Agony, ec­stasy and The Ham­ster Wheel

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - CONTENTS -

THE Chaser team never likes to wear out its wel­come and that’s why the sec­ond sea­son of its news and me­dia satire The Ham­ster Wheel is likely to be the last.

Comedian Ju­lian Morrow, one of The Chaser boys, says the team is al­ways think­ing of, and plan­ning, new projects.

Thus, The Ham­ster Wheel will be shelved af­ter just two sea­sons. The sec­ond se­ries starts on ABC1 on Septem­ber 26.

‘‘I don’t know if it’s a comedian thing or work­ing in a group, but we of­ten tire of do­ing things per­haps ear­lier than what the au­di­ence does,’’ Morrow says.

‘‘It’s al­ways prefer­able to leave the room early than leav­ing a bad smell.

‘‘We wanted to have one more go at Ham­ster Wheel and we think it will prob­a­bly be the last one.’’

Morrow says each of the com­edy se­ries from The Chaser, which started in 1999, through to The Ham­ster Wheel, have had a com­mon thread but have served dif­fer­ent pur­poses.

The Ham­ster Wheel’s eight-episode run, filmed ‘‘as live’’ just a cou­ple of hours be­fore it goes to air, gives the show more of an edge.

It also pre­vents The Chaser team from pro­cras­ti­nat­ing, Morrow says.

‘‘All our pre­vi­ous shows were shot a day out . . . and we would spend a day pol­ish­ing an episode.

‘‘When you make it on the night you go straight in and say it’s in or out.

‘‘In some sense the shows are all very sim­i­lar, in the other sense they have a dif­fer­ent for­mat or a unit­ing prin­ci­ple.

‘‘There was the elec­tion, then it was CNNNN the par­ody world news satire. The War On Ev­ery­thing was a va­ri­ety show and it was de­signed to be a bit looser . . . so we could do 20 or 15 shows a year.

‘‘ The Ham­ster Wheel was to fo­cus on me­dia and pol­i­tics and de­signed for a shorter run.’’

Hav­ing to tape a show as live, and hav­ing no time to fid­dle with the pro­duc­tion, has meant The Chaser team has had to heav­ily script The Ham­ster Wheel, de­spite the seem­ingly spon­ta­neous way lines are de­liv­ered.

Morrow says there is lit­tle room to ad lib and no time to waste dis­cussing the work­ings of a seg­ment.

‘‘Get­ting the group of peo­ple, called The Chaser, to agree on any­thing has proved well nigh im­pos­si­ble over the years,’’ he says.

‘‘The only thing we re­ally re­spond to well is dead­lines.

‘‘We found in pre­vi­ous years we would have three-hour long dis­cus­sions about what to put in or how to change it.

‘‘Our shows are heav­ily scripted mainly be­cause we have to run to time and we have to pack it in. It’s a mi­nor but fun vari­a­tion of how we have been mak­ing shows for the best part of a decade.’’

Wed­nes­days, 9.05pm, ABC1.

Is it the last sup­per for the cast of

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