Ben Elton did his first “live from Planet Earth” on channel 9 last night.
He started out with his usual witty and very true perceptions of Australia’s politicians. And they were funny. But Ben, you tried too hard to be Australian, and unfortunately, a lot of your ‘bits’ (ooh-er) came across being ever so slightly contrived.
I don’t know if Ben knows it, but us Aussies don’t really care what you’re going on about. To a British audience, I’m sure they love it, but the ‘live’ studio audience could only really relate to the sketches with the Australian comedians.
The sketches weren’t really that good either. Apart from the wonderful character called Elaine Front. She was brilliant. Ruby Rose came on as a guest and she was so funny, a true Australian.
As Ruby sat down, Elaine Front said, “Listen love, I don’t really know who you are, I’ve never heard of you, but it says you’re a ce-lesbian”.
Ruby then had to explain that a ce-lesbian was a celebrity lesbian…and then Elaine just owned the sketch, the interview, whatever you want to call it.
There was a bloke in a gold bikini not being funny, there was, as Ben called it, “a show within a show”, called ‘Girls Flat’ I think. That might not be what it was called, but I was so bored with it and really can’t be bothered to look at my notes to see what it was exactly called. But it had girls playing the parts of Amy Winehouse, Lady Gaga and Beyoncé. Although the sketch was rubbish, the comedienne who played Amy Winehouse was quite funny. But it was not very well written. I think that Ben Elton wanted to try and re-create the anarchy of the Young Ones by having it all in a kitchen, dining room, front room kind of a style. But that doesn’t work any more, Ben. Times have changed. Australia watched the Young Ones and guess what…we have cars now. Honestly, this guy maybe thinks he can play some old shit to us thinking we’re a bit behind the time. If you do take offence to it, then it’s going to be offensive.
A few years ago, maybe about 8-10 years ago, Ben Elton came back on British television and he was really funny. It wasn’t live but he was as funny, if not funnier. Always topical, and he had the legendary Ronnie Corbett telling his joke in a chair that was too big for him. But the show was a success. I don’t know what the ratings were, but everyone was talking about it down the pub which is kind of what a writer, a creator wants…for the ever criticising public to like what you create.
But Ben, I think you tried a bit too hard to be Australian. You can’t say “we” when the Aussies know you’re a “them”.
And you have done your homework, you really have. The word Bogen crept in there…that’s right, just to show them that you can be an Aussie if you want to, and we should accept you because you said the word we all love.
And when you started talking about people ‘fiddling’ with themselves. Listen mate, I agree with a lot of what you said, especially about the fact that every girl…yes every girl has a tattoo just above their g-string knicker line.
But nobody cares, Ben…it’s the way things are. And you going on about it just made you seem old and dated…not a vintage in sight.
Well, it wasn’t a very good first show, but it could get better. As with these things it sometimes takes a while to get to know the characters and be familiar with the layout of the show.
I shall watch it next week to see if the audience warms to you a little and to watch the Eeelaine Front…she was fucking wicked.
I shall watch you too Ben…but when you’re an Ozzie, you have to be one of us before you start telling everyone that you are.
by Sel Hurst