FROM PETE HELLIAR’S CRAM TO AXLE WHITEHEAD’S THE WALL, IT’S TRIVIA TIME
Pete Helliar is full of interesting facts, as well as punchlines, thanks to his new role as the host of Cram. The comedian and The Project regular helms the new quiz show, which challenges celebrities to recall facts they’ve just seen in a video.
“I’d be in a meeting for The Project and I’d come up with a fact and Waleed (Aly) and Carrie (Bickmore) were like ‘that’s from Cram isn’t it’.”
Unlike other game shows, the contestants are given all of the answers. The tricky part is absorbing them and then remembering them correctly.
“I played with my family before I signed on to get a sense of the game,” Pete says.
“My eight-year-old was able to answer questions because he’d just seen this animated graphic, whereas on most quiz shows he would be out at the $200 round.
“It’s more about memory recall than any kind of prior knowledge.”
Pete believes the format takes the pressure off his famous guests so they can relax and improvise.
“Sometimes people are too prepared,” he says.
“We wanted to make sure everyone felt relaxed to be silly or share something.
“In the moment people remembered something they hadn’t thought about for years.
“I remember Chrissie Swan having a moment where she remembered she hung up on someone during a radio interview, then she looked over and saw Fev (Brendan Fevola) on the panel and said ‘It was you!’.”
Viewers will also be introduced to some up-andcoming comedy talents such as Rhys Nicholson, Gen Fricker and Nick Cody.
“I was really happy and excited to have some friends on like Nick, who’s been killing it in the stand-up scene in recent years,” he says.
“He’s been on Conan O’Brien (the US talk show), but he’d never done a panel-style show in Australia. He was a touch nervous and was asking me for any tips, but you wouldn’t know it. He just absolutely smashed it.”
Cram’s teams are captained by acclaimed comedian Dilruk Jayasinha, a regular on Have You Been Paying Attention?, and actor Virginia Gay.
Pete has been a fan of Dilruk ever since he made a small cameo on his ABC comedy series It’s A Date.
“He came out (to Australia) when he was 19 to study and just embraced every bit of Australian culture,” he says.
“He’s one of the most passionate Hawthorne fans I’ve ever met. Every comedy gig I’ve gone to perform at Dil will be there, either because he’s on the bill or there to watch.
“We wanted the show to be fun and joyous, and Dil fits that bill.”
Cram is a return to the small screen for Virginia, best known for her starring role in Seven’s comedy drama Winners & Losers.
“Whenever we’ve met she’s always struck me as being very funny and theatrical and animated,” Pete says.
“During the recording, I could just throw anything to her and she’d turn it into spun gold with a joke or anecdote or a piece of physicality. I think she’s a really inspired choice.” Cram premieres tonight at 7.30pm on Channel 10
WE WANTED TO MAKE SURE EVERYONE FELT RELAXED TO BE SILLY
Peter Helliar helms the new quiz show Cram, which challenges celebrities to recall facts they’ve just seen in a video.