Q&A with … Dan Ilic

You did vox pops in season one of Can of Worms. How did you wind up with an additional studio role this season?

Those kind of decisions aren't left to me. I do what I'm told. I actually had no idea about my role up until the week of the first episode. I kind of knew that I'd be doing that, but I didn't know in what context.

I didn't have a rehearsal for it, I just kind of ended up doing it. For the pilot I was sitting up on the stage on a fourth chair all throughout the show just making wise, helping the show go along. Then they kind of built a podium for me because it was kind of weird having a fourth chair there and then taking the chair away when my segment was over.

How responsive are you to the show's agenda and the news?

We workshop the ideas and get them to a point where they're great and then we send them off for approval, and if people like them we go off and shoot them, but everything is quite chaotic. Things can change in the media, things can change in the national conversation and they might change a worm on us that means we have to scrap everything and quickly write a bunch of brand new ideas.

How often are the ideas rejected?

For every good idea there are 10 bad ones. Often the ideas that get knocked back require too much production value or they're so stunty they would require a Baz Luhrmann production team to turn them around.

Is there anything you're not willing to do on the street?

I'm willing to do most things for comedy. If the idea is good I'll do it. And if the idea doesn't hurt people then I think I'll do it. And if the idea tells us more about who we are then I'll do it. But if an idea's just stupid and it doesn't make sense then

I won't do it. I have a very logical basis for a lot of my comedy. I think in this show it works in that regard.

I get to explore an issue in a different way to how the panellists can and I think that's kind of fun.

Is it hard to keep it fresh?

It's actually quite hard now, half way through the second season. The ideas are kind of samey so it's really a struggle not to come out with the same kind of treatment. The other problem is people know who I am in the streets, so often you'll get a great interaction from someone and it will be over the top from them because they know who I am and they know what I'm doing. It's like fishing twice a week for talent. The script is bait and then we go out and fish for jokes.

How's the fishing?

When I come back from the field I'm always thrilled that Australians have a great sense of humour. Regular people are just the best people.

I don't deal with celebrities, I deal with people in the street and I think that's really exciting to see people having fun with an idea.

How have you found the transition from Ian Dickson to Chrissie Swan as host?

Really awesome. I love Dicko. Working with Dicko is like working with your little brother and Chrissie is like working with your big sister. So it's two very different personalities and I think Chrissie is just incredible at it. She's got to manage so much stuff - she's got to manage three people talking in her ear, she's got to listen to three people who are talking in front of her and she's got to feel what the audience is feeling and express that as well.

I think as captain of the ship she does an amazing job.

Do you aspire to the chair for season three?

I don't think I could do it. I think the only person who could do it is someone with kids and I don't have one of those.

Can of Worms

Mondays, Ten, 8.30pm


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