Too much ad lib to be too PC

Paul Fenech is a fan of hon­est hu­mour, writes Dar­ren Cartwright

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - TELEVISION -

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

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