You don't need pay TV: best Aussie comedies on free-to-air

With so many great Aussie shows on free-to-air TV, it's hard to see why people are still paying for Foxtel and Austar -- especially when pay TV has just as many ad breaks.

At, we've started looking at the most-loved shows, by genre. We got things started with the best Aussie dramas and reality shows on free-to-air TV -- next up, best Aussie comedies.

Subscription television, eat your heart out. Free TV has plenty of Aussie comedies that'll have you falling off your seat with laughter. Plus, you'll save upwards of $75 a month, which will have you laughing all the way to the bank.

Talkin' 'Bout Your Generation (TEN, 7:30pm Tuesdays)

Shaun Micallef is almost as slick as Horatio Caine (someone get the man some sunglasses!) and delightfully funny to boot. We've loved him since The Micallef Programme in 2001, and these days we tune into TBYG every week just to see his hilarious antics.

The show pits two people from each generation (Baby Boomers, Gen X and Gen Y) against each other, competing in various humorous games whilst Micallef lets his one-liners rip. As host, Micallef dotes on the childlike Gen Y staple Josh Thomas, disdains news host and Gen X-er Charlie Pickering and tolerates the old-person jokes made by Baby Boomer Amanda Keller. Such fun to watch!

Spicks & Specks (ABC2, 7pm weeknights)

Hosted by funny man Adam Hills, with Alan Brough and Myf Warhurst as the team leaders, Spicks & Specks is a music quiz where a fun mix of musical and comedic celebrities face-off against each other.

Named after a suitably quirky Bee Gees song, "Spicks", the show has been running for almost six years, managing to walk the fine line between knowledgeable and hysterically funny. Repeat appearances by hilarious guest stars like Hamish Blake and Frank Woodley don't hurt its popularity, either.

Angry Boys (ABC1, 9pm Wednesdays)

Although it hasn't started yet, we feel like we've seen a lot of the show already -- thanks to its extensive preview clips -- and we like what we see.

It is the brainchild of Chris Lilley, the man with one of the best pedigrees in creating great Aussie comedies. His previous hits, Summer Heights High and We Can Be Heroes, laid the groundwork for this project and viewers will recognise the characters of Daniel and Nathan Sims from the latter. Unfortunately, Summer Heights High's Ja'mie is not reprised (we suppose because she's not really an angry "boy").

Lilley traditionally plays the lead in all of his storylines, and so far we know of six separate characters that he will be playing in Angry Boys. Our favourite this time around: Ruth Sims aka Gran, a prison officer who goes the extra mile.

Thank God You're Here (Seven, on hiatus)

TGYH has been sending Australia's funniest comedians through the blue door and into a world of improv hilarity for five years now. Some of the guests are so clever they'll have you ROTFLMAO ... or maybe even DNPMPL.

Although it originally debuted on Channel TEN, show producers laughed themselves stupid when they realised that Seven would pay them even more to have fun. A higher pay cheque will do wonders for your sense of humour.

RocKwiz (SBS One, 9:20pm Saturdays)

Another music quiz show, this one focusing on rock music (as if you couldn't tell from the title). RocKwiz is held at the Espy (Esplanade Hotel in St Kilda, Melbourne) and is hosted by the irrepressible Julia Zemiro.

Two teams compete, comprised of two audience members and a well-known musical guest on each side. Its informal, light-hearted format and its guest performances at the start and end of each episode are what make the show so much fun to watch. As are the antics of the host.

(To hear more Julia Zemiro antics, tune in to her coverage with Sam Pang of Eurovision Song Contest this weekend on SBS One/HD.)

The Gruen Transfer (ABC, on hiatus)

The hilarious show all about advertising in Australia and overseas, The Gruen Transfer provides endless amusement as well as useful info on how exactly we're all being manipulated by the marketing industry.

The show consistently draws audiences of around 1.3 million, and so far the show idea has been sold to Denmark, the UK, France, Portugal, Italy, Spain and South Africa, to make their own local versions.

Our favourite part of the show? "The Pitch", where two marketing execs are asked to pitch the unpitchable ... like a televised ad for an Australian invasion of NZ. Wonder when our government will be making use of that.

Do you agree with our choices? Have you got any other Aussie comedies you'd like to see on a best-of list? Or do you just hate one of the above with a fiery passion? Let us know in the comments.

Comments (5)
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May 12, 2011
Good point, rangerofalinos ... will we ever get Thank God You're Here back?
May 11, 2011
you mean the best quiz shows,

Not to mention that Thank god your here is sitting in indefinite hiatus and has done so for nearly 2 years.

hopefully gruen will pop back up in the upcoming months
May 11, 2011
These are good, but they're more quiz shows/variety than comedy.
May 11, 2011
Your observations about each of these shows is fine, but the headline is irrelevant. You've done little to back up "You don't need pay TV" 2 of the shows you mention are on "hiatus' ! Is Jimmy Fallon available on FTA? Balls of Steel? Not to mention everything else pay TV has to offer. Weak. Disclosure: I work in pay TV
May 11, 2011
RocKwiz is the best! (OK, I really mean Julia.)

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