The Comedy Company
|The Comedy Company|
The Comedy Company logo
|Created by||Ian McFadyen|
|Written by||Rob Caldwell
|Directed by||Jo Lane
|Country of origin||Australia|
|No. of seasons||3|
|Production company(s)||Media Arts|
|Original network||Network Ten|
|Picture format||4.3 PAL|
|Original release||16 February 1988 – 11 November 1990|
The Comedy Company was an Australian comedy television series first aired from 16 February 1988 until about 11 November 1990 on Network Ten, Sunday night and was created and directed by Ian McFadyen, and co directed and produced by Jo Lane. The show largely consisted of sketch comedy in short segments, much in the tradition of earlier Sketch comedy shows, The Mavis Bramston Show, The Naked Vicar Show, Australia You're Standing In It, and The D-Generation. The majority of the filming took place in Melbourne. The show and characters had a significant effect on Australian pop culture, and had a cult following particularly on Australian youth. The word "bogan" was popularised by the The Comedy Company character, Kylie Mole, portrayed by Mary-Anne Fahey.
This program should not be confused with a short-lived American sketch-comedy/variety series of the same name that ran 10 years earlier.
In 1988, the Media Arts company was asked by Network Ten Australia to produce a one-hour-a-week comedy program. Within a few months, The Comedy Company became the most successful comedy program of the decade being the highest rated weekly television program, particularly of note it ran against the Nine Network popular current events show 60 Minutes which shared its timeslot. Much of its success was due to it being the only family entertainment on television on a Sunday night. The Comedy Company remained the consistently highest rating weekly television program for two years.
Many of the stars of The Comedy Company came from a 1985 Seven Network show called The Eleventh Hour, which starred Mary-Anne Fahey, Ian McFadyen, Mark Mitchell, Glenn Robbins, Peter Moon and Steve Vizard. Fahey, McFadyen, Mitchell and Robbins went to The Comedy Company whilst Steve Vizard and Peter Moon went to the Seven Network series Fast forward.
The Comedy Company premiered many famous characters such as Con The Fruiterer, Kylie Mole, Col'n Carpenter, Uncle Arthur and David Rabbitborough. Some of these characters still remain minor Australian icons. Con the Fruiterer, one of the more popular characters appears even to this day on a variety of shows, as does his wife Marika. Comedian Kym Gyngell also created a spin-off series called Col'n Carpenter (1990–1991) based on his character of the same name. Kylie Mole was also featured in the second series of the ABC's Kittson, Fahey (1993). Notably, Glenn Robbins often did public appearances as Uncle Arthur and on The Panel he often references The Comedy Company by periodically slipping in and out of the character, as well as appearing in full costume as Arthur for The Panel Christmas Special in 2005.
When the show was relaunched The New Comedy Company it featured some of the original cast and characters alongside new comedians. This series lasted one year.
In 2002, an hour of clips from The Comedy Company was edited into a special called The Comedy Company: So Excellent, with the subtitle referencing a famed line by the Kylie Mole character.
Garnering a cult following, quite a large amount of merchandise was produced for a sketch comedy series, such as a flood of spin-off books ("The Comedy Company Holiday Book", "My Diary by Kylie Mole", "Con's Bewdiful Australia") and audio cassettes and records with extracts from the series, and lunchboxes featuring Kylie Mole and T-shirts with Con the Fruiterer or Kylie Mole displaying their famous catch phrases. Kylie Mole and Con the Fruiterer dolls were also released, which would randomly say one of an assortment of the character's catchphrases when a string was pulled. The Kylie Mole character as portrayed by Mary-Anne Fahey had a top 10 hit with So Excellent in 1988. The 'B' side of the single was the song 'I Go, I Go.' Kylie Minogue also appeared in some sketches on the show playing Kylie Mole's second best friend, Rebecca.
Guest stars and Bob Hawke appearance
Many well-known national and international stars appeared as guests throughout the series including : Julian Lennon, INXS, Kylie Minogue, Jason Donovan and Sigrid Thornton. Con the Fruiterer, played by Mark Mitchell on one episode even met the then Prime Minister Bob Hawke, on the show.
- The series won itself quite a large number of awards, however of most note is the two consecutive Logie Awards (1989–1990) it received for Most Popular Light Entertainment/Comedy Program.
- Cast member Mary-Anne Fahey also won a Logie Award for Most Popular Light Entertainment/Comedy Personality for her appearance on The Comedy Company in 1989.
- The Comedy Company, was voted (10) tenth in the Network Ten 50th Anniversary in 2014.
- Mark Mitchell as Con the Fruiterer, Marika, Glenn Gelding
- Mary-Anne Fahey as Kylie Mole, Jophesine, Sharon Maclaren
- Ian McFadyen as David Rabbitborough
- Glenn Robbins as Uncle Arthur/Gary Dare, Darren Maclaren
- Kym Gyngell as Col'n Carpenter
- Russell Gilbert as Russ the Postie
- Tim Smith, various characters
- Doug MacLeod – Head Writer
- Rob Caldwell
- Mary-Anne Fahey
- Russell Gilbert
- Chris Keogh
- Kym Gyngell
- Galia Hardy
- Peter (Jack) Herbert
- Gerard Matte
- Andrew Maj
- Ian McFadyen
- Rob Menzies
- Mark Mitchell
- Mick Molloy
- Brad Oakes
- Glenn Robbins
- Peter Rowsthorn
- Jason Stephens
- Jason Van Der Velde (aka Trevor Marmalade)
|Country of origin||Australia|
|No. of episodes||58|
|Running time||25 Mins|
|Original network||Network Ten|
|Original release||1990 – 1991|
Col'n Carpenter is a 1990 Australian sitcom spinoff, starring Kym Gyngell, reprising his character from The Comedy Company, it ran for two series, co-starring Stig Wemyss and featured singer Kaarin Fairfax
A DVD box set has been released including four DVDs with select clips from the series, the four DVDs are;
- The Best of the Comedy Company Volume 1
- The Best of the Comedy Company Volume 2
- The Best of Con the Fruiterer
- The Best of Col'n Carpenter
- "Meanings and origins of Australian words and idioms". Australian National Dictionary Centre. Retrieved 1 May 2012.
- Albert Moran, Moran's Guide to Australian TV Series, AFTRS 1993 p 122