Lower-grade hu­mour a rich sub­ject for com­edy pair


In true comedic fash­ion, Up­per Mid­dle Bo­gan co-cre­ator Wayne Hope man­aged to get a 12cm splin­ter in his foot sim­ply walk­ing through his own liv­ing room. Wife and cre­ative part­ner Robyn But­ler de­scribes how they had to rush him straight to hos­pi­tal.

The ad­mis­sions nurse took one look at the ashen-faced Hope, clearly suf­fer­ing from con­sid­er­able agony, and said: “I’ve got to ask: Will there be a sea­son three?”

But­ler laughs: “The funny thing was Wayne and I just started go­ing, ‘well, it de­pends, we’ll see how we go, we’ve got some ideas…’”

We’re on the St Kilda Pri­mary School set of the cou­ple’s latest pro­ject, Lit­tle Lunch. Based on Danny Katz’s books, it’s “ba­si­cally The Of­fice set in the play­ground”, a mock­u­men­tary about six di­verse kids with plenty of jokes and cut­aways.

“Chil­dren’s tele­vi­sion is of­ten: There’s an alien liv­ing next door, I’m a witch, I’m time trav­el­ling. This is: I’ve lost my snack, I’ve been sent to the prin­ci­pal’s of­fice … lit­tle things that mean noth­ing as an adult,” she says.

“When you wet your pants. I’m not say­ing I wet my pants — I did! — but (those things) be­come huge and the source of what ev­ery­body talks about.”

The books fol­lowed grade 2 stu­dents, but putting that on TV “was ac­tu­ally im­pos­si­ble be­cause I think the kids (that age) are al­lowed to be on set for like 10 min­utes and then you have to send them home. But if you pitch them as grade 5 (kids) you’ll get the whole of pri­mary school watch­ing them”.

But­ler and Hope’s first fea­ture film, Now Add Honey, comes out in Novem­ber. But­ler stars as a sub­ur­ban mum forced to take in the movie star daugh­ter (Lucy Fry) of her sis­ter (Por­tia de Rossi).

But­ler says de Rossi was “the bomb” — a sur­pris­ingly “low main­te­nance” one. “We have shown Por­tia and (wife) Ellen (DeGeneres) the film, we vis­ited a cou­ple of months ago and they loved it,” she says.


School’s in for Lit­tle Lunch’s Wayne Hope and Robyn But­ler.

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