Tele­vi­sion: Pauly Fenech dives in the deep end...........

This new re­al­ity show is sure to pro­vide belly (flop) laughs, writes Lisa Sim­mons

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - CONTENTS -

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.

Pauly Fenech

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