A dodgy mayor who does sly deals with Chinese property developers. A Greens councillor who wants to boycott Saudi Arabia for its treatment of feral cats. A lazy council worker who refuses to go to the toilet during his smoko break, holding it in so he can “reduce the workday”.
The above trio may sound familiar, but are all fictional characters set to feature in a new TV comedy show named Darradong Local Council, an eight-episode satire of local government which will air on the Seven Network’s 7Mate channel from late October 2023.
Written and directed by comedian Pauly Fenech, it’s likely to cause just as much controversy as his previous shows, Fat Pizza and Housos, which poked fun at public housing estate tenants and their interaction with police and Centrelink.
“The new show deals with government and corruption and all the red tape that councils get involved in that they shouldn’t,” Melbourne actor and comedian James Liotta told Region.
“Some people asked if it was a documentary … everyone seemed to think it was based on their council, but it’s not based on any one council. It’s an amalgamation of all the crap that councils do to their community.”
Darradong is a fictitious local government area in which Liotta plays the role of council employee Jumbo.
“I am one of the core staff members who goes to Thailand and then comes back gender neutral, so everyone has to tippy-toe around me. We make fun of all the woke stuff that happens these days.”
But the actor can’t explain what his character’s specific job is within the council.
“The way the show is structured, you don’t know what he actually does. They are suits in the office and you don’t know what their job actually is.”
Pauly Fenech produced a pilot of a council satire TV show several year ago, but it was never made into a full series. A segment of that pilot episode has been published on YouTube, giving viewers an idea of what they can expect in the new program.
Wagga councillor Richard Foley said he would not be offended by a show that skewered councils.
“There is too much red tape and bureaucracy in councils and not enough action. Why not have some fun at their expense?” he said.
“We have an overly sensitive society, we need to go back the other way. There are plenty of things in local government that could be made fun of.”
His colleague, Cr Georgie Davies, did have some concerns, though.
“Humour is humour, but I do think there are a lot of misperceptions about council workers,” she said.
”A lot of people think they’re lazy … it’s not the experience I’ve had in council. The council workers I’ve dealt with are incredibly hard-working, they are really driven and motivated.
“We struggle to recruit good candidates for council jobs. These shows don’t help … I might be seen as a Debbie Downer, but someone has to stick up for council staff, they work so hard.”
Liotta said he believed it was all in good fun and enjoyed playing his part in another Pauly Fenech production.
“About three years ago, I scored a role in the new Fat Pizza series. I was lucky enough to be cast as Pauly’s cousin. When he created the new show, it was one of the easiest auditions I’d ever had.”
The Italian-Australian comedian is currently the MC for the musical comedy show Club Vegas: The Spectacle, and will be doing a stand-up tour across Australia in 2024. Further details can be found on his Facebook page.
Darradong Local Council will be available for streaming on the 7Mate website from late October, with an exact start date expected to be known soon.