Merrick & Rosso Interview
Taken from CitySearch
- October 99
by Merrick and Rosso (as told to Sacha
Two cerebral celebrities
Merrick Watts and Tim
Ross, aka Merrick and Rosso, are stand-up comedians. They're also
broadcasters on the ABC's "yoof network", Triple J. Plus they've
done TV shows for Foxtel. But you probably knew all that. What you
probably didn't know is that the pair are also philosophers, a pair
of deep thinkers who unceasingly ponder the big questions confronting
us on the eve of the new millennium. Here are some of their pensees
on success, the future . . . and ponies.
On their big break:
Merrick: The big step, as far as Triple J went, came when we'd both
decided to take a month off from doing stand-up and go overseas.
Just before we left, Triple J decided they wanted to do a top-of-the-hour
campaign. Every time the news ended they wanted to have a short
segment - about the Real Appeal, the Big Day Out, whatever - and
they just said, "Why don't you guys write some?" So we said, "Ok,
we'll do Grouse Aussie Icons". We didn't really think about it all
that much. Then we went overseas, and when we came back, we discovered
our spots were very, very popular. People were going around quoting
them. That was pretty strange. And that was when the powers that
be decided they were willing to give us a shot.
On how they came to be
Merrick: We don't like talking about this, and that's why it's never
in the press. But I'll tell you. We met in a correctional facility
years ago. We were young and stupid and did some dumb things . .
. We hugged some ponies that were underage.
On careers, ambition and
Rosso: Actually I thought I was going to get the job as managing
director of the ABC by now.
Merrick: Me, I wanted to be Premier.
Rosso: No, our dream is to make a motion picture . . . about men
who love to hug ponies.
Merrick: Yes, it's called Hug me, Hug me ... But don't hug me
On that red-headed conservative
Merrick: We don't mention Pauline Hanson's name on radio. We figure
that if you ignore her, she will go away. Anyway, there's nothing
funny about it all, it's just wrong. And there's enough comics doing
politics. I think we know our audience well enough to know they
don't want us doing that sort of gear. And what we're doing now
seems by all measures to be working, so why change it?
On Martin and Molloy:
Rosso: People don't actually make the comparison often, but you
are always on the defensive.
Merrick: That might actually be because we're not like them. I don't
think it's wrong to compare us with Martin and Molloy, not on the
content of humour, but just because we're two blokes doing the drive
shift and making people laugh.
Rosso: The main difference between them and us is generational.
Those guys are just a bit older, and their humour sits in a different
Merrick: And they didn't do stand-up.
On Super Planet Merrick
and Rosso, the TV shows commissioned by Foxtel:
Merrick: We're happy there, they give us an enormous amount of freedom.
Actually, we get an offer probably once a fortnight for television.
Rosso: Yeah, I got one just the other day. Some guy from Optus rang
me up. He wanted to put cable in. It was a great offer . . . but
I thought, no.
On the future:
Rosso: I would think our next step would be televison. But for as
long as we do radio I would think we'll be doing it on Triple J.
Merrick: Everybody expects Triple J to be cool and laid back and
fun, and that's exactly what it's like. It's a big happy place and
you don't have somebody running in and saying, "Right, in 30 seconds
you have to do a Coke ad". Instead they run in and say, "Right,
in 30 seconds, you have to do cocaine". (Extended pause.) Um, that's