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.
LITTLE LUNCH, ABC3, MON-WED, 4.25PM
School’s in for Little Lunch’s Wayne Hope and Robyn Butler.