Comedy Inc had been an incredible journey for me both professionally and personally (I met and married my wife, moved cities in the process). I built on my experiences in Totally Full Frontal and had truly fallen in love with sketch comedy. It was my natural habitat.
But after the second series of Comedy Inc screened all the people involved in the show felt the network had probably had enough. Not true, and at the end of 2004 production began on Comedy In: The Late Shift. As the name suggests it was made for a later timeslot, and allowed the producers more leeway in terms of material, language and creative freedom.
Scott Brennan (of sketch show skitHOUSE) and Simon Mallory joined the show in 2005 (series 4 of Comedy Inc, series 2 of Comedy Inc: The Late Shift), while Ben Oxenbould and Gabriel Andrews left at the end of the first Late Shift series.
Series 5 saw the addition of Rebecca de Unamuno (Big Bite), Fiona Harris (also of skitHOUSE fame) and Janis McGavin, replacing Genevieve Morris and Mandy McElhinney. Emily Taheny, Jim Russell and I were the only castmembers to remain with the show from start to end.
In The Late Shift, a series of story-lined sketches featuring characters created by Ben Oxenbould and myself called Matt and Bray appeared to great acclaim. I felt scared of the reaction playing a mentally challenged character would get, but the positive reaction was overwhelming.
The first series of The Late Shift was nominated for an AFI Award, as was our director, David McDonald. The next year I was nominated, as was Genevieve Morris, as Best Comedy Performer at the AFI Awards (the show received 5 nominations in 2006). The show has also been nominated for Logie Awards (2005 and 2006) and a prestigious Rose d'Or for Best Comedy Show in Switzerland.
In January 2007 shooting began on the last series of Comedy Inc: The Late Shift. As opposed to previous years, there was definitely the feeling that series 5 would be the last outing for Comedy Inc. A new writing team and director/producer promised much, but it wasn't enough to remake the show.
We finished the shoot in July, and sketches like the one below went to air in the second half of the year, shot at a time when we wondered what would happen in the Kevin Rudd-John Howard election that November. Just click here or on the image below to see me as Kevin Rudd (it's a 2.2MB Quicktime movie).
Comedy Inc survives now on Australian screens through the comedy channel on Foxtel/Austar. But I receive emails from people around the world saying they are enjoying the show. People still stop me in the street and ask about Brayden.