Too much ad lib to be too PC
Paul Fenech is a fan of honest humour, writes Darren Cartwright
COMEDIAN Paul Fenech knows he crossed the boundaries of political correctness with his SBS series Housos – and for good reason, he says.
Fenech wants to preserve the last few drops of true Australian humour – which was so prevalent in the acts of Paul Hogan and Rodney Rude – before they dry up.
It’s why he did Housos, which returns on Monday.
The series is set in the fictional lowincome suburb of Sunnyvale and the characters are not too bright.
Housos first aired in 2011 and it was followed up with a movie, Housos v Authority, in 2012.
‘‘It’s almost impossible to do Australian humour, which is about being honest, or truthful these days,’’ says Fenech.
‘‘Political correctness is not about being honest. It’s about how things should be, not how they are. I’d like to think Housos is like Rodney Rude – who a lot of people looked down on, but thousands of people loved his work.’’
There is more fact than fiction in Housos, Fenech says, and it’s why it has a strong fan base.
The characters are crass, rude and unemployed and they have little respect for police.
‘‘Every bit of work I have made is about showing places that are real Australia,’’ says Fenech.
‘‘If you see poor people in the media it is either patronising or it’s tabloid-like and they’re bludgers.’’
Fenech’s latest offering is a nineepisode second TV season.
The first season of Housos took almost $1.5 million in DVD sales and the movie grossed more than a $1 million, so he’s confident fans will latch on to the new season.
‘‘We only did nine episodes because we didn’t have enough money to do 10,’’ says Fenech.
‘‘These episodes are quite big compared to other Australian series and that costs money.’’
Fenech has managed to draw in some well-known personalities to appear in the first and second season, including newsreader John Mangos, TV/radio presenter Amanda Keller, former rock star Angry Anderson and the late Ian Turpie.
Turpie narrated the first season and, while his part is scripted, many of the scenes are not.
Fenech says the cast was chosen on who looked the part and who could ad-lib during some very lightly scripted scenes.
‘‘There is tons of ad-libbing in the show. And the show is structured in a way that the actors can say their own lines without changing the storyline,’’ says Fenech.
‘‘It’s the little gems in the ad-libbing that makes the show.’’
Housos: Mondays, 9.30pm, SBS1
Jason Davis, Paul Fenech and Kevin Taumata