There's been a small revival of comedy in the later half of the noughties, which looks set to continue into 2009. And while most of it's been as appealing as those fake pubes Rebel Wilson sported in Bogan Pride, there have been some shows worth watching. And with that in mind, we'd like to salute the shows which defied the odds and made as laugh in 2008.

   Best New Comedy
Very Small Business - 77.78%

Review with Myles Barlow - 14.81%
The Race Race - 7.41%

Voter comments

Any show where the climax of the season involves Wayne Hope taking a dump and Kym Gyngell getting a blowjob has to be doing something right.
- mixmaster flibble

Simply brilliant.
- Tim Lambert

Worth it for the Don's Dirty Dog Wash advert alone. This could so easily have lapsed into sub-Office awkward pause territory, but - thanks to the excellent Wayne Hope and Kim Gyngell - managed to be refreshingly inventive and playful instead. They also managed that rare feat of creating scenes of pathos which didn't arrive with a "Ta-da, here's our moving bit" crunching gear change. That's one big duck egg coming out their arse...
- Emergency Lalla Ward 10

Last year's series The Librarians, by husband and wife duo Wayne Hope and Robyn Butler, caused some debate amongst Tumblies voters. Some felt that this show was a good direction for Australian comedy to head. Others saw it more as an uneasy mish-mash of subtlty and stereotypes, and drama and comedy.

But when Hope and Butler returned this year with Very Small Business praise was almost universal. There was something curiously appealing about the overstretched head of the Worldwide Business Group, Don Angel (Hope). Sure he was an insensitive, ignorant idiot, a self-pitying Howard battler, and the sort of insane capitalist that if given far more money and power could have been single-handedly responsible for the Credit Crunch, but as an anti-hero he was hilarious.

Kym Gyngell played Ray Leonard Leonard, a former political journalist at The Australian, for whom working for Don was part of his post-breakdown recovery. His understated distaste for pretty much everything that happened at work, made him an odd, and hard to understand ally of Don, yet thanks to Gyngell's perfectly pitched performance you knew exactly what was on Ray's mind.

The show itself took plenty of pot shots at such topics as contemporary Australian identity, the ethos of the Howard era, Australian blokeyness, and the free market, but in an appealingly subtle way. And there were plenty of other laughs to be had too, particularly from the Don's Dirty Dog Wash ad or the articles Ray wrote for Don's specialist magazines.

What was perhaps most astounding about the show is that a lot of the time it was just two people in a large empty space talking. But with such a strong character-led script and some brilliant performances, the show delivered the comedy goods anyway.

Comedy newcomers Trent O'Donnell and Phil Lloyd brought Review with Myles Barlow to ABC2. Lloyd, in the title role, played a critic who reviewed aspects of real life, such as committing murder or enduring stress. While the format was ultimately quite limiting, and it's hard to imagine O'Donnell and Lloyd having enough material to make a decent second series, the show displayed a great deal of promise, and was largely funny and intelligent. We hope to see more from them in the future.

The Race Race, eight shows airing on Triple J in the lead-up to the US election, saw Chris Taylor and Craig Reucassel refreshed and invigorated after their break from The Chaser's War on Everything. The show was a mix of commentary, phone-calls, media montages and endlessly repeated inane clips (such as the Sarah Palin talking about the quote of the day on her Starbucks mocha cup). It suggested that with a lot of preparation and a limited number of episodes The Chaser can actually be funny and satirical, just like they were in CNNNN.

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