Martin Clunes –Men Down Under Interview

Transcript- 6/3/2000 -Aussie Men Behaving Badly

KERRY O’BRIEN: It may be politically incorrect, but despite, or perhaps because of that, the British comedy series ‘Men Behaving Badly’ has been a huge success.Its stars are two beer-swilling mates with few redeeming features. So I’m not sure how we should react to the fact that the men behind those characters have come to Australia for a three-part documentary study of our own males.Tracy Bowden went along to find out what they’ve discovered.
TRACY BOWDEN: Neil Morrissey and Martin Clunes are on a quest. The stars of the British comedy series ‘Men Behaving Badly’ have turned to documentary making. They’re here to capture the essence of the Australian male. A documentary on Australian men. One has to ask why?
MARTIN CLUNES, ACTOR/FILM MAKER: Why? God, I’ve never been asked that before.
Uh, better make something up. Well, there’s a lot of ignorance in England about Australia, in general. The men thing is kind of an excuse to shoe-horn us into it.
NEIL MORRISSEY, ACTOR/FILM MAKER: Trying to break down stereotypes. You know, the sort of exported stereotype of the ocker with the corks around his hat who eats kangaroo for lunch. You know, we’re just sort of trying to demonstrate that there’s a bit more to Australia than that.
TRACY BOWDEN: And what better way to illustrate that than with Sydney’s Mardi Gras.
The British film crew has trailed their troop of divas all the way through from rehearsals.
NEIL MORRISSEY: That’s one of the biggest contradictions, isn’t it, with the big macho crocodile wrestling.
MARTIN CLUNES: Plus, it’s the second biggest gay community in the world after San Francisco.
TRACY BOWDEN: Does this fall into the category of ‘Men Behaving Badly’?
NEIL MORRISSEY: No, these are men behaving with extreme decorum.
TRACY BOWDEN: Some might argue that playing the politically incorrect Tony and Gary perfectly qualifies these lads for their job down-under.
EXCERPT, ‘MEN BEHAVING BADLY’, MARTIN CLUNES AS GARY: I’m going to miss these wide-ranging, philosophical chats.
NEIL MORRISSEY AS TONY: Me, too. Right, top five girls singers’ arses, what have you got?
TOGETHER: Kylie, obviously.
TRACY BOWDEN: So, did you go looking for the yobbo and did you find him?
MARTIN CLUNES: We just went looking for all of Australian men, all different types and we found all of them.
NEIL MORRISSEY: Yeah, we found some of the people who were a bit yobbish. I suppose, you could even say, just from having seen the tapes, the Mayor of Alice Springs, in some ways, is slightly yobbish.
MARTIN CLUNES: I’d like to apologise to you personally.
NEIL MORRISSEY: Then the guys down, these absolutely hairy — can I say ‘arsed’ on the ABC?
MARTIN CLUNES: I think you just have.
NEIL MORRISSEY: Hairy-arsed miners down in Mt Isa, a mile underground, some of the nicest, gentlest, sweetest blokes you’ll meet.
MARTIN CLUNES: We discovered that there are no useful generalisations, there is no one Australian male. The Australian man is as varied as the country is, really.
TRACY BOWDEN: Are they funny?
MARTIN CLUNES: Oh yeah, very funny.
NEIL MORRISSEY: And we found quite a few thirsty Australians, too.
TRACY BOWDEN: So Tony and Gary would have been happy to have a beer with these guys?
NEIL MORRISSEY: Definitely. We found a little bit of them. There are people who feel that they are a bit Tony and Gary, which is slightly sad.
MARTIN CLUNES: But there’s support groups.
NEIL MORRISSEY: There’s therapy in this country.
EXCERPT, ‘MEN BEHAVING BADLY’, NEIL MORRISSEY AS TONY SINGS: Just what you mean to me, Oh my child, you look so butch.You’re going to take away my energy, with all your jive talking.
TRACY BOWDEN: Why do you think ‘Men Behaving Badly’ has been so popular?
MARTIN CLUNES: I don’t know, I can’t speak for Australia, really. In England, I think it was timing as much as the content of the program, the sort of social revolutions, or whatever, that go on.I think there’d been a backlash to the feminist sort of berating men for all the problems of the world.
NEIL MORRISSEY: And the PC element.
TRACY BOWDEN: So the sensitive ‘New Age guy was just a ruse, it’s not what men are really like?
NEIL MORRISSEY: No, I don’t think it was a ruse. I just think that these elements have always been within men. It’s whether or not it’s your public face to show these things or not.
TRACY BOWDEN: The Mardi Gras was the final shoot for the documentary ‘Men Down Under’.Now the lads are heading home to compile their expose.
TRACY BOWDEN: Do you think that you’ve achieved what you set out to when you pitched this and said “Give us, you know”?
MARTIN CLUNES: Sure, yeah, yeah.
NEIL MORRISSEY: Definitely, and some.
MARTIN CLUNES: We managed to get right around Australia at somebody else’s’s been a huge success.
KERRY O’BRIEN: It’s nice to get confirmation that there’s more than one stereotypical Aussie male.
Transcripts on this website are created by an independent transcription service. The ABC does not warrant the accuracy of the transcripts.

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