Guest post by Rohan Gardiner1
My name is Rohan Gardiner.
I work for Good News Week.
Day 1 – Pandas
My first day working for Good News Week was incidentally my Birthday.
It was one of those really average Sydney City days that was sunny, but not hot.
Through the miracle of a shower, breakfast and a bus ride, I was at FOX Studios.
At the gatehouse, I got to announce myself as “Rohan Gardiner – Good News Week.”
I was then led to Studio 53A. GNW.
Here, I met the head writer, Ian Simmons.
To perfectly capture Ian’s character, you need to imagine the most stereotypical comedy writer you can muster2. Bam, that’s him.
He then led me to what would be known as “the office”.
The office smelt of smoke and rubbing alcohol.
A poster-clad fibro and concrete room with a distinct ‘basement’ feel to it, hidden at the back of FOX.
Covering every horizontal surface were props from the show.
I was going to like it here.
The first newspaper story I got was about panda babies at Adelaide Zoo.
Now! To write the best comedy ever! And prove myself so that adolescent males everywhere will be looked upon a little better by the six forty-somethings3 that worked here.
Another intern, Liz, showed up shortly after I’d got the panda story.
She seemed nice.
An hour and two jokes later, my future in comedy writing was looking bleak.
I consoled Liz for ideas.
She suggested I write a line from the article and then write something in response to it.
With my two-hour deadline just 10 minutes away, I’d written roughly a page of jokes.
None of them very funny, but one might make it into the script.
Second story – Plants that produce petrol.
Five years of Primary school poo jokes immediately left my brain.
The next two hours passed slowly, with another page of average jokes appearing.
After that, we got the bus back to the hotel, and I concluded that maybe being funny for a living was simply boring.
Day 2 – Carbon
When I got to the office on the second of my five-day internship, I found a story about cyclists on my desk.
Apparently they’ve invented a bracket to hold a camera to your bike to film ignorant drivers. Not a camera, a bracket to hold one.
Ah well, some tight lycra jokes later I got a story on Gillard’s new Carbon Tax. (Oh boy!)
Plenty of jokes here about various apparel bursting into flames.
After three hours of staring blankly at five pages of news regarding our beloved PM, and another page of jokes, I was allowed to go.
Day 3 – Paul
By now, I’m starting to dislike it here, sitting in a chair at a computer, reading news, and writing bad comedy. It’s just an effort4.
I managed to sneak a solution to this, and that was Facebook.
Yes, I know what you’re all thinking…
“Dude, you’re working for GOOD NEWS WEEK, and you go on FACEBOOK?!”
Well, you come here and try it and not succumb to the temptation of a stable internet connection5.
Stories of the day: Robot fish and a Googleable story called ‘the pub-stare’.
Another page for each. You’ve got to give me points for consistency.
At midday, however, something amazing happened.
We were called to a conference room to read over the FIRST DRAFT of the script for the show.
And guess who was there? PAUL.
It was amazing to finally meet someone you’ve only seen in a pixel-box.
Even if “meeting someone” here means being introduced by first name and the phrase ‘he’s the intern’.
We read over the scripts, and it turns out I got a couple of jokes in.
I went home that night feeling like I’d achieved something.
Day 4 – Last-minute jokes
This was the last day I would be writing jokes.
Stories: Pedestrian version of road rage, and plants being used as bomb detectors.
This day was an attempt to get any more we could milk out of the week, and then slap it into the next draft.
At half-past midday, we met in the conference room again, read over the scripts, and went home.
Only two of my jokes made it through.
Day 5 – My contribution to popular culture
Got to FOX early today6.
‘CAUSE WE’RE FILMING, BAYBEE.
I waited in a room full of couches, and then got invited into the filming studio.
I got to be one of the guests on the show during the rehearsal, and it was so much fun!
The balloons came out.
I should probably explain this.
You see, since about age 5, I’ve been scared of balloons. (Har-har, get over it.)
So this new game on the show involved popping balloons with darts6.
And guess who was playing the game?
After a frightening twenty minutes, however, we sat back down and got on with the rehearsal.
By the end of the show, I got one joke into the final draft.
Admittedly, I was a little let down, but hey – one is better than nothing7.
At the end of recording, I returned to the room full of couches. Here, I met the guests and hosts, and got them all to sign a copy of the script!
Life goal complete.
That night, we left the studio, my week of excitement over.
Incidentally, the night we left was Mardi gras.
And to quote a line from the show: “so gay I cried sequins.”
I can’t remember who said that8, or for what reason, but it just seems applicable here.
That night back at the Hotel, I could still hear the music pumping. It was energizing.
Day 6 – Home
Today we drove home.
As we passed FOX for what I knew would be the last time for ages, if not ever, I couldn’t help but feel saddened. Sure, the writing was boring as hell9, but I was going to really miss it10.
Well there it is.
My contribution to popular culture.
1- Rohan won the internship as part of Words for the Future. He’s cool.
2- I’m interested to know what image this conjures. No really, I am. I can’t decide if I think its accurate or not.
3- Actual age of GNW employees not disclosed.
4- Alex maintains that sitting in the dark writing bad comedy is, in fact, THE GREATEST JOB IN THE WORLD.
5- But I’ll admit this bit is true.
6- For anyone who didn’t get that memo, GNW now films at Fox. I know? Exciting right?
6b- The ads on the channel Ten media player are the most annoying thing ever. Discuss.
7- Please note- one is actually pretty damn good.
8- It was Paul. For the record.
9- In a good way.
10- I really need to go and visit soon. I miss it too.