Satire star Michael Veitch is keen to see sketch com­edy re­turn to Aus­tralian tele­vi­sion, and says it’s time to start tak­ing the mickey again

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - TV - SHAN­NON MOL­LOY

For much of the 1990s, Michael Veitch and a rag­tag bunch of young comics dom­i­nated the small screen with a string of suc­cess­ful sketch shows like Fast For­ward and Full Frontal.

Each week, they of­fered satir­i­cal takes on cul­ture as well as mem­o­rable send-ups of politi­cians, pop stars and celebri­ties. A gen­er­a­tion of ma­jor stars was born.

Then for a long while, it seemed the golden era of TV sketch com­edy was over. Many tried to find sim­i­lar suc­cess but failed.

Now to­gether with a few young new­bies, Veitch and his old comic col­leagues Gina Ri­ley and Magda Szuban­ski are back for Open Slather on Fox­tel.

Why do you think it’s been so long since we’ve seen sketch com­edy on Aus­tralian tele­vi­sion?

It’s funny how th­ese shows tend to come and go in waves. I don’t know why some of the re­cent vari­a­tions haven’t res­onated as well with peo­ple. I think a lot of it is to do with tim­ing, and the tim­ing feels right.

There’s def­i­nitely no short­age of ma­te­rial. what can we ex­pected open slather to fo­cus on?

There’s so much stuff hap­pen­ing at the mo­ment that’s beg­ging to be taken on. My God – politi­cians th­ese days al­most send them­selves up. There’s hardly even a need for us to try very hard. I’m ex­cited about that. Plus so­ci­ety it­self, there’s so much pre­ten­sion to poke fun at. And re­al­ity TV … that’s a gold­mine.

Do you think hu­mour has changed since the glory days of TV com­edy in the 1990s?

I think hu­mour is more clever but also much more cau­tious. Australia has gone from be­ing a laid-back coun­try to one that takes ev­ery­thing so se­ri­ously. What’s miss­ing from ev­ery­day life is a bit of fun. Ev­ery­thing is so po­lar­is­ing and opin­ion­ated. Peo­ple are di­vided.

Is it then scary to ven­ture into that en­vi­ron­ment with the in­ten­tion of tak­ing the mickey?

Oh sure, it’s scary, but it’s also ex­cit­ing!

You’re back to­gether with Magda and Gina. What’s that like?

The young ones on the show are call­ing us the “her­itage cast”. That’s a com­pli­ment, I think. For us oldies, the first cou­ple of days were like a school re­u­nion.

Open Slather pre­mieres Sun­day at 7.30pm on The Com­edy Chan­nel on Fox­tel

Michael Veitch in char­ac­ter as Lord Gran­tham on Open Slather.

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