Q& A

The Ham­ster Wheel

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Television - with Chris Tay­lor

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.

HOLLY BYRNES

The Ham­ster Wheel,

ABC1, Wed­nes­days, 9.35pm

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