PAYING ATTENTION TO COMEDY RISKS
WE live in the outrage era, where the smallest misstep can fire up an online mob, which makes comedy fraught with risk.
Tom Gleisner (left), host of Network Ten’s news quiz show Have You Been Paying Attention? is aware of the ever-present danger of landing himself in hot water.
“I’m mindful of how something can blow up and, before you know it, you’re at the centre of a Twitter storm,” he says.
“Not to excuse people who are deliberately offensive, but there’s a point where it’s like, ‘Oh, for God’s sake, it was a joke. Let’s not lose perspective here’.”
His show, which features five contestants answering questions about the week that was in news and current affairs, is shot the day before it airs, meaning someone could “slightly overstep the mark” and be comfortable in the knowledge anything too hairy would be edited out.
The downside to that approach is the risk major news will break in the hours between filming and broadcasting the episode – but it’s only happened once in the show’s five seasons.
“Last year I was driving home on a Monday afternoon and heard on the radio Malcolm Turnbull had challenged Tony Abbott,” he says. “I was suddenly doing a mental calculation of how many questions mentioned the prime minister. Thankfully the spill didn’t take place until about 9.30pm, so we just snuck in.”
HAVE YOU BEEN PAYING ATTENTION? MONDAY, 8.30PM, TDT