The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - FRONT PAGE - SEANNA CRONIN

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


Peter Helliar helms the new quiz show Cram, which chal­lenges celebri­ties to re­call facts they’ve just seen in a video.

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