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

Herald Sun - Switched On - - COVER STORY -

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.

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