zwar and morrow


The Vivid Ideas session which brought together Adam Zwar (Wilfred, Lowdown) and The Chaser’s Julian Morrow was officially opened by organiser, Jess Scully. She described the talk as being about drawing two people together whose work she admired and asked them about how you create great content and the process of getting it out there. The one hour in conversation was similar to a number of sessions at the Sydney Writers’ Festival and saw the two comedy writers, producers and actors trading jokes and sharing some good pearls of wisdom in a relaxed and interesting manner.

The talk began with each creative describing how they’d come to join the industry. Morrow said he had worked as a lawyer for a few years and he’d also helped start a 24-page satirical newspaper that nobody read. The Chaser group then waited. The medium would prove a great outlet for the collective to write fortnightly jokes and material and hone their crafts. Eventually they would boast Andrew Denton as a subscriber. He championed them and suggested that they work in TV although Morrow admits that even if Denton had offered the guys part-time work in his abattoir they’d have probably said, ‘Yes’.

Adam Zwar’s journey was rather different. He studied and worked as a journalist whilst also being involved in lots of plays whilst at university. Once he reached age 26 he started making short films with his friend, Jason Gann (who had originally pursued a career in music). The two won Tropfest and came to the attention of Steve Vizard, who acted as champion. Zwar would then go on to produce shows like Wilfred, Lowdown and the factual series and spin-offs, Agony Aunts and Agony Uncles.

Both Zwar and Morrow have both enjoyed stepping out from in front of the camera and taking on roles as producers and consultants in the editing suite. Zwar said that as an actor you leave a lot in the hands of other people because you don’t get to see the entire scene or call the shots when it comes to editing. Morrow shared a great line: ‘If you say something stupid, it’s on TV. If I say something stupid, it’s edited out’.

The Chaser and Adam Zwar have enjoyed their fair share of international success. The War On Everything by the former had two series feature on Dutch TV and the Australian version was sold for $150 an episode to the Mongolian State Broadcaster. Zwar meanwhile, was offered the opportunity to work on the British version of Wilfred, but he turned it down. He said that having things remade for international audiences was like getting married, having a child and then getting divorced. He added that then your wife decides to take your kid to the United States, she remarries and decides to bring up your offspring with somebody else.

Julian Morrow and Adam Zwar’s ‘In Conversation’ for Vivid Ideas featured some light-hearted banter about Australian TV. It was a colourful discussion that saw a great anecdote involving Geoffrey Rush and a possum coupled with some great advice, lessons and take-home messages for people aspiring to work in television. In short, it was fun, inspiring and clever, just as the pair’s respective programs often prove.


Originally published on 9 June 2014 at the following website:

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