AMIGOS TANGO FOR TV LAUGHS
HAMISH AND ANDY FILL IN THE GAP WITH MORE OUTRAGEOUS STUNTS
Will Hamish Blake and Andy Lee go too far one day and end up getting hurt? That is the worry for Blake’s wife Zoe, just weeks after the birth of their first child, Sonny.
Zoe is right to worry. Hamish & Andy’s Gap Year South America is the comedy duo’s most dangerous TV series yet. The early Caravan of
Courage and Gap Year adventures – which covered Australia and New Zealand, Great Britain, America, Europe and Asia – were jaunty fun-filled affairs.
Gap Year South America has a dangerous edge. Blake and Lee almost start treading into
Jackass territory as they get burnt donning fireworks-laden hats, risk asphyxiation hiking to the top of a seething volcano, take a raft down the Amazon, and go sewer diving.
Blake admits he and Lee have a bad habit of wanting to up the ante with every stunt, and one day that might land them in trouble.
“That is what Zoe is worried about,” Blake says. “Ando and I can’t help it. Ever since we’ve been teenagers, we’ve egged each other on. That unfortunately is what guys do.
“You try not to take stupid risks. You don’t want to see the other guy hurt. But there are certainly circumstances where, because it is two guys enjoying an adventure together, it is like two fuel rods being next to each other in a nuclear reactor.”
“It creates an excitement which pushes the boundaries. We have to remind ourselves to make smart decisions.”
Blake’s life has changed dramatically since he and Lee started their globetrotting TV shows in 2007.
In January 2012, Blake announced he was engaged to Zoe, his girlfriend of 18 months, and the pair were secretly married that December, on Blake’s 31st birthday. Sonny was born on May 10 this year.
“A lot of Hamish & Andy’s Gap Year South America was shot while Zoe was pregnant, which was probably a good thing because the game changes when you’ve held your child in your arms,” Blake says. “Neither of us had been over to South America before. I think we thought it might have more of a party atmosphere (than Asia, which they visited last year) but then going into it you realise there is a less safe edge to it.
“Some of the situations we find ourselves in are precarious, but that is the romance of South America.”
The pair visited Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Colombia, Bolivia, Argentina and Brazil.
Security was an issue from the start. Rebel paramilitaries still cause havoc in Colombia. Brazil has been hit by antiWorld Cup riots. The favelas (slums) in Bogota and Rio de Janeiro are no-go areas.
“There were definitely places where I was a bit nervous about the kidnap factor,” Blake admits. “Especially when I was on the verge of Zoe having a child, I knew it would not get me off on the right foot as a father if I
EVER SINCE WE’VE BEEN TEENAGERS, WE’VE EGGED EACH OTHER ON. THAT IS WHAT GUYS DO
was imprisoned in the jungles of Colombia.
“I was concerned, but then I realised it’s probably as dodgy walking down King St (Melbourne’s nightclub district) on a Friday night.
“In the end, we were so lucky with the people we met.
“They enjoy having fun and making their own fun.” A feature of the Caravan of
Courage and Gap Year series are the outrageous dares Blake and Lee dream up for each other.
In Gap Year South America, Blake eats giant worms and ends up in hospital after an initiation to manhood ceremony.
“If I was holidaying in the Amazon, I would never think of eating giant worms,” Blake says. “And I hated doing it. They taste like worms.
“We attempted to take a giant inflatable cylinder down the Amazon and our guide spent the entire time telling us about the things that could kill us if we fell in the river.
“The volcano we hiked had just erupted, but the guide seemed so sure where to step, as though he knew all the safe spots.
“There was no way he could have known.
“I don’t know if that makes us sickos, but we also love it.” Hamish & Andy’s Gap Year South America, Channel 9, Tuesday, 7.30pm.
Hamish Blake and Andy Lee get friendly with some locals in Hamish & Andy's Gap Year South America.