Australia has always struggled to deliver good sketch comedy consistently. We’ve had it in spits and spurts, but then the networks stop funding it, presumably because good sketch comedy costs a lot of money to make. This announcement from ABC1 that they’re using some of Australia’s best comedians in a sketch comedy show is a smart move, and this commentator looks forward to Problems airing later this year. Simmons is excellent, and Mooney & Morgan are always dependable. From the press release:
ABC1 today announced that Australian stand-up comedian, Sam Simmons, began production on his four part sketch comedy titled Problems. Shooting in Melbourne across three weeks the show is slated for air late 2012 on ABC1.
Sam was recently nominated for comedy’s most prestigious award (best show) at the Edinburgh Fringe and this year took the Montreal Just For Laughs Festival by storm. He comes to Problems direct from Los Angeles and ahead of a return season in About The Weather on London’s West End. Sam is the undisputed master of suburban absurdism, a cult comedy hero, an evangelical advocate of bringing silly back to comedy.
Sam has pulled together a dream team of established and emerging comedians to star in the series including Lawrence Mooney, Anthony Morgan, Claudia O’Doherty, Ronny Chieng, David Quirk and Laura Hughes. It is directed by Trent O’Donnell (Woodley, Review with Miles Barlow) and produced by Paul Horan (The Project, Rove Live).
Each episode looks to solve a problem – not a crisis but a problem. A minor annoyance that spirals into a comedic adventure. When viewers get to know Sam they’ll realise that Sam’s world is just like yours and mine with that familiar routine of talking cats, taco-induced psychosis, lawn chair philosophers.
ABC TV Head of Comedy Debbie Lee said: “Australian sketch comedy fans will get to meet some of Australian comedy’s strangest minds, creating characters to be set in a fondly offbeat cream-brick neverland that is the Australian suburban sprawl.”
Guesswork Television Executive Producer Kevin Whyte said: “It is incredibly exciting to be bringing Sam Simmons’ peculiar genius to the screen along with his handpicked cast of Australia’s most exciting and daring comedians. Problems once again see ABC TV backing Australian comedy talent.”