Home Television Comedy Big Gig, The

Big Gig, The

1 9 8 9 – 1 9 9 2 (Australia)
66 x 60 minute episodes

In the late 80s, Australian comedian Wendy Harmer (pictured) brought back from England an idea for a television show which would be a mixture of comedy and bands – like the British show Friday Live – albeit with a uniquely Australian flavour.


Produced in Melbourne, the show went live to air and featured a mix of sketches, stand-up comedy, characters, bands and news updates, with minimal set changes.

With a live audience, a multi-camera studio setup that flew from one act to another, sets from zydeco bands and a stage design heaving with exploding puppets of large birds, the aesthetic was that of a wild party every younger viewer longed to join.

The mixture of guests and regulars, recorded and live slots, ensured that the pace never slackened, even as standups such as Glynn Nicholas, Denise Scott and Anthony Aykroyd, character comedians like Flacco (Paul Livingston), Jean Kittson and Phil Scott, and troupes such as the bogan-satirising Empty Pockets and art-student-musical-comedy-anarchists the Doug Anthony Allstars turned experimental acts into permanent fixtures.

The house band were The Swinging Sidewalks. Glynn Nicholas became the host when Harmer left to host her own talk show.

Wendy Harmer
Doug Anthony Allstars
Glynn Nicholas
Jean Kittson
The Empty Pockets
The Swinging Sidewalks