Hamish Blake and Andy Lee formed a comedy duo in 2003 and today host the 4-7pm drive-time slot on radio 104.1 2DayFM. Their television highlights include the Logie-winning comedy series Hamish and Andy’s Gap Year . Blake, 35, also won a 2012 Gold Logie for most popular personality on Australian television. The duo attribute their radio show’s popularity to a lack of planning and their own genuine friendship. They also talks to me about their favourite moment on radio and their troubles with “grumpy” celebrities.
What is a typical day for you both?
Hamish: We come down to our local Lebanese restaurant and we order a giant platter of mixed meats [laughs].
Andy: No, I mean, it’s not too hard … We get into radio around about 1 o’clock. We don’t really tell each other anything we’re going to say.
Oh really – there not much preparation before the show?
Hamish: In terms of a plan for the show, we would write down probably … 50 words each.
Andy: Other shows are different but for us it’s a conversation and that works for us.
Hamish: We do use the term “job” very loosely. Sonny, my little boy, essentially he has no idea what we do, except for a few times when he has come to the show, I’ll get a headphone cord and I’ll tuck it down the back of my pants and he will go, “Oh, tail”. So now when we play that game at home, with a dressing gown cord, he yells out, “Daddy working”. He thinks what I do at work is run around with a tail, which when I think about it, is not that different than what I do do at work.
Did you ever think that you would be doing this, when you were younger?
Hamish: We just didn’t know it was a viable career option. We got told we mucked around too much at school all the time. But at no stage did anyone go that if you want to keep mucking around, there is a very, very, very slim chance that you could get one of the nine jobs that are going in radio and you guys could make it professionally. But if I was a careers counsellor I would say, “don’t get your hopes up, it requires a phenomenal amount of luck, so you probably should study”.
So how did you get into it?
Hamish: A phenomenal amount of luck.
Andy: We were on SYN FM, which is Student Youth Network, a community radio. We were skipping uni and running down the road to another university that had a radio station, pretending we were enrolled there and getting on the air waves there … We were still studying to get other jobs at that point.
What would you be doing if you hadn’t gone down this career path?
Andy: Hamish was doing commerce-science, I was doing commerce-arts, so I was going to be an accountant or in marketing.
What do you think it takes to become the most popular people on radio?
Hamish: I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but it is just luck. There is no plan and there is absolutely no reason why one person should work and another one shouldn’t. It’s not like there’s a secret thing we’re doing behind the scenes to kind of manoeuvre to get an outcome of any sort of level of success.
Do you guys hang out when you’re not working together?
Andy: All the time. We often car pool to work together. We live a block away… A lot of people [see us] and go “Oh, I’m glad to see that you’re actually friends”, because they’re getting fed with this idea of mateship every afternoon on the radio.
Hamish: We’re lucky that we were friends before it began and I’m sure we’ll be friends a long time after it finishes.
Does your wife and partner mind that you spend so much time together?
Andy: Zoe and Bec are both pretty conditioned because we were very, very close pals when they both met us.
Hamish: Bec calls me and says “Can I see Andy?” and every third call I say “Yes”.
You have found success in radio, TV and writing. Which do you prefer?
Hamish: They’re all pretty different sports. They’re different disciplines. I suppose a lot of time it comes down to an idea. Like an idea could be great for radio, and then terrible for TV or vice-versa. So a lot of time it comes down to having an idea and then feeling it out a bit to see where it might play out the best.
Andy: With radio, it’s a tiny amount of effort and it’s immediate [since people can call in]. But it’s disposable by its very nature. The TV show takes a lot longer to put together and you have to craft it longer.
What about your most memorable time on radio?
Hamish: Well, it’s probably the other stuff around it, like getting to do Date with Kate! [Laughs] … We’re often doing quite wonderful experiences and amazing things but the fact that you get to do it with a mate is probably the amplifier … The majority of the times, your favourite moments are never going to revolve around a celebrity or someone famous being involved. A lot of the times, your favourite moments are people who call up or just things that happen in the show that come out of left field.
What about the worst?
Hamish: Any time that you think you’re on the same page as everyone else, but you’re not!
Andy: There is no doubt you’re going to get grumpy celebrities.
Can you name any?
Hamish: We had Slash [Saul Hudson] not want to play a guitar. [If you are told] “Don’t mention Guns N’ Roses, long hair or top hat or guitars” it’s like, “Well, Slash what’s your favourite type of bonsai?” Seriously, what are we going to talk about?
Andy: we got a guitar and we were going to get people to call up with their guitars and just play him a question, jamming and he could just answer them … He actually turned to us and said, “You know what guys, I think that’s a bit gay.”
Hamish: He got really sulky and upset but he can’t really blame us too much for having a guitar in the studio if one of the world’s premier guitarist is on!
Where do you keep your Logies?
Hamish: Grandma has got a silver one and mum has got a gold one and I miss them, of course, every day. I wake up and as I’m kneeling at my shrine to TV Week, I look up and I see their empty slots on my shrine and I think to myself, “I must get those back.” But mum and grandma are pretty happy to have them at the moment.
WE WENT TO: Abdul’s Restaurant, Surry Hills.
WE ATE: hummus dip, baba ghanouge, garlic chicken skewers, shish kebab, kafta, meat lady fingers, fried cauliflower and falafels.
WE DRANK: homemade lemonade.