Rivalry fuels fun
Kids’ afternoon telly has come a long way since the days of After School and 3.45 Live, as James and Zoe Croot discovered when they visited the Christchurch set of The Adam & Eve Show.
There’s an air of tension in Whitebait Studios’ green room. But it’s not caused by pre-show nerves of The Adam & Eve Show hosts Adam Percival and Eve Palmer – rather their intense rivalry.
Tuesday afternoon is challenge day and to paraphrase former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson – ‘‘it’s squeaky balloon time’’.
That’s why, as the pair get into their ‘‘action tracksuits’’ and have their make-up applied, there’s some last-minute ‘‘desperate’’ practice and exasperation as particularly Adam attempts to mould rubber into a believable-looking rabbit or dog.
In just an hour, they will be competing with each other in front of a live studio audience, and, a little later in the day, 1000s of Kiwi kids at home, to see who can make the best creation in just 90 seconds.
A former What Now presenter, Adam made the switch to weekday afternoons last year, joining Eve on what was then called The 4.30 Show. He says the main difference from working on the longrunning weekend show (now in its 36th year) is that he now gets to ‘‘sleep in on a Sunday morning’’.
‘‘Actually What Now is carnage, this is not as bad,’’ he laughs. ‘‘There’s no gunge on our show – you don’t get messy, you don’t get cream-pied,’’ he adds, eyeing Eve with slight suspicion.
Adam admits it took him a wee while to get used to having only one, rather than two co-presenters (although he believes What Now’s Ronnie Taulafo has such a massive personality he’s like working with five people) but says the change is ‘‘quite refreshing’’.
‘‘I find you can work on your rapport a lot better. We do have an awesome team behind us on this show who bring us ideas, but while we have scripts to guide us through each show, we really don’t know what’s going to come out of our mouths until the cameras as on us – which is quite exciting and the way I like to work.’’
Eve, who first joined The 4.30 Show in early 2014, agrees, saying that the pair like to surprise each other and keep things ‘‘real’’. ‘‘We try to avoid telling each other the same joke over and over so that by the time you’re recording it’s the fourth time they’ve heard it, because then someone has to be a really good actor to laugh at it.’’
She says the biggest change she’s noticed, especially this year, has been the audience interaction, both online and in person.
‘‘I’m not good at social media in general, but I quite like chatting with our fans on Instagram. And just lately we’ve gone into shops and had people comment to us about the show, which has been really nice. I feel like more people are watching this year, although I’m not sure if that’s true.’’
Both Eve and Adam would like to think that’s down to the show’s retooling over the summer. Not only was there a name change to put the hosts front and centre, but last year’s ‘‘random loft apartment’’ (as Adam calls it) has been replaced by more of a traditional studio set. ‘‘Look, we’re here to make TV and while I’m inspired by the likes of Jimmy Fallon and Hamish and Andy, Eve is more of an Oprah or Ellen fan,’’ says Adam. ‘‘I like the silly stuff – the games we play – and Eve probably likes to do interviews and connect with people more.’’
Eve agrees with his assessment, saying that she likes to use stories that have happened in her life and talk about people she’s met. ‘‘I think we’re quite honest about our lives on the show – the good and the bad.’’
‘‘Sometimes a little bit too honest,’’ Adam chimes in.
Producer Reuben Davidson says one of the show’s mantras is to treat things as if it is broadcasting live. ‘‘That’s almost true this year because we’re now mostly recording the show on the day it goes out – two hours after it is recorded it is playing to view, which is great because it means Adam and Eve can be talking about stuff which is happening that day.’’
He says the mix of ‘‘live’’ to pre-recorded material is around 50:50, with segments coming in from as far away as Los Angeles, Sydney or Auckland. ‘‘When we can, we also get these two to travel to do interviews with the stars. For example, Adam went to Sydney for a day to interview Jon Favreau for The Jungle Book and Eve was there and back in a day recently to see Jack Black for Kung Fu Panda 3. It’s fast and furious, but it is great to have that kind of turnaround.’’
They’ve also added a little more structure to the week, with the Thursday and Friday shows containing more pre-recorded material, Mondays offering a chance to discuss issues (‘‘more what’s trending on social media, than news and current affairs,’’ Davidson hastens to add) and Tuesdays and Wednesdays reserved for studio guests and the all-important Eve vs Adam challenges.
Those are also the two days when the studio audiences are wheeled into the Addington-based studios, although on the day we visited, it wasn’t the expected group of sugar-fuelled tweens, but rather a United Nations of adults, seemingly from a local language college, all eager to provide their enthusiastic support to the pair as they battled it out under the watchful eye of Christchurch magician Brendan Dooley.
A run-through sees Eve literally heartbroken as her balloon heart is edged out by Adam’s mangled-looking rabbit. A quick break before the recording offers a chance to rethink their strategies and a chance for us to ask them about rivalries. Is their an ‘‘ Anchorman’’ style animosity between themselves and Mediaworks’ Sticky TV?
‘‘I probably don’t watch them as much as I should,’’ admits Adam, ‘‘because it’s always a good idea to keep an eye on what your competitors are doing, but in saying that it’s just as important to make sure what we’re doing is right.’’
Eve concurs, adding that ‘‘TV is quite fickle at the moment – you never know if you’re going to get funding for the next year, so we just want to do our best’’.
Both believe they have more of a friendly rivalry with Whitebait Media stablemates What Now. ‘‘It’s like a brother/sister thing, only there’s three of them,’’ says Eve.
Called back to the fray, both seem more confident with their balloon manipulation this time around, but after 90 seconds and intense scrutiny, Dooley declares a triumphant Adam a winner, thanks to his ‘‘rabbit in a car crash’’.
Eve is already plotting revenge in the next challenge.
Former What Now presenter Adam Percival says he is loving the gunge-free zone that is The Adam & Eve Show.
Adam Percival takes challenges a little more seriously than his Adam and Eve Show co-host Eve Palmer.