. My eyes glaze over when peo­ple crit­i­cise us for things we do. When peo­ple see us on the street (film­ing), they cir­cle you, go back­wards and for­wards, and sud­denly go whack, ‘here ismy chance’. We are very fair. We put peo­ple on who abuse us, who like us, kiss us, punch us, throw things at us. Usu­ally peo­ple think it’s a chance to be really risque, get their kit off or make po­lit­i­cally in­cor­rect state­ments.

Have the se­ri­ous footy in­ter­views you’ve done been over­shad­owed by the other stuff? I don’t care if I get recog­ni­tion or not. I’m only in­ter­ested in the show be­ing suc­cess­ful. We don’t fight each other for air­time or fight over things to say. We are gen­er­ous with each other. I might be wet be­hind the ears but that’s how I’d de­scribe it.

You were re­cently re­ported as say­ing that the net­work wasn’t be­hind the show. Ah, well, I was ab­so­lutely mis­rep­re­sented. I got dressed down about this. I didn’t say they (Nine) are not in­ter­ested in us be­ing suc­cess­ful. They are very in­ter­ested in us be­ing suc­cess­ful, but we hardly rated a men­tion in the over­all sell­ing of this year’s prod­uct for the sta­tion (at a net­work pro­gram­ming launch). I was called into the head of­fice and be­rated so I ac­cepted be­ing be­rated.

What does the move in times­lot mean to you? It makes no dif­fer­ence to me. I just get to bed an hour ear­lier.

But go­ing an hour ear­lier ... I know what you’re go­ing to say. It puts us in a dif­fer­ent rat­ing cat­e­gory, so I might be rea­son­ably silent for the first hour of the show, let Garry (Lyon) and Jim (Brayshaw) push on with it and I can catch up on all the news that’s been go­ing on in the AFL.

Such as at Essendon and Mel­bourne? I have never heard so much non­sense in all my life. Hys­ter­i­cal bleat­ing. What has been done to Essendon is an ab­so­lute disgrace. The same with Mel­bourne. The other thing that has just come out is about head in­juries, peo­ple los­ing their me­mory. Hon­estly and truly, what is go­ing on? Maybe I was al­ways this stupid, but I don’t think foot­ball made me more stupid. Don’t play the game if you don’t want to. You have a duty of care to de­cide what you do in life. That doesn’t mean to say you have to put up with snide king hits, that is not what we’re talk­ing about. If you don’t think you can han­dle it, go and do some­thing else. Does hav­ing your pro­file af­fect the­wayyou live life, howoften and where you go out? Yeah. We have a dif­fer­ent set of rules, peo­ple like us (with a pub­lic pro­file). A man spat at me over in Mu­nich (at the film­ing of a Footy Show World Cup spe­cial). I just poked him on the nose. Luck­ily we had the cam­eras rolling or I would have been up on an as­sault charge. The cow­ards know you are ham­strung be­cause they know you will be the story, not them. Do you some­times pay a big­ger price for this life than you’d like? No. There’s only one thing in life you’ve got to do and that’s die. You don’t have to do any of this if you don’t want to. It sounds like I’m whing­ing but I’m not, I’m just giv­ing you the ob­jec­tive side of what it’s about. Tell us about some of the mo­ments on the show that have given you night­mares. I’ve jumped out of a plane on my own, bungy-jumped at Vic­to­ria Falls, I’ve driven around Bathurst in a car race, but stand­ing on the 10-me­tre board at Mel­bourne Sports and Aquatic Cen­tre is the scari­est thing I’ve done. I rup­tured a her­nia, but that didn’t make it scary be­cause that didn’t hap­pen un­til I hit the water. What about some of the Shane Craw­ford in­ci­dents? He sat on your face once. He punched me out of a ring and I landed on my head. I had a brain scan at the Ep­worth. He did also sit on my face. I won­der how many other peo­ple he’s done that to, and what were their names. The Footy Show, Chan­nel 9, Thurs­day, 8.30pm

Kick­ing goals: Footy Show stars James Brayshaw, Garry Lyon and Sam New­man have an ear­lier times­lot for the show’s land­mark 20th year.

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