Television: Pauly Fenech dives in the deep end...........
This new reality show is sure to provide belly (flop) laughs, writes Lisa Simmons
COMEDY favourite Pauly Fenech (pictured) can’t imagine what possessed him to enter Channel 7’s new challenge series Celebrity Splash, which pits wellknown faces in a highplatform diving competition.
‘‘I’m scared of heights. I hate chlorine pools. And here I am taking on both headon,’’ he laughs.
The creator, producer, director and star of TV shows Fat Pizza, Housos and their film spinoffs was flattered to be asked.
‘‘Having done a lot of edgy comedy, it was nice to be asked to do something mainstream,’’ he says. ‘‘I thought ‘why not for a laugh’.’’
Fenech suspects he may have been more comfortable Dancing with The Stars, but ‘‘no one asked’’. Instead, he is training with an Olympic coach who teaches him to plunge, somersault and spin from progressively higher platforms.
His rivals are extreme surfer Koby Abberton, Home and Away star Demi Harman, cricket star Andrew Symonds, TV veteran Denise Drysdale, radio star Adam Richard, athlete Tamsyn Lewis, AFL star Andrew Welsh, Miss Universe Australia Renae Ayris, TV personality Laura Csortan and model Nick Bracks.
With the exception of training buddy Abberton – both are based in Sydney – Fenech has no idea how his rivals are performing.
‘‘Everyone is training in their separated states so I can only go on what I hear. They’re saying Andrew Symonds is pretty good,’’ he says.
‘‘Koby too. The man has no fear. Me, I feel the need to try to match everything he does. He wants to jump off the 10m platform, I say, me too. Stupid, isn’t it? This bloke surfs waves as tall as Centrepoint (Tower).’’ Fenech makes some of Australia’s most popular and controversial comedy shows. He never imagined he’d say yes to reality TV.
‘‘I always felt bad for regular people who go on reality TV shows. Smart, savvy, it doesn’t matter. They can’t really know what they’re getting themselves into and they’re going to feel like they’ve been exploited.
‘‘This is different though. What you do is laugh at a bunch of idiotic celebrities, people who deserve it. We’re fair game.’’
Fenech may be good at playing for laughs but doesn’t rule himself out of the competition.
‘‘I keep myself fit. I like the challenge of learning new sports. I keep fit with sports like martial arts.
‘‘I suspect a few people are going to surprise you. Some of the dives you see will be good – not Olympic level – but good enough.’’
Audiences, he says, will watch for laughs.
‘‘There’s the voyeuristic aspect to it. Standing there in a swimsuit in front of the whole country, some will choke, some will stack, some will bellyflop. Some may just fall down and hit their heads, so I guess you’ve got all your Funniest Home Video stuff covered.’’
Celebrity Splash pits 14 Australians in a weekly poolside competition which plays out before an audience of about 1000 people as well as home viewers.
Matthew Mitcham, Alisa Camplin and Greg Louganis judge the complex dives. Morning TV favourites Kylie Gillies and Larry Emdur host.
Celebrity Splash: Mondays, 7.30pm, Seven, Prime7.