Performer and writer Scott Brennan is just a tad concerned about Agony Uncles.
Brennan, best known for his appearances in Skithouse, Comedy Inc. and Neighbours, is one of several blokes consulted by Adam Zwar for a new ABC series on the big questions about relationships.
“To be honest there might be a couple of things in there that I don’t really want my parents to hear. So I will have to word them up,” he admits.
Quizzed by Zwar on a long list of social questions, he knew he wouldn’t be able to fall back on a punchline every time.
“I thought if I’m going to talk about this stuff then may as well be completely honest. I can’t just sit there and make joke after joke. These are quite big stages in people’s lives so I wanted to be as completely honest as I could have been,” he says.
“(The show) is about giving advice and sharing life experiences in a particular tone of voice.
“It’s about guiding people through the difficult transitions that we face in life. That’s the brief but I think most of what I say is just me babbling. But that’s generally what I do for a living. But it’s advice for men of a certain age.”
The ‘Uncles’ include Tim Ross, John Elliott, Tom Elliott, Brett Tucker, Josh Lawson, Ed Kavalee, Waleed Aley, Sam Pang, Damian Walshe-Howling, Des Dowling, Adam Elliot, Glynn Nicholas, Kick Gurry, Dave Thornton and Lawrence Mooney.
Zwar conducted one on one interviews for the six-part series, comparing the new-age male, metrosexual male, and Aussie bloke with traditional values reared in the 50s, 60s and 70s. There are firm views and grey areas, mixed with a whole lot of wrong. It may well be likened to a younger Grumpy Old Men.
“He had a big list of different headings and just fired off the questions. If we went off in a tangent, then we went off in a tangent. So we really just sat for hours having a gasbag, really. They’re the sort of questions anyone would ask,” Brennan explains.
“How to pick up, how to meet someone, what’s it like at the start of a relationship, how do you decide that you’re actually going out together, how to negotiate and the nuts and bolts of the real things that happen. Breaking up, divorce, how to meet someone new –all that kind of stuff.
“I don’t think anyone has all the answers so this is a good format because there are enough people in the show to provide some kind of answer for something.”
Brennan is not only an uncle and godfather, but a gay uncle and godfather, so his relationship experiences are weaved in amongst the advice of his heterosexual peers.
“I think Adam said ‘I need a poof on this show, who will I get, I’ll get Scotty!’ So he got me and Adam Elliot.”
But he hasn’t ever needed to explain his personal preferences to his nieces and nephews.
“I’m the cool uncle, let’s face it. I’m the uncle that’s on the telly. I’m also the youngest uncle so I think I’m the closest to what my nieces and nephews are going through,” he says.
“I never sat down with them. Some of them are young enough that I’ve always just been gay, because I’ve been out for 20 years or so. Mostly it’s just a fact of life for them, and they’re fantastic. I get on really well with them.”
Recently Brennan has been writing for ABC3’s Prank Patrol, appearing in Spontaneous Broadway in Adelaide, getting ready for the Comedy Festival and shooting an appearance in Zwar’s other series, Lowdown
“I’m the only person in that show to play a different character,” he admits.
“They gave me a different character for the second series and I don’t have a fake moustache or anything.”
So if he’s worried that frank answers in Agony Uncles might surprise his parents, is he also worried that representing 10% of the population his advice won’t be of any use to others?
“I’d like to think I’m wise enough that the other 90% will take some of it on board.”
Agony Uncles premieres 9:30pm tonight on ABC1.