Hamish & Andy | Podcast
Australian comedy duo Hamish Blake and Andy Lee continue to taunt each other and their button-pusher Jack with a weekly show that is more about their listeners than it is about themselves.
People all over the world lean on Hamish & Andy to question and test the smaller things in life no pondering too small.
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HAMISH BLAKE AND ANDY LEE HAVE TAKEN THEIR DOMINANCE OF AUSTRALIA'S AIRWAVES FROM RADIO TO TELEVISION AND NOW PODCASTS
Talking to TV and radio veterans and all-round good guys Hamish Blake and Andy Lee it's not difficult to see why their weekly show is the No.1 Australian comedy podcast.
As they prepare for this week's 100th episode of the Hamish & Andy podcast the Melbournebased pair have just started their second stint in coronavirusinduced lockdown.
The easy banter between the two who have been cracking up listeners for 17 years and mates for more than 20 is clearly one of the reasons their podcast audience has grown more than 125 per cent in the past year peaking in May with their highest number of downloads to date. And just like the podcast getting a serious answer is a challenge but it's never less than hugely entertaining as our opening exchange indicates. Hamish: Here we go again the difficult second lockdown. Andy: Normally sequels aren't better than the first so that's a bit of a worry. Hamish: Was season one just a fluke?
Hopefully this turns out to be season two of MasterChef even more successful. Andy: I'm thinking more like Terminator 2. Hamish: Godfather 2 Back To the Future 2 - there have been some absolute rippers. JW: Like the Empire Strikes Back? Hamish: Absolutely. Hopefully it doesn't drag on as long as Star Wars has and we don't get to the Clone Wars Jar-Jar Binks period of lockdown.
Andy: I didn't make it through Dude Where's My Car Again so let's hope I make it through this one. But though Blake and Lee like millions of Melburnians are once again back in their tracky dacks and confined to barracks chances are audiences will barely notice. While they understandably made reference to the global pandemic during the first Australia-wide lockdown they have made a conscious decision to keep it to a bare minimum moving forward.
Not only do they want to become an "audio safe haven" as Lee puts it away from the grim statistics and daily case counts but they are mindful that they have fans all around the world who don't necessarily listen to the podcast when it's released.
"It makes sense to listen to them in order because a lot of things become running jokes and themes but even having said that there's a bunch of renegades that tell us they are listening to the shows backwards" says Blake.
"They listened to this week's first and then they are going back through the archives which makes no sense but a surprising amount of people do that."
The rise of the Hamish & Andy show has come at a time when demand for podcasts is growing more broadly. Recent research shows that more than a quarter of Australians over the age of 12 downloaded a podcast in the past month and the period of from March 1 to June 1 this year showed a 127 per cent increase in original podcast downloads for PodCast One Australia.
Lee puts the rise during the COVID-19 period down to fewer people listening to the radio during their work commute - but still hungry for entertainment at home.
"They turned to on-demand audio which is obviously a plus for that space" Lee says. "It's been really growing across Australia and the world anyway and it's pretty exciting. Obviously there is a lot of choice there - it's an overwhelming buffet of sounds."
While Hamish & Andy's audience is primarily in Australia and New Zealand where they have been a top-rating radio and TV fixture for years the global reach is growing. Podcast data has shown them they have solid numbers in the UK and Ireland a growing audience in the US and Canada and further flung nations in Africa and the Middle East - including Tunisia where they have precisely one listener who they are desperately trying to track down.
Having ruled the airwaves for years with their hugely successful drive time radio show which they wrapped in 2017 Blake and Lee say that while their podcast audience is much smaller it's also more active invested and engaged.
They are also an integral part of the podcast emailing in to share their Special Skills (mostly pointless but sometimes superhuman talents such as knowing the shoe size of someone walking by) and Power Moves (by which they gain the upper hand in any given social situation soon to be made into a coffee-table book) and generally providing comedy gold.
"With podcasting you have to actively opt in to hear the show so it's a much smaller pool" says Blake. "But the fans of the show go deep - they have heard every minute of the show. That's a really different situation that you can have that massive library of shared experiences with your audience - you don't have a bunch of people you are constantly trying to bring up to speed with what you are doing."
Having spent the bulk of their professional career as a double act Blake and Lee have been increasingly pursuing individual interests in recent years. Blake has found success as the host of the hit reality TV series Lego Masters - the casting call just went out for a third series - and Lee has featured as a team captain in recent seasons of Talkin' 'Bout Your Generation and guest stints on AFL comedy show The Front Bar.
The podcast has been a constant throughout much of the period and Blake likens it "having a favourite activity or a favourite sport that you get to do with the other person" .
"We still hang out a lot but it's even more fun when we get to hang out on air together" Blake says. "It's something that we'd miss if we weren't doing it. So while we have got other projects going on individually knowing that we are never more than a few days away from getting in the studio together and hanging out together is always a great thing to have."
Hamish & Andy's 100th episode will be released Thursday.
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This article is from the July 15 2020 issue of The Herald Sun Digital Edition. To subscribe visit https://www.heraldsun.com.au/.
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