A gold mine OF WISDOM
Businessman and former Liberal Party leader John Elliott swears by singing love songs after making love, Hollywood heart-throb Josh Lawson says first kisses should “avoid tongue or really use it sparingly, like Tabasco” and comedian and broadcaster Tim Ross remains scarred by his first Blue Light Disco pash.
Welcome to the world of Aussie bloke logic, in which 18 high profile fellas – the Agony Uncles – dispense disarming and sometimes devastatingly honest views on romance, rejection, love and dating.
The six-part series created by Adam Zwar is a confessional-style foray into what makes Australian blokes tick, with the hilarious result that even after all the dissection, romance is still a mystery to most.
The show, based loosely on UK show Grumpy Old Men in which middle-aged
Avoid the tongue for the first kiss … or use it sparingly … like Tabasco
male celebrities give their candid views on life, is low-budget ( filmed primarily in and around Zwar’s home), but the nuggets of “wisdom” are gold.
In early episodes, Lawson recounts tales of watching a girl flee from a bar rather than hang around for their date and of preferring to do improvisation before an audience of 1000 people rather than risk being rejected asking someone out.
It make you wonder how on earth he managed to even ask Aussie actress Rachael Taylor out – let alone find love with her.
“When I think about Josh’s kissing tips, I feel a little bit ill,” Zwar says of his mate.
“But look, he’s the Snag-iest of the Agony Uncles, and he was starring in the movie when they got together, and he sat down for our interview after flying in from Yemen when he finished ( the movie) Any Questions for Ben.
“At the end of the interview he laughed and said, ‘I’ve got no idea what I’ve just said’.”
Zwar says it’s the unguarded nature of the show that he dreamed of capturing when he recruited his 18 Agony Uncles.
After writing a newspaper column about singledom for a number of years, Zwar tried several times to get the show up and running and eventually tinkered enough to get it right and turned to a group of high profile mates, mates of mates and “people I’d worked with over the years”.
“I just collected a bunch who I knew would be happy to have a chat,” he says.
“We did the interviews over three weeks – confessional style – and maybe there was a false sense of security, because they are talking to a mate and forgot they are talking to Australia.”
The result is candid and hilarious verdicts on everything from “psycho women” – the term, Zwar says, Aussie blokes use for any woman they don’t understand, to how men react when someone says “I love you” and they don’t want to hear it ( unanimous verdict: don’t lie and say you do, just change the subject, get out quickly, then run like hell).
It’s wisdom that is brave, confronting, generous, and possibly will give men’s other halves insight, but no answers.
“We do get to the great unspoken – it’s a real peek inside the locker room of the male mind,” Zwar says.
“And there are some gems there. I learnt a lot from several of the Uncles.
“The big thing I learned was men talk about football pretty seriously and women talk about it as a bit of a joke.
“When guys talk about relationships it’s like it’s a bit of a joke, so it’s the blind leading the blind. With women, it is serious business.”
This was underlined for Zwar as he put together Agony Aunts, which will air six weeks after Agony Uncles finishes, featuring women talking about the mysteries of life and love.
Zwar says he gleaned much from the “older” uncles.
“If you get to 40, everyone’s had their heart broken, had some rough times. You don’t get to 40 and it’s all been sweet sailing,” he says.
“Brett ( Tucker, actor) talks about getting his heart broken for the first time at 36, and that’s pretty late.
“The longer you leave it to get your heart broken the harder you fall.
“Rosso is a gold mine – here he is like, ‘OK guys I’ve been through a lot of shit in my life, this is what happens’.
“He and ( comedian) Lawrence Mooney, despite their knockabout personas, are honest about having been to the depths of despair and carry that wisdom with them.”
John Elliott’s perhaps dated views are also a standout.
“What I love about him is in his mind, he’s never wrong. What he says is irrefutable. There’s no room for selfdoubt,” Zwar laughs.
“I learned that pretty much everyone has a theory but nobody really knows anything.” –