Gretel Killeen returns to our screens as co-host of How Not to Behave, along with comedian Matt Okine. As it happens, manners and polite behaviour are topics the 52-year-old has some strong opinions about.
It is a rare and lovely thing to see an older female and younger male paired on TV as hosts. Isn’t it? I was thinking, there are quite a few firsts that I’ve done. I think I was the first female in Australia to host a television show by herself. I was the first female broadcaster on breakfast radio at Today FM. The only other pair I can think of where the female is older is Lisa Wilkinson and Karl Stefanovic at the Today show. But Matt is almost the same age as my son.
Tell us about your dynamic with Matt. He and I just got on from the word go. He likes to tease me, and I am often reprimanding him. It’s almost a mother-son kind of situation, where he picks on me in that cheeky boy way. But one of the things I find most hilarious is that if we really looked at it, I’m the much naughtier of the two of us.
Are we obsessed with manners? Yes. I had a taxi driver the other day, he asked if it was all right if he called me a chick. He said, are you that chick from TV? And I said, well you can call me a chick, but I don’t know if you can call anybody else that. But he was genuinely asking, what are the parameters?.
Is it because people like being told what to do? I think human beings love being told what to do. They love rules, and they love structure, anything they don’t have to independently think about. I think also circumstances are changing so rapidly. We’ve got influences coming in like narcissism and laziness, which predicate that people take shortcuts.
Haven’t narcissism and laziness always been around? I don’t think that they’re new, but because of the time I grew up in, we were all treated as though we were not special, we were not unique, and we had to fit in. That’s what you did. Now, the younger generation is much more about, yes, you are special, it is all about you. All the statistics show that narcissism and self-obsession have actually led to a very anxietyriddled, somewhat depressed group of people.
Do you have a pet peeve in the manners department? I don’t like people not saying
Gretel Killeen says people like being told what to do.