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