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The Naked Vicar Show – Series 2 Episode 2 (1978)


A variety show with sketch comedy, guest musical performances and commentary on news and politics of the day, filmed in front of a studio audience.

Curator’s notes

The Naked Vicar Show is a sketch comedy in which bored couples argue over whether to watch quiz show Blankety Blanks (1977-79) or current affairs reporter Mike Willesee on the telly, suburban housewives cajole laconic, beer-drinking suburban husbands, and customers in a jeans shop are confronted with an airhead shop assistant’s vapid chitchat. The show also sends up the Australian media landscape of the day with mock ads and news broadcasts and features a guest musical act in each episode.

The comedy is part absurdity and wordplay, part piss-take or parody. The Naked Vicar Show portrays an urban Australia full of class, gender and racial stereotypes. This is a common enough practice in comedy and it’s interesting to see how the show’s vision of a ‘modern urban’ Australia has dated. Women are mostly housewives, typing pool workers, shop assistants or 'ladies who lunch’.

In a 2007 interview with The Australian newspaper, co-creator Tony Sattler recalls the team’s decision ‘to only do urban modern Australian humour, nothing to do with big blokes with big hats leaning on fences’. He was interviewed by actor and writer Graeme Blundell, himself a ’70s Australian comedy star, who calls the show ‘a tribute to a fast-fading cultural larrikinism’. The piss-take could be seen as a style of humour fundamental to this irreverent Australian larrikin archetype.

Each episode begins and ends with comic commentary on politicians of the day, addressed directly to the audience (see clip one). The majority of its content, however, focuses on caricatures of Australian society, rather than politics. In keeping with a sketch-comedy tradition The Naked Vicar Show developed a repertoire of comic characters and catch-phrases, like the reactionary Ted Bullpitt and his refrain, 'You’re not taking the Kingswood!’ (see clip two). Bullpitt was a particularly popular character who later starred in the spin-off sitcoms Kingswood Country (see Kingswood Country – There’s No Place Like Rome, 1980) and Bullpitt! (1997-98).

The Naked Vicar Show ran for two seasons on Channel Seven, from 1977–78. This is episode 2 of the second series.