pick of the week
No Activity From Thursday, Stan
I wanted to go out on a limb and declare this the funniest new comedy I’ve seen for years. But in fact it’s not really going out on a limb at all: that No Activity is hilarious will soon be apparent to everyone. It is the debut local production from streaming service Stan and, let’s a face it, all the more remarkable for being this funny and Australian. (I don’t like to kick attempts at comedy, but the Comedy Channel’s Open Slather, for all the talented people involved, is depressingly unfunny.) Created by Trent O’Donnell ( New Girl) and Patrick Brammall ( Glitch, Ruben Guthrie), the concept for No Activity is a night-time police stake-out, with cops, crooks and radio dispatch officers anticipating a big methamphetamine shipment that never seems to arrive. Only idiotic conversations help to pass the time. The wonderful cast — Brammall, Darren Gilshenan, Genevieve Morris, Harriet Dyer, Dan Wyllie and David Field — delivers a largely improvised performance, something they clearly relish. (Wyllie’s character’s story about trying to find his biological father, made difficult by how ”full of life” and ”popular” his mum was, is a scream.) Later episodes will feature Tim Minchin, Jake Johnson ( New Girl) and Kat Stewart ( Offspring). And it should put paid to the idea that online streaming is only a graveyard for the sitcoms of yesteryear. Bravo.