Eddie’s pitch for your TV votes
Eddie Perfect hopes that a life-changing decision he made at 25 will keep him in prime position for a new TV gig, writes Andrew Fenton
Twelve years ago Eddie Perfect faced what would turn out to be a life-changing decision: should he accept a job with the Melbourne Theatre Company or strike out on his own? He decided to skip the life of a jobbing actor in favour of taking a chance to stage a oneman show, Angry Eddie, at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival “where I knew no one and no one knew me”. “It was a decision that absolutely altered my life and career and it meant I was someone who created and controlled my own work,” Perfect says. “I want to write musicals and plays and TV series and films … So everything else, no matter how spectacular and amazing it is, has to come second to that. “I made that promise to myself when I was 25.” That means Perfect’s self-created projects — such as his hilarious “middle class absurdist” comedy The Future Is Expensive, one of six pilots competing in the ABC Comedy Showroom — will always take precedence over his work on Offspring or Play School. Don’t worry, though, Mick Holland fans, he will return for the sixth season of Offspring, now in preproduction. And the flexibility of filming Play School means he’ll be able to do it for some time to come.
“I really enjoy it. It’s kind of an extension of fatherhood, plus I get a lot of fans at childcare when I drop (daughter Lottie) off”. The mums like him, too. “The bar is pretty low,” he laughs. “There’s not many other men on TV at 9.30 in the morning, so I wouldn’t want to get too impressed with myself.”
Perfect’s life has become a lot busier lately. In the past year he’s judged on Australia’s Got Talent, co-hosted the annual ABC New Year’s Eve trainwreck as well as Saturday Night Crackup, worked with Tripod and performed on stage in Into the Woods. He’s also co-artistic director of June’s Adelaide Cabaret Festival and now he’s in New York, feverishly writing music and lyrics for a top-secret project that could turn out to be his first Broadway production (although given he turned to Twitter last week to find synonyms for “stubborn stains” that work in 6/8 time, it might equally be an ad jingle).
Broadway is Perfect’s ultimate goal: “That’s anywhere up to three years in terms of development, so it’s clawing my way up a very long mountain.”
Perfect is determined, though — two years ago he used crowd-funding and his own money to remount and record Shane Warne the Musical (from 2008) to use as his calling card for Broadway and the West End.
“I wanted to pitch myself as a composer and lyricist of musicals and I just didn’t have anything (to back it up),” he says. “It was a monster job and it was massively expensive … (but) then I went overseas and I had this thing to give to people.”
Perfect has been mates with Tim Minchin since both were unknowns and the Matilda composer introduced Perfect to his New York agent and has been showing him the ropes.
“He’s incredibly generous and he’s a great resource for knowing what projects are going on and knowing how the process works.”
Married to Lucy Cochran and father to two young daughters, Kitty and Lottie Lux, Perfect says waking up one day to find himself a middle-class dad with a mortgage was the inspiration for new comedy The Future Is Expensive.
It features snobbish friends, DIY decks and Paul Kelly — and there are some outrageous and very funny twists.
Viewers can vote for their favourite comedy pilot, out of the six in the Comedy Showroom, on iview. ABC Head of comedy Rick Kalowski says it was inspired by Amazon trialling the pilot of Transparent and the BBC’s Seven of One anthology in the ’70s that produced Porridge and Open All Hours. Two or three series will be commissioned. Or more.
“If they all go gangbusters, we’ll bring all of them back,” Kalowski says.
COMEDY SHOWROOM, ABC, WEDNESDAY, APRIL 27, 9PM. ALL SIX PILOTS ON IVIEW THAT NIGHT
Perfect’s absurd sitcom is the pick of the bunch, blending emotionally honest performances with over the top comedy. Promising autobiographical tale about Ronny Chieng’s university days. Strangely — given his comedic persona is entirely built around his angry rants — none feature here.
Struggling new mum (Alison Bell) joins unsupportive mother’s group. The support group scenes are too talky, but parents will find much amusement. Bogan Gav (Matt Lovkis) decides to become mates with his straight-laced neighbour (Adam Zwar). Not as outrageous as Housos and without the heart of Kath and Kim.
“It’s an extension of fatherhood, plus I get a lot of fans at childcare”
AEDDIE PERFECT ON PLAY SCHOOL
On the edge of a breakdown after losing her job Anna (Kate McLennan) takes up residence in a display home. Shane Bourne and Jean Kittson are hilarious as her parents.
Lawrence Mooney is a funny guy but the plot is old hat: 40something radio DJ doesn’t want to grow up and marry his girlfriend — until she gets pregnant.
Eddie Perfect contemplates his future.