Hamish and Andy
THEY say the true test of a relationship is surviving a holiday away together. Comedians Hamish Blake and Andy Lee have done that several times now and survived with their friendship, and the television ratings, intact.
The comedy duo originally went on the road with their standalone Caravan of Courage specials for Channel 10, crisscrossing America in 2009.
In 2010 they repeated the dose with a jaunt through Great Britain and Ireland.
Blake and Lee then signed with Channel 9 for a rumoured $ 15 million, and opted for ‘‘ permanent’’ digs for their travels, via two Hamish and Andy’s Gap Year experiments in New York in 2011, and, just before this year’s Olympics, in London where they beamed eight episodes out of a former London Pub.
But tonight the duo is back in a trusty Jayco Conquest caravan, traversing New Zealand and, next week, Australia, returning to a familiar and popular recipe.
Hamish and Andy’s Caravan of Courage: Australia vs New Zealand is, typically for the duo, ‘‘ a very unscientific experiment’’ to decide which country is better.
It’s also expected to be late- season hit for Channel 9, which knows where 2012 Gold Logie winner Blake leads, viewers will follow.
All of which is the last thing on the pair’s mind as they lurch their way through the trip.
Being Blake and Lee, it wasn’t enough to just find a hovercraft inventor somewhere on their jaunt from top to bottom of the Land of the Long White Cloud. Naturally, they had to buy one. ‘‘ The highlight in New Zealand was buying a hovercraft off a backyard inventor. And the low- light was what happened when we used the hovercraft,’’ Blake confesses. Despite the fact the pair have been living in each other’s pockets for the show, they don’t get sick of each other. They have been mates since meeting at university in Melbourne in 2001 and it’s an undying bromance that provides plenty of comic fodder. ‘‘ I am sure there is a lot of stuff about me which annoys the hell out of Andy but that makes our friendship good,’’ Blake says. ‘‘ And I think when one of us annoys the hell out of the other one we can also see the funny side. That’s road trips in general. ‘‘ You live out of the same tent with a caravan but that’s the fun part too – that closeness breeds a certain type of adventure.’’ Blake says he and Lee saw none of the rivalry that’s usually associated with Australians and New Zealanders on their trip. ‘‘ It’s just like a big brother, little brother thing,’’ he says. ‘‘ Kiwis are awesome – you get up to more fun there because a lot of New Zealanders want to show you different things. ‘‘ For example you find guys building hovercrafts and people who still believe moose are in the wilderness. ‘‘ We got really excited to find the more obscure things to do there because that is our perfect thing to do.’’ Blake says the big difference between their New Zealand and Australian experience has been that ‘‘ the threats in Australia have come mostly from animals and in New Zealand they have come almost always from our own stupidity’’. Whether New Zealand or Australia win Hamish and Andy’s title, one thing is already settled: The duo is far more comfortable playing television and radio clowns than rodeo clowns. ‘‘ People at rodeos tend to accept that broken bones can and will happen,’’ Blake says. ‘‘ We are happy to put our bodies on the line, but neither of us was too keen to break a leg or an arm.’’