The stars of Foxtel's new comedy sketch TV show Open Slather, from left, Glenn Robbins, Magda Szubanski, Michael Veitch, Gina Riley and Shane Jacobson.
The stars of Foxtel's new comedy sketch TV show Open Slather, from left, Glenn Robbins, Magda Szubanski, Michael Veitch, Gina Riley and Shane Jacobson. Gina Milicia

Australia’s comedy all-stars lead a sketch show revival

CHANCES are, at primary school we all had a Shane Jacobson, Magda Szubanski or Stephen Curry at the back of our classroom.

The former class clowns are now relishing an Aussie sketch comedy resurgence with their brand new show Open Slather - which was the biggest series launch in Foxtel history.

For one of the stars Shane Jacobson, the return of a Full Frontal and Fast Forward-esque show to Aussie TV screens is a nostalgic and exciting thing.

"I couldn't be more thrilled. Australian comedy hasn't had a gallery to hang its art in for a while," Jacobson tells The Guide.

"Fast Forward and shows like that were so incredibly popular. Every time you turned on the telly you knew you'd get a barrel of laughs because it was sketch after sketch after sketch and so brilliant every time."

Looking back on the classic Australian comedy scene, it's a pretty impressive line-up - and one Jacobson says he's lucky to now join.

Gina Riley, left, in a scene from the sketch 'Rack' in Open Slather.
Gina Riley, left, in a scene from the sketch 'Rack' in Open Slather. Kelly Gardner

"As a kid, I loved watching anything Comedy Company … Paul Hogan, without a doubt, was a huge part of my childhood," Jacobson says.

"I'm a huge fan of Graham Kennedy, the Tonight Show and when he was doing the news … Fast Forward and Full Frontal with Eric Bana and Shaun Micallef.

"It's now amazing to see some of the younger generation of comedians coming on to the scene like the ones I'm lucky to work with on Open Slather."

The 20-episode series is a no-holds-barred send-up of Australian culture, identities, celebrities and politicians.

Its first episode featured hilarious send-ups of Downton Abbey, and a clever segment of 60 Minutes exposing boatloads of overseas celebrities turning up on our shores to steal our home-grown stars' jobs.

The show's premiere was the biggest series launch in Foxtel history. The standout performers in its premiere episode were Gina Riley - who nailed 60 Minutes journo Liz Hayes - and Szubanski, whose Gina 'Minehart' may just be the spoof character of the decade.

For Jacobson, starring in the series is really like going back to school and hanging with his mates.

Stephen Curry and Shane Jacobson in a scene from Open Slather.
Stephen Curry and Shane Jacobson in a scene from Open Slather. Kelly Gardner

"A lot of my stuff is with Stephen Curry; we get to write together a lot and we are great mates so that's awesome," he says.

"I already know Mags (Szubanski); we worked together on Guys and Dolls doing 250 shows or something like that. I adore her.

"They're all amazing. We're all comedians and entertainers; having Glenn Robbins on the show is also fantastic because I grew up watching him on TV too."

As for some of his favourite sketches to date, Jacobson cites himself and Curry playing priests who try to make sense of Bible stories (pictured).

"We're men of the cloth, and that makes sense. I mean people see me and they think 'religion'," he chuckles.

"What could possibly go wrong there, with me and Stephen Curry as two priests?

"You know at school when you're told to stop carrying on? Well this show is the opposite. It's all the fun things you couldn't do as a kid and I love it."

Open Slather airs tonight at 7.30pm on Foxtel's Comedy Channel.



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