Let’s start with The Green Guide. It’s a weekly newspaper magazine about television, radio and technology and astronomy (for some inexplicable but delightful reason) but mostly about television in Melbourne’s The Age newspaper. The Letters to The Green Guide are from the public about television and radio, but mostly about television and mostly about ABC public television. I Love Green Guide Letters is a weekly podcast by Melbourne comedian Steele Saunders about the Green Guide Letters, which he loves, despite not watching many of the actual television shows that the letters are about. Steele usually has two comedian or celebrity guests on to discuss the letters with him and everyone has a lot of fun. The podcast has become very popular, even outside of Melbourne where they have no access to the Green Guide and this has a lot to do with the work Steele has put in to make it so much fun to listen to.
Steele has built a culture around the podcast of running gags about the Green Guide Letters and he has rules that his guests and listeners must obey; 1. Listeners will not send letters into the Green Guide just to have them read out on the podcast. 2. Steele will read the letters out in a high pitched, silly voice and 3. There is no talking allowed by guests during the reading of the letters. It helps add structure to what might otherwise be an excuse for comedians to get together and have a laugh and makes it feel like a special club.
This is the fourth time I’ve been to a live recording of I Love Green Guide Letters and they are always great fun, probably because everyone loves talking about television. The comedians not only have their own favourite shows to talk about but many have been on TV with their own fascinating behind the scenes experiences to share. They come on the podcast knowing that Steele is going to find some letters to read out about them or the shows they have been on. This can occasionally make for uncomfortable listening from some of the guests but he generally tries to find something nice as well as the usual negative letter. The guests for the first recorded episode of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival were Tom Gleeson, Pete Hellier and Dave Thornton and they worked well together.
If you are a fan of Steele’s podcast, then being in the audience at least once is a must, if only for the visual gags, like Pete’s framed gift for Steele apologising for his character being accidentally cut from the credit list at the end of the episode of It’s a Date that he was in and Pete and Tom’s stage whispering to each other in a huddle about Steele & Dave going on too much about the fun time they had together at the Meredith Music Festival. If you’ve never heard the podcast before this is a great chance to join in the fun and find out what it’s all about.
I love Green Guide Letters is on at the Swanston Hotel (note the venue change!) until April 19
Listen to I Love Green Guide Letters on iTunes or the website http://ilovegreenguideletters.com/