The Hamster Wheel
SICK kids might be safe this time but The Chaser’s Chris Taylor has other targets in his sights for the comedy team’s new series, The Hamster Wheel. Applying the blowtorch to the media’s belly, Taylor insists the TV project is just for laughs . . . not revenge.
Q. You announced your media analysis show just weeks before the Gillard Government confirmed their own review of the industry. Is that good timing or bad? A. It’s been rather serendipitous hasn’t it? It had been an idea we’d been kicking around for a while. Q. The show will be on air when the Queen visits and the Palace famously stood in the way of your royal wedding coverage. Is there going to be a bit of getting square?
A. All I can say on that is if I were the Queen, I’d be coming out to Australia with not two but three food tasters [ he laughs]. She should be very careful about where she goes in Australia. But seriously, in a bid to slightly water down public misconceptions or expectations, there’ll be none of the public stunts The
Chaser has done in the past, like APEC. We just felt we’d done it. Q. Was that a directive from ABC management to behave? A. No, no, they’ve always been supportive. I think they’d love us to go out and do more of that. The decision we made is we’re no longer undergraduates and we’re doing more of an analysis show than comedy. Q. Do you think the line between what is considered poor taste and what’s tolerated as comedy is being too heavily scrutinised, too censored? A. I don’t know about censorship but we’re often surprised by the level of media scrutiny of comedy shows. It reached its nadir with At Home With Julia. I feel really sorry for those guys.
You turn on Q& A or pick up a broadsheet to see political commentators analysing comedy with the same sort of serious tones with which they should be analysing policy. Q. Do you ever become conscious of that debate when you’re shaping skits? Is there any self-censorship? A. We’ve always had a rule – and no one believes us – that if it makes us laugh, it’s in the show. I’m really proud of the fact that we never once stop to think how will this play to the public? How will this play with the media? The only reason we’re still together as a team is about amusing each other.
The Hamster Wheel,
ABC1, Wednesdays, 9.35pm