I joined the audience of Have You Been Paying Attention?

Hubby and I are fans of Australia’s least rich quiz show, Channel Ten’s Have You Been Paying Attention?

We enjoy playing along by attempting suitable gag answers to Tommy Gleisner’s questions and occasionally we offer the same Clive Palmer jokes as the contestants.

After unsuccessful attempts to join the audience for Spicks and Specks and The Gruen Transfer, I was not optimistic when completing HYBPA’s audience request form. So I was delighted to hear from the producer just days later, only to be promptly disappointed when she told me there were no audience tickets available at present.

But, due to the existence of this very article you’d be right in assuming that circumstances changed and Hubby and I were offered tickets to be in the audience.

I suspected the producer was trying to weed out genuine show watchers as she asked me a few questions about the program which I answered awkwardly. I must have passed the test because tickets were secured, babysitters arrived and we headed to Chapel Street on Sunday night for the recording, heeding the strict ‘no open toe shoes’ policy.

We were soon receiving name tags from producers and being assigned to the purple section of the audience. Thus our speculation began: was purple for the ugly or non ugly people? Could we determine it from the looks of others in the purple group? Were they looking for diversity and keeping the other spectacularly good looking couples away from us? Can I have another glass of free red wine please?

Happily the wine was refilled and we were soon ushered into the surprisingly small studio. We were pleased to find that purple group is the front two rows, and Hubby insists it’s his brooding charm that nudged us towards the better seats.

Sadly, though we are in the second front row, we’re in a corner and the view is mostly of the cameraman’s ample midsection.

Any displeasure about the seating is forgotten when we see the contestants: Ed Kavalee (so tall!) Dave Hughes (looks like he does on TV), Jane Kennedy (great hair) Sam Pang (my favourite) and Michala Banas (hope she doesn’t remember me from when I tripped over stairs at the Melbourne Cup and nearly ploughed her over).

Recording starts promptly and in the breaks the warm up guy, Danny, assures us that we are the best audience he’s seen. It’s no challenge to laugh heartily at the gags—this is champagne comedy.

We’re informed that sections of the show won’t go to air, due to the risky content. All I can say is Michala isn’t the sweet and innocent darling from McLeod’s Daughters – I’m genuinely shocked.

Sure enough, Clive Palmer is the butt of a few gags and I’m astounded at how quick these comedians are at off the cuff remarks. Surely there’s writers giving them pre-prepared suggestions? I don’t want that to be true…but it probably is.

There was a particularly good Ian Thorpe joke that undoubtedly won’t make it to air. There’s a lawyer watching the live feed from her home whose sole job is to ensure the program isn’t sued for defamation or violation of broadcast regulations.

As for gags that will make it to air, you can expect offerings about Oscar Pistorius, The Bachelor and plugs from Dave Hughes about his forthcoming tour.

In the breaks the warm-up guy keeps us amused and tells the world’s worst joke: did you hear about the baked beans that travelled round Australia? They ended up in Cairns (geddit!)

All too soon the program is over, and two potential winners are announced and we cheer heartily for them both: Michala Banas and Ed Kavalee. (Only tomorrow when the final cut of the program goes to air will we know the actual winner.)

Then there’s a few re-shootings of questions where audio wasn’t quite right and we the audience laugh again obligingly. More audience cheers to film the promos and then it’s all over. We’re given a gift bag on the way out; it includes books Molvanian Baby Names, Warwick Todd’s Up The Blockhole, and Audrey’s Gordon’s Tuscan Summer as well as a pen and a Powerade.

This website copywriter likes gift bags

This website copywriter likes gift bags

Just one final observation: there’s a young guy who’s holding cables. He sits in a nearby corner and holds cables for the entire two hours. Surely they could get a few cable clips for that?

Ps.Our episode screens on Monday 15 September.