Radio Chaser – What makes them tick?
After a successful 12-week return to Triple M last year, Radio Chaser has a new, more permanent timeslot in 2018 – airing from 3pm-4pm in Sydney.
Radio Today recently sat in on the show at Triple M studios in Sydney, fly on the wall style, to find out a bit more about what makes Chaser Radio tick, and why their inimitable style of comedy is still successful more than two decades after they first met.
Helmed by Dominic Knight, Radio Chaser’s other regular members are Charles Firth and Andrew Hansen, joined frequently by rotating regulars Craig Reucassel, Chris Taylor and Chas Licciardello.
Here’s what we learnt.
Skits are largely pre-recorded, but they are complimented by jokes on the fly.
Although the show is prepared, the banterous vibe is very much the same as in conversations before and after the show. The Chaser have been friends for two decades now, and it’s clear to see why. In the pre-show rundown, they constantly got sidetracked, taking any excuse to tell each other, or me – a joke or related anecdote. The jokes both on the fly and pre-planned felt very natural throughout, and even the prepared topics never seemed forced. “We don’t do things on the fly anymore, we’re not up to scratch,” Charles jokes, and although there is a basic structure to the show most topics are spoken about off the cuff.
Their chemistry, both on and off the air, is unique.
The chemistry is incredible, and they each seem to have a sixth sense about when another member is about to contribute something to the joke, or when something perhaps isn’t tracking as well as it could be. Anecdotes from their experience and careers to date is a key aspect of the show, and they know so much about each other’s careers that stuff-ups from previous jobs and shows are a common part of the canon. Despite there being four people there is minimal talking over each other.
They’re making a type of radio that very few are even attempting these days.
And for good reason, it’s not an easy thing to do. Comedians in radio these days are generally chatting about topical news or limited to recanting funny personal anecdotes. The Chaser are pushing through with an old school form of comedy that’s rarely practiced on radio these days, from pre-recording anywhere up to four voice skits before the show, to executing live skits that hark back to the days of Doug Mulray who they all listened to growing up (ie. Charles jumps in the adjacent studio pretending to be a caller). “People don’t do dumb skits anymore, but it’s all we know,” quips Dom during a commercial break. “We still do them because we have dull lives… and are a bunch of boring nerds.”
The content may have changed as they’ve grown older, but their timing is as sharp as ever.
The content has changed since various members did shows across Triple M and triple j across the 2000s. As they’ve grown, so has their content – now making jokes and skits about wives and kids. Radio Chaser creates a mixture of content, covering both observational and personal related content, and real-world news and Sydney-related content. However the ability of the guys to read each other and have a second sense for when someone is going to come in with a joke to tack on is second to none.
They’ve basically got free reign of the place.
Triple M are largely giving them free reign over the show, and no subject is off-limits. “The boys are loose, I try not to put too many rules on it, because it is what it is,” says executive producer Leigh Kuhlmann during the show. Before and during the show Charles constantly joked that Leigh’s only real job to get the coffee. Leigh says he tries to “re-set” the team and keep them on task in ad breaks. “Some days they’re better than others,” he sighs.
Radio Chaser ‘Platinum Edition’ catchup can be heard on Saturday mornings from 8am-10am nationally across the Triple M network.
Stay tuned to Radio Today next week for a full interview with Radio Chaser’s Charles Firth and Dom Knight.