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

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - CONTENTS -

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.



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