“It’s like a theme park”: Celia Paquola on the bigger scale of the new season of Thank God You’re Here

Celia Paquola

“I think it’s the closest experience to a live show that’s on TV and it only works because it’s real.”

Various Australian humour heavyweights are set to headline the season premiere of Thank God You’re Here at 7:30 pm on Wednesday, August 2 on 10 and 10 Play.

The first episode will see host Celia Paquola welcome Urzila Carlson, Aaron Chen, Julia Zemiro and Mark Bonanno to the world of Thank God You’re Here, where literally anything can happen.

Viewers also will need to keep their eyes peeled for the week’s legendary guest judge as the star performers step through the blue door.

The improv show’s earlier run was hosted by Shane Bourne and ran from 2006 to 2007 on 10 before it was moved to Seven for its final fourth season in 2009. 

Among the comedians to have walked through the famous blue door are Rebel Wilson, Hamish Blake, Shaun Micallef, Adam Hills, Anh Do, Julia Zemiro, Glenn Robbins and Frank Woodley.

Mediaweek caught up with the show’s host, Australian comedian Celia Paquola about what viewers can expect from the new season and why the series proves so popular on Aussie screens.

MW: What can we be excited about for the return of TGYH?

CP: Everything! The incredible set of performers who are a mix of fan favourites and exciting new faces, the sets, the costumes, the jokes, the panics, the special guest judges, the blue door, the bullshitting, the nerves, the laughs and there’s a new host which is very exciting to me but I might be biased.

MW: Congratulations on landing the hosting gig! What do you think you will bring to the role?

CP: Look, I’m hoping to be as warm and welcoming to the performers as Shane Bourne was, otherwise I think I’m going to bring a lot of giggling and enthusiasm because I will be so excited to be there. I’ll also be bringing some pretty spectacular velvet suits.

MW: The original series was so iconic, how will this series differ? Any changes we can expect? (if it remains the same, that’s amazing too!)

CP: There will be a mix of new guests, a new host (blush) and guest comedy legends as judges each week. Aside from that, it will be the same show we knew and loved but if it’s possible, on an even bigger scale. The sets, props, and costumes, are incredible. It’s like a theme park. If you remember the live animals and stunts and pyrotechnics from the original, yes, there’s more of that. Maybe even a few celebrity cameos…

MW: Why do you think the series proves so popular?

CP: There are so many reasons. For starters, it’s real. I think it’s the closest experience to a live show that’s on TV and it only works because it’s real. The performers honestly have no idea what is about to happen and everyone can feel their nerves, fear, exhilaration, gassiness, whatever. The audience in the room and at home are completely on the performer’s side because none of us can think of anything more terrifying than having to bullshit your way through who knows what, on television. And for the audience, we get to see our favourite performers do something out of their comfort zone and it’s amazing.

MW: Considering the past seasons helped launch some of our biggest and brightest, who can we expect to see this time around?

CP: It’s going to be a mix of fan favourites from the original series and some exciting new faces. I’ve signed a lot of scary documents so I can’t tell you much but… I will tell you that Aaron Chen will be going through the blue door. As well as Danielle Walker… But you didn’t hear it from me.

The season premiere of Thank God You’re Here premieres at 7:30 pm on Wednesday, August 2 on 10 and 10 Play.

See also: Thank God You’re Here makes its return to 10

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