HOLMES IS STANDING NEXT TO A FILLED-IN GRAVE. HE'S HOLDING A SHOVEL. STICKING OUT OF THE GRAVE WE SEE A CHUBBY SET OF FINGERS FEEBLY GRASPING AT THE AIR.
Well, that's the last shovel of dirt tipped on the grave of Australian comedy 2008. Don't worry folks - we'll make sure it's firmly tamped down before we leave. Don't want any episodes of Bogan Pride crawling out after dark.
HE GIVES THE GRAVE A GENTLE PAT WITH THE SHOVEL.
But what of the future of the comedy industry we keep coming back to no matter how badly it abuses us? Well, Micallef's been signed by Ten to host a generation-based gameshow, so we'll be seeing more of him in 2009. Though how his polite, intelligent comedy persona will fare up against average Australians doesn't bare too much thinking about.
Thank God You're Here has moved to Seven in yet another example of the nation's leading network buying up other network's comedy dregs for one last squeeze. How the show will cope without access to Ten's relatively rich stable of comedy performers - and you'd better believe Ten won't be letting any of the Rove stable or the newly-signed Micallef on - depends on how much stomach you have for Andrew O'Keefe and Kochie. But hey, Fifi Box is the new weather girl on Sunrise, so at least she'll be turning up. Every single week.
Micallef's signing isn't the only step Ten's taking to retain their comedy crown: there's also proven duds Tom Gleeson and Heath Franklin's This Week In Shorts
, combining sketches and panel discussion to create a complete waste of time and effort. Prove me wrong guys - prove me wrong.
Over at Nine, there's Wipeout Australia. I know what you're thinking: surely this local version of a forgettable US It's a Knockout knock-off can't be seriously classified as comedy? Not on any other network, no. But this is Nine: this is the closest to comedy they're going to get on purpose this year unless you count Matthew Newton playing "Mr. Asia" in Underbelly 2.
At least the ABC is offering shows that look like actual comedy: The Chaser will be back, and fingers crossed that having only a ten-episode commitment will give them the time and breathing space to come up with more than just more big prop pranks and lame public musical numbers. Gruen will also be back to once again to tell ABC viewers what everyone who's ever seen an actual commercial in the wild already knows, and John Safran makes his first proper solo series for Aunty on the hopefully hilarious subject of race. And let's not forget The Librarians 2: if Hope and Butler manage to build on the success of Very Small Business (and reportedly Butler will have a larger on-air role this series) this could be something really special.
There's also the ABC series that didn't get up in 2008. Lawrence Leung's Choose Your Own Adventure is supposedly still coming despite popular demand, and Sam Simmons short-form series continues to loom on the horizon without ever actually drawing near. Keep an eye on ABC2 for these ones... or not, it's up to you.
Will Chris Lilley return with a new series in 2009? Probably not, as it seems to take him at least a year to scratch his arse these days. But rest assured, the ABC publicity department will keep you fully informed on his every passing whim.
Pay TV promises another series of Chandon Pictures
, which promises to be much like the first series only... well, exactly like the first series. There's also Peter Moon's Curb Your Enthusiasm
knock-off lurching towards us, promising to provide plenty of opportunity for Moon to display all the comedy skills he did when he was giggling next to Steve Vizard or playing "The Guru".
But what of film? Well, both Rebel Wilson and Mick Molloy have been talking up their movie plans for 2009. Wilson wants to make an action musical called Slapper Warrior, in which she turns rating failure Bogan Pride into a movie by including a couple of fights. Presumably those fights will be filmed during the intervention staged by her friends as they try to convince her that she needs to LET THE SINGING THING GO.
Molloy, on the other hand, is talking up a movie based around Schoolies Week. Hasn't he seen the Aussie "classic" Blurred starring Neighbours actor Christian Schmidt? The thing to remember about movie projects is, anyone can do it. Sit at home one afternoon, watch Taxi Driver, write down everything that happens then change Travis Bickle into Dave O'Neill's security guard character. Hey presto: you've got a movie project on the go. If only a few more of out comedy talents would try it, we might get to see a decent comedy in 2009. Don't hold your breath...