“Early romances for me were a difficult thing, because I didn’t know I was gay. I didn’t know what gay was.” — Hannah Gadsby

Asking something as simple as “What did you want to be when you grew up?” to a group of adults will elict a wide range of responses. Asking a group that includes Julia Zemiro, Waleed Aly, Sam Pang, Yumi Stynes, Mirka Mora & Lawrence Mooney and you know you’re stepping into some hilarious territory, because they all know about The Agony Of Life.

“If I look at myself with other people’s eyes, I think I would have been a really creepy child.” — Kate Langbroek

There’s a barbed innocence in the questions from a disembodied yet charming Adam Zwar that makes The Agony Of Life (like it’s older brother & sister series Agony Uncles/Aunts before it) so joyful. Simple questions draw simple responses though Zwar has lulled his contributors into such a false sense of security that the stories they share are so raw and unusually honest that you cannot but invest in the stories of each of Lifers. It’s such a simple premise delivered with such deft touch that it looks too easy.

“I’ve never had an erection that was unwanted.” — Sam Pang

The series follows the natural progressions of life through childhood and the teen years, the 20’s, 30’s and 40’s and looking forward to retirement and the ‘final frontier’. The gentle nature of the conversation unearths true hopes and fears as memories as well what the Lifers see looking forward. It’s easy to blush at some responses as you eavesdrop on what might have been some very private yet very funny conversations. Every Lifer has poignant moments to share and Zwar’s deft touch of direction ensures each gets their moment before the viewer descends into the inanity and hilarity again.

“I was in love with every single girl that I ever met that I wasn’t related to.” — Stephen Curry

Adam Zwar has, in his own unassuming way, drawn the best from his subjects. Stories of love, of desperation, of amazing circumstance, of gut-crunching humour – all displayed for the world to see. The Lifers should be thanked for their contributions (though I suspect many of them might not recall everything they’ve said… so that means the series will have at least 19 people watching to see what they said that made the cut). Across all eight episodes The Agony Of Life is a whole bunch of fun.

“I wanked a lot. I did a lot of wanking.” — Tim Ross

The Agony Of Life – Wed 9pm, ABC1.