Australian sketch comedy, satire & panel tv shows

by dfle3 | created - 05 Feb 2014 | updated - 6 months ago | Public

Titles in alphabetical order. Emphasis on the comedy aspect of the show, so some good shows in the Variety genre aren't being considered here [edit: they are now, as our 'chat' shows...maybe I'll have to create a variety show List for Australia some time but until then, those programmes will be here.]

[Originally submitted as a Poll but withdrawn as it seems to me only Polls with "The dark knight" as a voting option get approved to go live, unfortunately.]

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1. Adam Hills in Gordon St Tonight (2011–2013)


dam Hills returns to Gordon Street in a unique take on the traditional tonight show - with monologue, interviews and top musical acts, plus spontaneous and unpredictable interactions with the studio audience.

Stars: Adam Hills, Hannah Gadsby, Dave O'Neil, Ross Noble

Votes: 86

Was looking for "Adam Hills in Gordon Street tonight"...but this came up instead...which was what the show changed its name to. Not a big fan of this show.

4. Beached Az (2009–2010)

2 min | Animation, Comedy

A whale wakes up stranded on a New Zealand beach... and so starts the adventures of Beached Az, the story of a helplessly beached whale and a host of local New Zealand wildlife that cross his path with good intent but no resolve.

Stars: Nicholas Boshier, Jarod Green, Anthony MacFarlane, Matt Butcher

Votes: 33

Didn't mind this short cartoon series...this might be the best list to put it in. Wikipedia says that this ran for two series and there were 21 episodes in total, with a running time between 1 and 2 minutes per episode.

Related titles (the makers started out on You Tube so it looks like some of their titles don't come up on this site):

Beached whale (You Tube series, I believe, as is the next) Bondi hipsters Soul mates (coming to ABC TV some time soon, I believe. Features characters or character types from the previous title, above.)

5. Bentley's Bandbox (1960– )

30 min | Comedy, Music

A variety series starring comedian Dick Bentley, singers and the ABC Dance Band.

Stars: Dick Bentley, John Bluthal, Diana Davidson, Hazel Phillips

Suggested by user JeiceWarrior. No info from Wikipedia on this. The user states:

"A variety show. I recently came across a review that suggested that comedy was a major part of the series, with Dick Bentley opening the episodes by telling a series of jokes. The article also mentions that the series had no studio-audience/laugh-track, unusual since old variety shows tended to have a studio audience".

7. Black Comedy (2014–2020)


A sketch comedy show featuring Indigenous Australian writers and performers.

Stars: Aaron Fa'aoso, Nakkiah Lui, Elizabeth Wymarra, Bjorn Stewart

Votes: 177

Sketch comedy featuring Aboriginal Australians on the ABC.

I remember liking this show the best of all of the Andrew Denton's programmes. Reading the Wikipedia entry for it, it states that Roy & HG got their start in tv on this show...that comedy duo make this list numerous times as well.

Memory foggy, but sort of variety show territory with humourous pieces. Reminded of this show recently by a clip on tv...segment where a prostitute, I think, demonstrates how to apply a condom to an erect penis with one's shown using a cucumber...or something.

Including their work on channel Nine's "A current affair" favourite era for their work. They are currently on ABC TV at 6:55 pm on Thursdays and have been for a few years now, I think.

10. Club Buggery (1995–1997)


Roy and HG hosted a relaxed chat show in the confines of the Sydney RSL club, Club Buggary, complete with glittering Pokies in the background. Easy flowing chat on the subjects of sport, ... See full summary »

Stars: Greig Pickhaver, John Doyle, Ian Turpie, Dave Graney

Votes: 22

With "Rampaging" Roy Slaven and H.G. Nelson!

11. CNNNN: Chaser Non-Stop News Network (2002–2003)

30 min | Comedy, News

An Australian comedy program that satirises the news of the day, and how it is presented.

Stars: Craig Reucassel, Chris Taylor, Julian Morrow, Dominic Knight

Votes: 342

An Andrew Denton "Tonight" type show on commercial tv. I do remember finding that Tasmanian (?) comedian very funny...forget his name, but he was a regular on the show [edit in: remembered his's Anthony Morgan...although I also seem to recall a similarly named Australian stand-up comedian...Tony Morgan?]. Wikipedia mentions Amanda Keller being on the show too, and she was always good fun too, from memory.

13. Fast Forward (1989–1992)

46 min | Comedy

Withdrawing the bill moments before a planned vote signals a major setback for the President.

Stars: Michael Veitch, Marg Downey, Geoff Brooks, Steve Blackburn

Votes: 270

14. Full Frontal (1993–1997)

Comedy, Fantasy, Sci-Fi

The series began screening shortly after the similar sketch comedy program Fast Forward (from which Full Frontal derived) ended. Full Frontal retained the same general format of Fast ... See full summary »

Stars: Glenn Butcher, Ross Williams, Kim Gyngell, John Walker

Votes: 332

15. Gaslight Music Hall (1959–1960)

30 min | Comedy, Music

A live variety show spoofing Victorian music hall.

Stars: John Bluthal, Michael Cole, Henry Gilbert, June Salter

Suggested by JeiceWarrior who states:

"It was a variety series which spoofed Victorian music hall (vaudeville). I don't know if it was a recurring segment, but the first episode featured a comedy sketch spoofing the melodramas of the Victorian era. It originally aired on ABC, but later moved to TCN. Both versions were produced in Sydney. The ABC version was kinescoped for interstate broadcast, but I don't know if the TCN version was shown interstate (there was no Nine Network in those days, and TCN was affiliated with HSV-7 in Melbourne and a station in Brisbane whose name escapes me....)".

16. Good News Week (1996–2012)

Comedy, Game-Show

It's a quizze about the week and stuff

Stars: Paul McDermott, Mikey Robins, Claire Hooper, Tom Gleeson

Votes: 328

You can also vote for the Network Ten version of this show, after the show moved away from the ABC.

17. Graham Kennedy's News Show (1988–1989)


An innovative late night news programme from Australia's Nine Network, combining serious news with comedy and biting satire.

Stars: Graham Kennedy, Jim Murphy, Ken Sutcliffe, John Mangos

Votes: 5

Good to see an entry for this show although there is none for the superior "Newsworld" which started this trend of mixing an actual news show with amusing presenters. "Newsworld" was hosted by the cynical grump Clive Robertson and Graham Kennedy was brought in to take an equivalent approach to this new genre.

18. Here's Dawn (1964–1965)

30 min | Comedy

A variety series, with emphasis on comedy.

Star: Dawn Lake

Suggested by JeiceWarrior.

Wikipedia states:

"Here's Dawn is an Australian television series which aired 1964 to 1965 on the Nine Network. A half-hour variety series with emphasis on comedy sketches, it was produced in Sydney and starred Dawn Lake. While popular with viewers, it was not well-received by critics. Nevertheless, along with The Mavis Bramston Show and Barley Charlie, it represented an increasing interest by Australian TV stations towards locally produced comedy progamming, which had previously been largely neglected".

19. In Melbourne Tonight (1957–1970)

Comedy, Music, Talk-Show

An iconic, popular, and long-running variety series.

Stars: Graham Kennedy, Bert Newton, The Unisounds, Michael Preston

Votes: 18

With Graham Kennedy.

20. It Pays to Be Funny (1957–1958)

30 min | Comedy, Game-Show

Contestants were put through amusing situations in order to win prizes.

Stars: Bob Dyer, Jack Davey

Suggested by JeiceWarrior. Wikipedia states:

"It Pays to Be Funny was an Australian television comedy game show. In Sydney it aired on station ATN-7, while in Melbourne it aired on GTV-9 (at the time, the two stations were known for sharing some programs, as this was prior to the formation of the Seven Network and Nine Network). The half-hour show was hosted Bob Dyer, who had previously hosted a version for radio on the Macquarie Radio Network. A description in a 1957 edition of The Age newspaper said the television series "puts contestants though amusing situations with worth-while prizes as their reward", According to a different edition of The Age, one of these "situations" was having the contestant attempt to milk a cow"


"the series may be lost. However, it is known that transcription copies exist of the radio version at the National Film and Sound Archive".

21. John Safran vs. God (2004)

25 min | Comedy

In his most ludicrously ambitious project yet, world-famous media hooligan John Safran scours the world in search of God... AND FINDS HIM.... Or, at least, a lot of folk who believe they have.

Stars: John Safran, Gavin Wood, Jonathan auf der Heide, Bob Larson

Votes: 375

Remember liking this show, but I think some segments were too extreme, from memory...if this the one where Safran visits a place where voodoo is practices and a chicken is sacrificed. This might also be the series where Safran is famously 'exorcised' by an American preacher of some kind or other...Safran is of Jewish background. There was debate over whether Safran was genuinely affected by that experience or was hamming it up...hmm...Jews and ham...

If this is the series with his fake promo for a Mormon Hollywood movie as well as where he discusses the Mormon's magic underpants then...this is great television!

22. Kinne (2014– )


A sketch comedy series from the Australian comedian Troy Kinne.

Stars: Troy Kinne, Nick Cody, Des Dowling, Chris Fortuna

Votes: 67

I caught the tail end of this show on a regular recording of "Family guy" last week (show screened on 15/07/2014). Some of the sketches/pranks were pretty funny. I saw the ep with the sketch featuring a couple in a cafe discussing their greatest fears. They ask a man walking by what his greatest fear is...and he gives a wonderfully laconic (and vulgar!) reply...perhaps bringing a touch of reality to proceedings!

It's a pity my PVR is nearly 2/3 full...this looks a promising show and a return to form for the genre here...if I wasn't feeling so swamped with shows to catch up on on my PVR I'd make a point of watching this.

23. Legally Brown (2013– )


Comedian Nazeem Hussain is host and star of Legally Brown, where he performs his unique brand of stand up to frame a series of socially relevant character and hidden camera stunts, as well ... See full synopsis »

Stars: Nazeem Hussain, Ronny Chieng, Anthony Salame, Alice Ansara

Votes: 58

I did watch this series from the start but after a while I just lost interest and bailed on it. Perhaps I found the barbs a bit of a stretch, but some were basically involves stand-up comedian Nazeem Hussain interacting with 'average' Australians in set-ups ostensibly to find Australians racist...although I do remember one stunt where Nazeem 'fined' Japanese tourists for being "stereotypes" for taking photographs. The "fine" aspect is an element of some of The Chaser's work. From memory, I just found the focus on the 'political' nature of the comedy detracted from the comedy nature of the comedy.

Featuring 'Elle McFeast', an alumni of Andrew Denton's programmes, I believe. She's also done one off programmes on various topics, I think...breasts for one. She also humanised Peter Reith...bitch...

25. Look and Laugh (1958–1959)

60 min | Comedy, Music

A weekly variety series, with emphasis on comedy.

Star: Ray McGeary

Suggested by JeiceWarrior.

Wikipedia states:

"Look and Laugh is an Australian television series which aired from 1958 to 1959 on ATN-7 [i.e. Sydney station]. The series was a variety series, with emphasis on comedy. The weekly series aired in a 60-minute time-slot (running time excluding commercials is unknown), in black-and-white".

Micallef's foray into actual chat show territory (not the fake stuff on the non-commercial ABC TV), with a comedic bent. It was on commercial tv. Got axed. I was a fan...pity it didn't continue, could have been something great.

27. Music Jamboree (2002)

25 min | Comedy, Documentary, Music

John Safran explores the music industry with this hilarious and informative show.

Stars: John Safran, Ant Keogh, Rob Hibbert, Gavin Wood

Votes: 130

Another John Safran effort. From memory, I really enjoyed this. Do remember taking pity on Safran as he traversed a platform at Flinders Street train station, I think it was, doing an Ozzy Osbourne impression or something. Guessing that most people waiting for a train had no idea who he was and probably felt embarrassed for him, as I did.

28. Newstopia (2007–2008)

30 min | Comedy, News

A satirical news program, presented by comedian Shaun Micallef.

Stars: Shaun Micallef, Ben Anderson, Nicholas Bell, Julie Eckersley

Votes: 174

With the iminitable Shaun Micallef.

29. On Camera (1959–1960)

60 min | Comedy, Music

A live variety series.

Stars: Colin Croft, John Ewart

No info by Wikipedia on this. Suggested by JeiceWarrior who states:

"A variety series, featured some comedy".

30. Problems (2012)

26 min | Comedy

The hilariously mundane day to day life of Sam Simmons and the characters that surround him.....including the moths in his couch.

Stars: Sam Simmons, Anthony Morgan, Lawrence Mooney, Claudia O'Doherty

Votes: 215

With Sam Simmons.

I watched a bit of the first episode...maybe about 10 minutes of it. Did have a few laughs but wasn't willing to stick with it. Same thing happened watching technicoloured yawn of Noel Fielding's Luxury Comedy...which I watched even less of and got no laughs out of.

31. Review with Myles Barlow (2008–2010)

TV-MA | 30 min | Comedy

Myles Barlow is a critic who dares to review every aspect of life, from having an idiot for a friend to armed robbery - don't do it till Myles reviews it! Every week Myles reviews different... See full summary »

Stars: Phil Lloyd, Mandy Bishop, Ivy Nehl, Craig Anderson

Votes: 373

Wikipedia mentions this being a segment of "Fast forward" but no mention of a separate show by this name...although the ABC's version of this show is mentioned. Either way. This was like the Australian equivalent of Britain's "Spitting image".

33. Ruth Cracknell (1960–1961)

5 min | Comedy

In this 5-minute comedy series, Ruth Cracknell gave comedic lectures on "gracious living".

Star: Ruth Cracknell

Suggested by JeiceWarrior who writes:

"Also something I haven't seen, Ruth Cracknell (1960) was a 5-minute ABC series which consisted of the actress of the same name giving "comedic lectures on gracious living", and included satire and wit. A search of newspaper TV listings suggests it aired on Saturdays in Sydney and aired on Mondays in Melbourne...not sure about other ABC stations. ABC's schedules varied considerably from city to city in those days, it wasn't until a few years later that ABC's Melbourne and Sydney stations were linked together via coaxial cable".

34. Shaun Micallef's Mad as Hell (2012–2020)

Comedy, News, Talk-Show

No-holds-barred news satire show presented by comedian Shaun Micallef that gleefully riffs on Aussie politics.

Stars: Shaun Micallef, Francis Greenslade, Emily Taheny, Tosh Greenslade

Votes: 522

35. Soul Mates (2014– )

TV-PG | Comedy, Fantasy

A bromance for the ages, Soul Mates is the story of two kindred spirits trapped in a cycle of death and rebirth. Across different lifetimes with no knowledge of their past lives, they are forever drawn together as mates.

Stars: Christiaan Van Vuuren, Nicholas Boshier, Rachel House, Connor Van Vuuren

Votes: 332

Sketch comedy. One of the guys was involved in "Beached az".

36. Talkin' 'Bout Your Generation (2009– )

Comedy, Game-Show

A game show where generation Baby Boomers, X and Y compete against each other to see who is the best. Each week the teams are headed by Amanda Keller, Charlie Pickering and Josh Thomas ... See full summary »

Stars: Shaun Micallef, Amanda Keller, Charlie Pickering, Josh Thomas

Votes: 394

Didn't watch this series for long...Shaun Micallef's foray onto commercial tv with a humourous music/pop culture game/quiz show. "Little Britain"'s Matt Lucas appeared on it because he was a fan of Micallef's other tv shows. Me too.

37. The Aunty Jack Show (1972–1973)


A large, violent, masculine, mustached, boxing glove-wearing, motorcycle riding woman and her troupe of other off-beat characters.

Stars: Grahame Bond, Rory O'Donoghue, Sandra McGregor, Garry McDonald

Votes: 60

38. Tuesday Night Live: The Big Gig (1990– )

60 min | Comedy

The series brought a number of new comedy acts to national prominence and made major stars of its host, Wendy Harmer, who later became a top-rating host on morning radio in Sydney, and the ... See full summary »

Stars: Glynn Nicholas, Ron Hitler Barassi, Eugene de la Hot-Croix Bun, Jock Cheese

Votes: 31

"The big gig" ABC TV.

39. The Chaser's War on Everything (2006–2009)

26 min | Comedy

The show features sketches mocking social and political issues, and often feature comedic publicity stunts.

Stars: Julian Morrow, Andrew Hansen, Chris Taylor, Chas Licciardello

Votes: 2,555

40. The Comedy Company (1988–1990)


A sketch comedy series set in suburban Australia, featuring one-off sketches and regular appearances by characters including schoolgirl Kylie Mole (Mary-Anne Fahey), greengrocer Con the ... See full summary »

Stars: Mark Mitchell, Mary-Anne Fahey, Ian McFadyen, Glenn Robbins

Votes: 122

Featured Kylie Mole, Col'n Carpenter and Con the fruiterer!

41. The Contact Show (1960– )

60 min | Comedy, Music

A weekly variety series, which aired live at 2:00PM. Featured a mix of music and comedy.

Stars: Bob Geraghty, George Wallace

Suggested by JeiceWarrior. Wikipedia states:

"The Contact Show is an Australian daytime television variety series which aired on TCN-9 during 1960. Featuring Bob Geraghty and George Wallace Jr, it featured a mix of comedy and music. The series proved short-lived. Aired at 2:00PM in a 60-minute time-slot, the series competed in its time-slot against Your Home and Menus for Moderns on ATN-7 and For Schools on ABN-2".

42. The D Generation (1986–1987)

30 min | Comedy

An Australian skit show based in the 80's

Stars: John Harrison, Magda Szubanski, Santo Cilauro, Michael Veitch

Votes: 70

I suppose you can also include their foray into commercial tv, with shows such as "The D-Generation goes commercial" etc. on channel Seven. Many of the stars of this series went onto form the backbone of shows like "Fast forward".

TC-9 (1965-1969)

Looking at the Wikipedia entry for this show it mentions that Don Lane was eventually found to replace the greak Irish comedian Dave Allen, who was sacked from a talk show here in Australia. Wayne Newton recommended Don Lane as the replacement.

Guessing that this is the most famous incarnation of "The lanky Yank"'s show! Wikipedia mentions this version as having Bert Newton as his sidekick.

Channel Nine (1975-1983)

Wikipedia cites some further programmes hosted by Don Lane but which aren't in IMDB's database, i.e. for Network Ten the programmes "Late night Australia"/"Late night Oz". It was up again the slew of news programmes with a humourous bent, started by the inimitable grump Clive Robertson's "Newsworld", which was on the Seven Network and the latter "Graham Kennedy's news show".

46. The Dream with Roy and H.G. (2004– )

60 min | Comedy, Sport

Roy and H.G. Nelson direct from the front deck of home base in Athens Central peer behind the facade of sport and probe the miracle that is Greece.

Stars: John Doyle, Greig Pickhaver

Votes: 37

Or any of their Olympic year parody commentary, be it for the summer or winter games. Battered sav!

47. The Election Chaser (2001)

120 min | Comedy