LOL: Here come the Habibs
Here Come the Habibs! co-creator and star Rob Shehadie says the Channel Nine show’s new second series is all about the comedy, writes AMELIA SAW and SHANNON MOLLOY
HERE Come the Habibs! co-creator Rob Shehadie believes “Australia is forgetting how to laugh”.
The Lebanese Australian, who appears on the popular Channel Nine series as lovable larrikin Janesh, grew up on a TV diet of US sitcom favourites, including The Cosby Show, Family Ties and Married With Children, but says “now the kids are growing up on reality TV”.
While the show got off to a controversial start – accused of perpetuating negative racial stereotypes even before an episode had aired – Shehadie says there was never any intention to offend or polarise with the program, just find common ground in comedy.
“The world is getting very serious … which is very serious,” Shehadie says. “We created this show purely for comedy reasons. We didn’t say, ‘Let’s do a show to put some diversity on Australian TV.’ For us, it’s always been about the laughs.
“We don’t touch on religion, we don’t touch on politics – we’re careful not to. If you go down that road of offending people, that’s a cheap way of getting a laugh,” Shehadie says.
Returning for a second season, viewers follow the “rags to riches” story of the Habib family, who won the lottery and moved into a luxury harbour side mansion beside uptight, wealthy neighbours.
Despite the early outrage, the series averaged about 1.2 million viewers nationally each episode last year – a solid reward for Nine’s faith in Shehadie, his co-producer Tahir Bilgic and the comedy genre. “I remember all the controversy when it first started, we were thinking, ‘why are they like this? They should be supporting a locally made show,’ Bilgic says.
“We’re here to make something local, give some local people jobs. We’re like …. Centrelink,” he jokes.
HERE COME THE HABIBS!
MONDAY, 8PM, NINE