The Comedy Company
The Comedy Company
The Comedy Company logo
Genre Sketch comedy Created by Ian McFadyen Written by Rob Caldwell
Directed by Jo Lane
Starring Mark Mitchell
Country of origin Australia Language(s) English Production Location(s) Melbourne, Victoria, Australia Production company(s) Media Arts Broadcast Original channel Network Ten Original run 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, Victoria. The show had a significant effect on Australian culture, particularly on Australian youth. The Australian adoption of the word "Bogan" was first used in its existing context by the famous The Comedy Company character, Kylie Mole.
This show 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 and Moon and Vizard went to the Seven Network series Fast Forward.
The Comedy Company premiered many famous characters such as Kylie Mole, Con The Fruiterer, Col'n Carpenter and Uncle Arthur. Some of these characters still remain minor Australian icons. Con the Fruiterer appears even to this day on a variety of shows, as does his wife Marika. 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.
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.
Kylie Mole had a top 10 hit with So Excellent in 1988. The 'B' side of the single was the song 'I Go, I Go.' Kylie also interviewed many famous people including Julian Lennon, Sylvester Stallone, INXS and Kylie Minogue on the show. Minogue also appeared in some sketches on the show playing Kylie Mole's second best friend, Rebecca.
- 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.
- Mary-Anne Fahey also won a Logie Award for Most Popular Light Entertainment/Comedy Personality for her appearance on The Comedy Company in 1989.
- 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
- Doug MacLeod - Head Writer
- Rob Caldwell
- Mary-Anne Fahey
- Russell Gilbert
- Tracy Harvey
- 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)
- 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
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