IT’S OPEN SEASON
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
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.