The Courier-Mail

A funny af­fair

Shane Jacobson and Stephen Curry en­joy plenty of laughs on and off screen, writes Tif­fany Dunk


There’s a solemn air in the room as Shane Jacobson and Stephen Curry pre­pare to film a sketch for Open Slather.

Clad in priest robes and down on bent knees, they al­most whis­per the lines as cam­eras start rolling in­side the Mel­bourne church set.

But as the pair de­bate facts about cats, mor­tal­ity and more, the sti­fled chuck­les of the crew threaten to ruin the first take.

And once the di­rec­tor calls cut, the duo im­me­di­ately bust out of char­ac­ter to crack jokes — of­ten at the other’s ex­pense — be­fore set­tling back into straight-faced mode to film another take.

The “men of the cloth” aka Fa­ther Rankin (Curry) and Fa­ther Phipps (Jacobson) sketches have be­come a favourite of Open Slather fans. An idea they came up with to­gether, the duo have found end­less fod­der for their priest char­ac­ters who en­joy quot­ing facts found online to fill in time be­tween ser­mons.

“Orig­i­nally it was just about gen­eral peo­ple, peo­ple who can’t help but give you facts the whole time,” says Jacobson. “Google and Wikipedia are the places they go to get it from. So they are 100 per cent cer­tain, iron-clad guar­an­tee pos­i­tive that the in­for­ma­tion they’re giv­ing you is right, even though they got it from an in­con­ceiv­ably un­re­li­able source — the in­ter­net.”

Jacobson has a par­tic­u­lar pas­sion for the sub­ject of the “mis­in­for­ma­tion age” as he calls it. Early in his ca­reer, Jacobson’s Wikipedia page stated the ac­tor was born in Bon­nie Doon, the small town made fa­mous in Curry’s film The Castle.

For years, not only was this “fact” pub­lished in ev­ery ar­ti­cle about him, but Jacobson found Wikipedia un­will­ing to take it down.

“I could not con­vince them it wasn’t fact,” he says. “And then when it would change, it would end up re­vert­ing to the orig­i­nal.”

“Also, on Wikipedia they keep say­ing that my work is s---,” adds Curry.

“Well, there are some facts on there,” re­torts Jacobson.

The easy repar­tee be­tween the two ac­tors is born of hours spent work­ing to­gether. In ad­di­tion to Open Slather, they’ve pre­vi­ously co-starred in ABC drama The Time Of Their Lives. So en­am­oured do they seem with each other, in fact, that var­i­ous cast and crew tell Switched On that the pair has a “beau­ti­ful bro­mance” go­ing on.

“A bro­mance has an in­no­cent kind of qual­ity to it,” muses Curry when we ask about their friend­ship. “This is far less in­no­cent — it’s been go­ing on for too long.” “It’s an af­fair,” adds Jacobson. Jok­ing that he’s the only one who en­joys lis­ten­ing to Jacobson’s end­less sto­ries, Curry says he gives ad­vice to the rest of the cast if they get trapped on the end of one of his co-worker’s rants.

“When you’ve heard the bits you want to hear, just walk away,” he cau­tions.

With 12 rel­a­tively new com­edy faces among the Open Slather cast, ad­vice from the more es­tab­lished cast is al­ways wel­comed. Ge­orge H. Xan­this, who is work­ing on his first TV com­edy gig, says he’s found both Curry and Jacobson in­valu­able for ad­vice when it comes to writ­ing and pre­par­ing his own sketches.

“These are peo­ple I grew up idol­is­ing,” he says.

“To have these com­edy greats have con­ver­sa­tions and work on stuff with you is great.”

How­ever, pro­ducer Rick McKenna says that while the younger cast were thrilled to meet the vet­eran ac­tors in the group — which also in­cludes Glenn Rob­bins, Magda Szuban­ski and Gina Ri­ley — it was a very dif­fer­ent re­ac­tion from the el­der cast.

“All the older guys were go­ing, ‘Oh my God, look how young they are — I hope they’re not funny,” he re­calls.

Both Curry and Jacobson say they feel the pres­sure to up their A-game thanks to the tal­ented new­com­ers on set.

“They all de­serve their own ap­plause for be­ing in­de­pen­dently fan­tas­tic,” says Jacobson. “They’re far bet­ter than us … it’s go­ing to kick us out of the in­dus­try.”

“No, it’s go­ing to stop us from writ­ing any sketches that we have to work along­side them ba­si­cally,” cau­tions Curry.

With that last crack, they’re off to their shared trailer to pre­pare for their next scene, laugh­ing and swap­ping ideas as they walk away.

And with Fox­tel hav­ing com­mis­sioned another 10 episodes of Open Slather, which re­turns this week, it seems the bro­mance isn’t in dan­ger of end­ing any time soon.

“A bro­mance has an

in­no­cent kind of qual­ity to it. This is far less in­no­cent — it’s been go­ing on


 ??  ?? Shane Jacobson and Stephen Curry have an easy repar­tee af­ter work­ing
many hours to­gether.
Shane Jacobson and Stephen Curry have an easy repar­tee af­ter work­ing many hours to­gether.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia