Let me just say straight off – I hate breakfast radio. For me, it’s laborious, strained and embarrassingly unfunny. It’s helmed by slow-witted types who talk incessantly loud and long about inane stuff. It’s puerile, and most of its content is adverts. So why I did what I did, confounds even me.
Back in 2002, one of our local radio stations – Triple M – started running a competition to find ‘Adelaide’s Funniest Female’ to fill the shoes of the token female who had recently departed the breakfast show. Every morning, a different woman took her place in the studio and she did her ‘funny’ thing. A winner would eventually be picked from the crop. I was volunteering at the station at the time and I thought, ‘I could do that’.
Weird, right, because of the above reasons. I think I was just keen to do something different
I put in my application and I think the only reason I got seen was because I was already in the building! I told the station manager some cruddy story about an umbrella and a day later, they called me and said I was picked to go on-air – in two days!
Naturally enough, the expectation was that I’d be funny and to prove just how hilarious I was, I had to tell a couple of funny stories. But when it came down to it, I quickly realised – I had no funny stories! This was not good. Talking about staggering from one disco (that’s 80s talk for ‘nightclub’) to another on a Saturday night in shoes that gave you ‘craws’, or making a story out of wishing you’d popped your shades in your handbag the night before because your booze-soaked, smoke-filled peepers couldn’t handle the light when you staggered out of a seedy dance club at 8am, is funny only to those who were there at the time.
I was stuffed. I had nothing. I asked around the family. They had a few stories, but nothing I could use. Then I remembered … a few years before, a friend of mine had been riding her pushbike home in the early hours of the morning. She was very drunk and she decided to leave the road and ride on the side-walk. She misjudged the driveway and crashed into the kerb instead. She flew off her bike (no helmet!), crash-landed and knocked herself out. She also gave herself a black eye. Her bike landed on top of her.
Ok, I could work with that.
Friday, 1st of February, 2002. I was as prepared as I could ever be. I had my ‘funny’ (ahem!) stories neatly typed up because I was so scared I’d forget how to speak. I’d had zero sleep because I was nervous and it was as hot as hell anyway. My brain was a pile of fuzz and as I left the house, a feeling of dread suddenly smothered me. Right then, I knew I shouldn’t be doing this, but it was too late to back out.
I arrived at the station at 5am ready to do my thing from 6 onwards. I walked into the studio and the ‘head’ breakfast guy was unfriendly and unwelcoming. Great. And he was a Reiki Master! Sometimes those types are the absolute rudest. I felt bad enough as it was, without him being so bloody hostile. He never said hello and spoke to me only when we were on-air. The other guy was ok, but he didn’t exactly help make the situation comfortable or fun either.
I sat as stiff as a board, we had some very stilted ‘banter’ because neither of them gave me anything good to bounce off, and eventually I got around to the bike story (which was my 2nd one for the morning, the cruddy umbrella story being the first.) I read it straight off my piece of paper and I sounded like a bad actor reading from a script – which is exactly what I was. For the purposes of being ‘hilarious’, I’d added a punch-line to the real story. I said that when I came to, I couldn’t move and my bum hurt. Why? Because the front tyre of the bike was neatly parked in between my butt cheeks. I was a human bike-rack!
The breakfast guys laughed because it was their job to, but I just groaned and died inside. The story was bad. The delivery even worse. I was grateful when 9 o’clock mercifully rolled around and I could escape. Neither of the guys said ‘thanks’, or ‘see ya’, or anything. I just picked up my papers and walked out. What a very strange experience.
It didn’t end there though. I had to go on-air for an hour at lunch-time. Triple M had set up in Rundle Mall and I sat there with the afternoon announcer and told some lame story about a fictitious housemate who mistakenly drank a spoon of Castrol oil instead of castor oil. The punch-line: He was easy to get started in the morning!! (Double groan.)
The afternoon announcer was lovely though. She was friendly and she’d tell you what she was going to ask so you had a chance to prepare a response. Pity the breakfast guys hadn’t been as generous and kind as she was.
Needless to say – I never got a call-back. Thank goodness. The girl who got the job was worked like a dog and eventually given the boot. No longevity in the industry for her.
That morning made me realise that most people (professional comedians excluded), are only funny within their own clique. Family and friends are used to each other and they share a similar sense of humour. They bounce off each other easily, the one-liners fly, and they feed off each other’s energy.
Now, if I could do a radio show with my family – the laughs would come thick and fast.
It’s true, I tells ya. We’re Adelaide’s funniest family!