Q&A: Wrong & Wronger – comedy kings Merrick & Rosso

Merrick & Rosso return to the place where it all began for them, The Comedy Channel, with The Merrick & Rosso Show.

You did Planet Merrick And Rosso with the Comedy Channel back in 1997. Does your new show feel like a home coming?

M: In some ways it does, because the first television we ever did together was on The Comedy Channel. And I’ve still got a coffee cup that they paid me with for my first week – because they didn’t have money in those days they used to pay you in merchandise.

What have you got planned for the new show?

M: It’s in our nature with the type of work we do to be a little bit cheeky and prankstery, so that will be an element of it. But we’re also looking forward to having a studio with a live audience in it, because obviously we really enjoy an audience.

How is it different, having a live audience?

R: The audience just tend to give you permission to shine.

M: Like that song.

R: Yeah, Permission To Shine. They give you the impetus to take things to different places, and the encouragement to push things further, and we’ve always responded very well to that. But it is truly the first time that you’ll get a sense of the energy of our live show. We haven’t been able to capture that before in a TV show, so hopefully this time we really will.

You’re going to have celebrity guests on the show. Who have you got lined up so far?

R: Well, no one yet. Lots of people have said yes, but until we actually see them in the studio I won’t believe it.

M: Yeah, like George Clooney, he’s going to get back to me apparently.

R: There are a few people we’ve talked to who’ve said they’d like to come on, people like Hugh Jackman and Keith Urban, and we hope that their schedules mean that they can.

So what kind of things are you going to get these guests to do?

R: It depends on who they are, or what they do. If they happen to be really good at riding horses or something we might go horse riding with them.

M: Or not – actually that’s probably more likely if they don’t like going horse riding.

R: Imagine if we had Cameron Diaz in town and we’d go, ‘OK Cameron, we’re going off and you’re going to learn how to shoot a bazooka. And if you manage to blow up that tree 50 metres away, we’ll give a thousand dollars to a small family in Ethiopia… ‘There’s a lot of pressure on her for that, but ultimately a tree dies and a family lives.

You’ve been together for a long time, does it feel a bit like a marriage?

M: Yeah, it does.

R: Yeah, since we stopped having sex it feels exactly like a marriage.

So the honeymoon phase is over?

M&R: Yep.

M: Well, now it’s probably less like a marriage because there’s this extended thing that we call wives.

Do you ever talk about breaking up?

M: We do, but just not with each other.

This interview first appeared in AUSTAR magazine, July 2008



Project Runway Australia host Kristy Hinze settles in for a stitch and bitch

Fabulous frocks are whipped up at a moment’s notice using the sparest of materials, and creative tensions erupt under the tighest of budgets. Welcome to the sartorial splendour of Project Runway, where aspiring designers are “either in or out”, and solid television gold is made.

Now, at last, the popular US program gets its eagerly anticipated Australian twist as Project Runway launches a home-grown version. Based in Australia’s style-central, Melbourne, no one is more excited about the launch of the show than the newly anointed host, Aussie model Kristy Hinze.

“You get hooked on watching it,” says Hinze, who’s a huge fan of the top-rating program hosted by German supermodel Heidi Klum on ARENA TV. “It’s hard to believe that someone can make a dress out of a bunch of leaves and flowers, and get it on to a catwalk and it actually looks fantastic – it’s just amazing!”

Hinze is thrilled that this opportunity has landed in her lap. “It’s such an honour to be able to do this show… I hope people get addicted to it the way I am to the American one,” she says.

Boasting a talented bunch of 12 “cute and quirky” designers and fashionistas with a variety of experience and areas of expertise, they’ll be put through their paces by an esteemed judging panel of industry insiders, including the hot and oh so ‘hip’ Australian darling of design Jayson Brunsdon.

“He’s just an incredible Australian designer who is really forging his way overseas in New York, London and Singapore,” she says. “He is doing extremely well, and he’s one of our biggest talents, so we’re really excited to have him on board.”

Also climbing aboard the Project Runway express is New-York based bridal designer Henry Roth, who has big shoes to fill with the mentor role that’s been performed so memorably by style guru Tim Gunn in the American series. Gunn’s ‘make it work’ motto has become a mantra for the US contestants and fans of the show.

The judging panel will be rounded out by the no-nonsense nous of fashion forecaster Sarah Gale, who’s worked as a buyer for some of Australia’s biggest retail chains. “I think she’s going to bring a really great element of more commercial design – things that will sell – and she really knows what she’s talking about,” says Hinze.

Though Hinze is tight-lipped about the exact design challenges the group will face, she hints that they “will reflect the Australian lifestyle and the Australian people… There’s going to be a lot of stuff that is really going to push them creatively and like the American show, we’re going to give them very little time to do it and very little resources.”

But the prizes on offer are sure to inspire and make any would-be designer drool. “They get a 2008 Fiat 500, a six-page fashion spread in Madison magazine and the opportunity to design and showcase their own collection to the value of $100,000 at the L’Oréal Melbourne Fashion Festival in 2009. So they are all pretty excited about that.”

Of course, it wouldn’t be Project Runway without special guests and fashion icons dropping by. “We’re going to keep it as a little bit of a surprise, but we will have some fabulous guests on, ranging from really big designers to celebrities.”

Meanwhile the six guys and girls who will fight it out for couture supremacy are getting used to their new über-cool address. “They are living at a fabulous apartment complex in the new Docklands area [in Melbourne]… They aren’t doing it too hard at the moment,” laughs Hinze.

But once the show gains momentum the claws are sure to come out. “They are all high-fiving each other and are really friendly now, but when it starts getting down to people leaving the show, and they start realising that this is a competition, I think we’ll start to see a lot of their personalities clash. I hope they are getting their sleep before it really kicks in because they are going to need it. They are going to be put through the ringer over the next twelve weeks.”

This article first appeared in AUSTAR magazine, July 2008