IN­SIDE: Seven days of TV view­ing

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Front Page - DEB­BIE SCHIPP

A TOUR of New York with com­edy kings Hamish Blake and Andy Lee was never go­ing to be a con­ven­tional af­fair. This is why, af­ter break­fast at a SoHo diner, to which Blake turned up on a bi­cy­cle, we are sitting in the front row of a pub­lic am­phithe­atre, which looks on to 10th Ave, watch­ing traf­fic. No Statue of Lib­erty. No Staten Is­land ferry. Not even a hot­dog.

‘‘ It’s a live movie,’’ says Blake, as we watch yel­low cabs strug­gle up­town, horns blar­ing to evade the crush of cars and pedes­tri­ans.

‘‘ It’s pure New York. It’s traf­fic. I could take the bike out to liven it up.’’

Blake and Lee ( pic­tured) have cho­sen a walk­ing tour of High Line Park on Man­hat­tan’s lower west side to show­case the city they have dis­cov­ered since re­lo­cat­ing there for their new show, Hamish and Andy’s Gap Year.

The el­e­vated ur­ban park was, un­til a cou­ple of years ago, a dis­used rail­way line, wind­ing through the lower west side, where Blake and Lee have made their homes.

We use our park van­tage point to look up at the floor-to-ceil­ing win­dows of the fa­mous The Stan­dard Ho­tel.

‘‘ Peo­ple staying there for­get that the city can see straight into their rooms,’’ Lee says.

‘‘ The ho­tel man­age­ment leave notes to guests warn­ing them that this is a prime place if you want to get seen do­ing ‘ things’ in your room. It’s like live theatre if you’re high­minded, or you could just be a dirty peo­ple watcher.’’

This, then, is their New York, which WIN hopes will rake in the rat­ings over 10 in­stal­ments of Hamish and Andy’s Gap Year. The show will chron­i­cle their ad­ven­tures in New York and fur­ther afield. They laugh off sug­ges­tions it’s their shot at crack­ing the Amer­i­can mar­ket.

‘‘ We are here to eat their food, not in­vade their air­waves,’’ Blake says.

‘‘ The show won’t air here. We just chose here be­cause Aus­tralians love an ad­ven­ture and char­ac­ters and this place is full of them.’’

The sto­ries the pair re­count as the tour un­folds re­veal no short­age of comic fod­der.

Lee is liv­ing in a bach­e­lor pad in SoHo, which dou­bles as a ra­dio stu­dio for their weekly shows and a crash pad for vis­i­tors.

Blake has ap­pointed him­self Lee’s dat­ing coach, fol­low­ing his mate’s break-up with Me­gan Gale last year, but isn’t the world’s great­est wing­man.

He glee­fully re­counts a story of the pair try­ing to get into a night­club in Mi­ami. Lee, wear­ing long pants, was al­lowed in. Blake, in shorts, wasn’t. Un­daunted, he sent an­other mate in with the mes­sage to Lee to send out his pants. Lee obliged, then sat on a lounge in a cor­ner in his un­der­wear.

The pair is lov­ing the in-your-face New York­ers, and es­ti­mate they break at least five laws – writ­ten and un­writ­ten – in the city each day.

The Gap Year stu­dio is in a ware­house in Brook­lyn, a short walk from the Green Point ferry pier. Un­der­neath it is ‘‘ a plas­tics fac­tory of some sort’’.

Above the stu­dio is a com­mu­nity gar­den they call ‘‘ the farm’’, which dou­bles as a bar­be­cue area.

When they took the cam­eras to greet their new neigh­bours in the fac­tory, the whole place emp­tied.

‘‘ We gath­ered that there may be some il­le­gal work­ers there,’’ Lee says. ‘‘ So now we just give them a wave as we head in to let them know we’re not so­cial se­cu­rity.’’

They may be house­hold names in Aus­tralia but in New York they are just up­start Aussies.

‘‘ We have no cred any­where but ab­so­lutely none here,’’ Blake says.

Per­haps a hit show will change all that . . .

Hamish and Andy’s Gap Year,

WIN, Thurs­day, 8.30pm

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