Gina Riley in a scene from Open Slather.
Gina Riley in a scene from Open Slather. PHOTO Kelly Gardner

OPINION: It's time to get behind Aussie comedy

SKETCH comedy should always have a place on our screens.

While its origins can be traced back to vaudeville, I think the basic format of the comedy sketch show is more appealing than ever.

In a TV landscape where hundreds of channels across free-to-air, pay TV and streaming services are competing for our viewing time, the good old sketch show delivers its goods in digestible, bite-sized chunks.

There's no complicated storyline - you can tune in for five minutes or 20 without feeling lost.

While sitcoms can hold a mirror up to society through characters developed over episodes and seasons, sketch comedy is more flexible and responsive.

Plenty of current events have made excellent fodder for Foxtel's new series Open Slather.

I was pleased to see the Aussie sketch show revival, starring Kath and Kim's Gina Riley, Jane Turner and Magda Szubanski, among others, premiere to a large audience.

There has been a distinct lack of sketch comedy on Australian TV recently, thanks to the rise in reality programming, which is cheaper to produce and easier to commercialise.

But stumping up the cash for a great cast and crew can be worth it.

Overall, I think Open Slather is hilarious. Sure, a few of the sketches fall a bit flat, but who else out there is poking fun at the likes of Gina Rinehart, Real Housewife of Melbourne Gina Liano or those pesky reality cooking shows?

After speaking with one of the show's directors, Queenslander Natalie Bailey, it is clear one key to Open Slather's success is the collaboration between the actors and writers. Riley, for example, knew she could play larger-than-life barrister Liano.

I'd watch the show for Riley's impression of 60 Minutes reporter Liz Hayes alone.

It's time to get behind locally made comedy. I can only take so many repeats of The Big Bang Theory.



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