And that’s the good news

An interview with Ian Simmons

You’re asked to describe Good News World to someone who has never seen the show before. Using mime. You’re allowed to have three props. What would they be and why?
A newspaper, a giant fruit bat costume and nipple tassles. Watch the show. You’ll see.

Apart from the obvious (like a complete change of format, content and style) what are the main differences between Good News Week and Good News World?
“Good News World” has better hair. But it’s not that big a change. The format is different, though not completely.  The content & the style are the same. If “Good News Week” made you cough up your cocoa, chances are “Good News World” will do the same.    

How hard was it switching writing styles? From the fairly short and sharp one-liners of Good News Week to the slightly more abstract style of writing sketches?
After 15 years of working in Australia’s most prolific one-liner factory, writing sketches is great fun.  We get to write for more people, explore ideas that wouldn’t work in the “Good News Week” format, try all sorts of angles.  It’s a different discipline and we’ve all written some unfilmable scripts, but it’s exciting to be trying something new. Having said that, the one-liners haven’t gone completely. We like writing them too much.             
How difficult is it to decide which parts of the news have humorous potential and which parts are just…well news?
Most of the news has humorous potential, even death. Come on, a cockfight promoter killed by a rooster with a razor on its leg? Brilliant. As long as humans make the news, we shall be laughed at.

Any cryptic and unhelpful teasers about what we can expect?
Explosions, dancing boys, novelty ears, Lego asylum-seekers & hot Canberra nights.  And Randy.

What’s the most bizarre thing you’ve done in your career in TV?
When I worked as an assistant director on “A Country Practice”, I had to get a tetanus shot after being bitten by Fatso the wombat. 

We also did an episode where a camel was shot by a tranquiliser dart.  Strangely, the sound department didn’t have that particular effect in their library, so I went into a booth & made “camel being hit by tranquiliser dart” sounds.  Sadly, while my work was used, I was not credited.      

Do you have any random anecdotes? Bonus points if it features a couch.
When Kevin Rudd was still Prime Minister, he was a guest on “Good News Week”.  I was keen for him to do our couch segment, but apparently Kevin’s office didn’t think footage of the PM appearing to receive psychotherapy from Paul McDermott was the right look.  I’d still like to get Ruddy on the couch one day.  In the nicest possible way, of course.     

Newspapers- discuss.

Reading too many will melt your brain.  Reading none will keep you stupid.  And while I love an iPad as much as the next wanker in the Apple Store queue at 3am, I hope newspapers never disappear.

Muppet- Fozzie Bear, one of my earliest comedy influences.  
Colour- Peter O’Toole’s eyes, “Lawrence Of Arabia”
Sound- The Flower Duet, “Lakmé”
Letter of the alphabet- Ω
Accent- Sophia Vergara, “Modern Family”
Biscuit- All of them
Number between 7 and 45 26: perfectly in the middle.  It suits my OCD sense of symmetry.   

Good News World starts this Monday 9:30pm on Channel Ten.

Further reading

December – home

I spent the first minutes of 2018 on the beach. I’ve never actually spent New Year