No-one is better than Tom Gleeson at a put-down. The comedian won a legion of fans grilling celebrities including Karl Stefanovic, James Blunt and Steve Price for his Hard Chat segment on The Weekly with Charlie Pickering.
So much so last year, the ABC took a punt on matching Gleeson’s acerbic style with a game show format. Hard Quiz was an instant success.
Each episode features four contestants with expert knowledge in specialist subjects. Last year’s series included authorities on everything from Harry Potter to Seinfeld, The Beatles, wombats, Renaissance art and punk rock.
The contestants on Hard Quiz – geniuses or just plain weird? Both. And I love them for it. They’re such great sports. They might be weirdos but they’re my weirdos. Hard Quiz is a celebration of these people and their expert subjects.
Last year’s contestants were happy to give you a bit of lip back. Is that something you encourage? I always tell the live audience that I enjoy taking the piss out of the contestants but I love it even more when they take the piss out of me. The season two contestants have really taken that ball and run with it. In some episodes I’m copping it from all angles.
Did you ever envisage you would be a successful quiz show host? No, but then again I never even thought I would be on TV. Headlining the Sydney Comedy Store on the weekend was as far as my ambition stretched when I started comedy.
You’re also renowned for Hard Chat. Who is still on your wish list for a grilling? Malcolm Turnbull. I’ve Hard Chatted an ex-PM (Kevin Rudd) and a potential future PM (Bill Shorten) but not a sitting PM. Tony Abbott would be fun too. If you’re reading this Tony, Hard Chat welcomes sniping and undermining with open arms.
If you were a contestant on Hard Quiz, what would your special subject be? Monty Python, Rolling Stones or quantum mechanics. Physics is a great subject to stop the other contestants stealing from you.
You had everything from a Cold Chisel expert to a flags expert in season one. What are some of the loopy expert fields we can expect on this year’s series? So many to choose from: Thomas the Tank Engine, cassowaries, the Bangladesh cricket team ... there are people that are really into these things.
Do you have Hard Quiz fans coming up to you in the street, how would you describe them? Expansive. They never stop me for a quick chat.
What could you learn from Grant Denyer and what could he learn from you? I could learn from Grant that if I was happy to compromise on quality I could record 10 episodes in two days. Grant could learn from me that if his game show format was more interesting, he wouldn’t have to dance around so much.
WATCH HARD QUIZ, ABC, WEDNESDAY, 8PM
“I love them for it. They’re such great sports. They might be weirdos but they’re my weirdos”
TOM GLEESON’S CONTESTANTS
Tom Gleeson doesn’t mind serving it up ... and copping a return.