Why aren’t there more young comedians on Australian TV?

“This generation of Australian comedians is absolutely 100 per cent the most diverse, most interesting, most entertaining and most hilarious generation of comedians to ever exist.”

“The level of competition has increased a lot since people like Hughesy and myself [Dave Hughes] started doing shows. And the level of talent that is available to [on-air] positions is just huge.”

Wil Anderson began hosting The Glass House on ABC when he was 27 years old.

Wil Anderson began hosting The Glass House on ABC when he was 27 years old.

TV executives may simply not be keeping up with this new wave of creatives, he says, but the problem is also structural.

“We are reaching the end of the old school free-to-air television model. And people who are running out of time with that old model don’t feel like it’s the room to take chances. [on new talent].

“You’ll find all these bright young artists behind the scenes, writing jokes or producing segments for people like me. But you don’t necessarily see them as much on screen.”


Tom Whitty, the creator of a new show coming as part of 10’s Pilot Showcase, is trying to change that.

“I come across a lot of new Australian comedy on Instagram and TikTok,” he says. “But it’s a real form of narrowcast because they don’t have that great opportunity to speak to a whole nation and get to know them.”

his series, Time to Die, sees two up-and-coming comedians who write deliberately bad jokes for each other and perform them live at comedy clubs. The pilot, airing on 10 Play beginning Monday, features younger comedians Sonia Di Iorio and Tom Cashman, and is hosted by comedians Gen Fricker and Ben Russell.

Although the show has yet to be commissioned for a full series, Whitty is thankful that a broadcaster like 10 is considering giving it a try: “The last time I saw stand-up regularly on TV was the Tom Ballard show. [Tonightly] in ABC. And that was a long time ago.”

the ABC’s decision not to renew tonight in 2018 it was a huge disappointment to many in the industry, and not just the many young writers and performers who worked on it.

Ben Russell and Gen Fricker present Time To Die, a new pilot that will air on 10 Play starting Monday.

Ben Russell and Gen Fricker present Time To Die, a new pilot that will air on 10 Play starting Monday.Credit:Red Ten/Supplied

Anderson, for example, says he’s still mad about it: “ABC and SBS should be where this new talent is. [is given time and space to] develop. The ABC should have a program for young people like tonight on every night.”

Tom Ballard, who hosted the show, tells Age Y Sydney’s morning herald he’s not looking for any sympathy and has received a lot of support from the public broadcaster over the years (“an exception that proves the rule”).

But, he says, “it’s fair to say that ABC hasn’t done anything since giving a platform to as many new, weird, radical voices as we could, and I think that’s a loss.”


“Honestly, it’s strange how little millennials and zoomers are seen and heard in mainstream media in this country; not just when it comes to comedy, but social commentary, hosting opportunities, everything. And that sucks a bit.

“At its worst, Australian television often feels suffocating. sure.”

Those interviewed for this story would like to see more stand-up comedy, more “radical and edgy,” more youth-driven shows (and with time to grow up), and more consistent investment from streaming services as well.

More than one person was shocked that new talent Aaron Chen doesn’t have his own show. And he’s not the only one being overlooked.

Other bright talents recommended for Australian screens include Scout Boxall, Matt Stewart, Suren Jayemanne, Zack Dyer, Jonathan Schuster, Nat Damena, Gabbi Bolt, Anna Piper Scott, Cam James, Alexei Toliopoulos, Bec Shaw, Greg Larsen, Bec Melrose, Nikki Britton. , Sam Campbell, Rosie Piper, Concetta Caristo and Damien Power.

If things don’t change, Rajan says Australia risks losing a generation of writers and performers. Some of our best young creatives are moving abroad, where their talent is in demand. And, increasingly, he says “it feels like a dumb decision [to stay].”

“I had this really weird moment where I was trying to get a meeting with a TV executive here and at the same time I was contacted by an international talent scout,” says Rajan.

“I know the industry is bigger [in other countries] … but how can the dissonance be so great? How can someone abroad know about my work, but I can’t get a meeting in my own hometown?

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