Getting a bunch of Australia’s finest comedians together and mixing them in with some new ones to create a new kind of skit show sounds like ratings gold on paper. Big names like Gina Riley, Jane Turner, Glenn Robbins, Marg Downey & Shane Jacobsen should have audiences flocking to their “Fast Forward” days. We have been inundated with paid Facebook advertising and promos for a few months now, and from what I had seen, it looked hilarious. Unfortunately what I just witnessed was the complete opposite and the show feels like a massive letdown.
It is not all bad though, this is a pilot, and if we know anything at Novastream, it’s that pilot episodes usually suck. They are a way to introduce the audience to the format of the show and how it works, setting characters and settings up before exploring them in future episodes and making it worthwhile. This is exactly the perfect way to describe the first episode of Open Slather, while I was expecting to laugh every 5 seconds, I didn’t. I found myself getting a peek at some of my favourite comedians on the planet, while being introduced to some new promising talent. By far the most outstanding was Ben Gerrard, who is known for roles in Wolf Creek 2, Jack Irish and Outland, the actor shines whenever he is on screen, and while some of his skits were ridiculous, his ability to own the character and bring the laughs paid off.
Gina Riley shines as 60 Minutes presenter Liz Hayes and a hilarious skit about stopping the boats of overseas celebrities invading Australian shores brought the laughs hard and strong, as did her Gina Rhinehorn skit about the Real Housewives character being a lawyer and dropping C bombs. Magda Szubanski is an instant classic as Gina Minehart and the Downton Abbey had a great Fast Forward vibe to it.
There was a horrid 50 Shades Of Grey “Whip Me Like You Do” skit and a few off ones about a dinner date with farts and police drugs testing that overstayed their welcome, but overall the show is promoting homegrown comedic talent, and bringing in ratings of 243K for a premiere episode and winning the night for Foxtel, it is off to a good start.
A lot has been circulating about the final skit, with scenes of war torn and third world countries while narrators read actual comments from Dominos Pizza facebook page, a lot of viewers have complained that it was tasteless and inappropriate, I found it to be quite poignant, as was the stab at Depp’s dog drama.
Overall this is a solid start for the Comedy channel original series, you can watch the full first episode for free above, we will be definitely tuning into this show to watch it grow and showcase some of Australia’s best comedic talent.