A new series offers no prizes or cooking deals, just a bunch of true stories as told to two Aussie comedians.
Like a lot of things these days, True Story with Hamish & Andy (Three, Thursday, 8.00pm) began with a shout-out on Facebook. The result is like Drunk History without the drunk. Or the history.
Instead, Australian TV and radio hosts Hamish Blake and Andy Lee have taken something of which we all have at least one – good yarns – and recreated them with actors.
The stories come from ordinary Aussies, who sit down for a conversation about an incident from their past. So that their reactions are spontaneous, Blake and Lee do not hear the story beforehand, which Blake told website tvtonight.com.au was “easily the scariest part of the show. Nobody would have known if we’d ‘cheated’.
“But we now realise how critical it is. The heart of the show is the conversation with Andy and I, learning things at the same pace as the audience.”
As surprise hit Drunk History (and Te Radar’s Chequered Past) discovered, it’s a concept that works a treat (and would export easily to any country). It’s also refreshingly free of reality-TV manipulation and cynicism.
“Without getting too touchy-feely, everyone sitting in that seat is just there for the joy of telling a good story,” says Blake. “There’s no prize, no cooking deal.”
In the first episode, actor John Leary plays a man whose debilitating aversion to needles leads to a series of unfortunate events when his wife, played by Helen Dallimore, has in vitro fertilisation treatment. Blood tests are just the beginning. Wait for the amniocentesis.
Other guest stars include Craig McLachlan, Kath & Kim’s Glenn Robbins, Offspring’s Kat Stewart and comedian Kitty Flanagan.
Kiwi stand-up Thomas Sainsbury, who has become a hit on Snapchat with his
impersonations of politicians, appears in an episode set in Dunedin (really Melbourne) about an escalating series of pranks between two student flatmates.
“One of them was telling us, ‘I cannot stress how ashamed I am of myself. But you have to remember I was at uni in a share house, never thinking this could be an episode of television.’”
Because of its grossness, that particular episode caused controversy across the Tassie. You’re welcome, Australia. Despite this, the series has been renewed.
“We want to go to the next level of kookier stories next season,” says Blake.
Entries are open at hamishandandy.com.
True Story with Hamish
& Andy, Thursday.