Why The Hundred with Andy Lee is as close to radio as television gets

the hundred

• Host Andy Lee and EP Hayden Guppy speak about how The Hundred came together

Channel Nine will gauge the pulse of the nation every Tuesday with The Hundred with Andy Lee

Each week 100 everyday Aussies will Zoom into the studio from all over the country to give an insight into what the nation is really thinking.

Mediaweek spoke to host Andy Lee and EP Hayden Guppy about how the show came to be.

Bringing The Hundred to screens

Lee says the idea of The Hundred had been bubbling away for a while.

Lee: Screentime came to me a while back now, almost two years ago, and talked to me about a stats-based show, I like stats and data. Originally it was a bit more like 20 to 1, pre-recorded comedians making comments on stats. That’s kind of where I came in and we started making it into a studio-based format, and it grew from there. It’s been really fun.

Then we had the idea of a huge screen with a hundred Australians on it beaming in live from all around the country representing a cross-section of the community, and we could poll them live and find out what Australia is thinking and feeling about a range of habits.

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Andy Lee on The Hundred

Choosing The Hundred

Choosing a hundred people to represent a nation as diverse as Australia was no mean feat. Lee and Guppy are both very happy with the result.

Lee: As we started putting the call out, we had thousands and thousands of applicants to be on the show which was really exciting. And through that, there was a range of ages, cultural backgrounds, demographics, and regions.

It’s really nice when you see them all there and someone comes up on the screen and you find out they’re from a small town in Tasmania and the next person you go to is a miner up in the Northern Territory. It’s just great bouncing around the country and seeing how everybody’s acting.

Guppy: The nice thing about it is Ando’s broad fanbase. When we reached out through social channels, there was so much broadness and diversity that was coming back. We’ve got a lot of Zoom producers that are on the phone every day just chatting with people, and the excitement coming back from people wanting to be a part is great.

Working over Zoom

While most shows are using Zoom out of necessity, The Hundred uses it as a centrepiece. Even if the world wasn’t currently facing a pandemic, Lee and Guppy say they wouldn’t bring the hundred into a studio.

Lee: You learn so much about someone just from their background or from their lounge room. That’s what’s great about this, when people come on television normally, you see them on any game show, they dress up and put on their Sunday best, they get their hair and makeup done. It’s not really a representation of them in everyday life. We’ve found that how relaxed people are in their lounge room is just so great. I really do look at it as reverse Gogglebox, this is a bunch of TV presenters looking into people’s lounge rooms as opposed to vice versa. We had so many more surprises, very rarely do you have pets interrupting a studio chat.

Guppy: We’ve almost made it a feature. The fun when we start chatting on Zoom and they bring their pets into it – there’s other characters, there’s great pieces on the wall. It’s content for us but it’s also getting to know them in a way that I don’t think we really get to see in Australia. 

Asking Questions

Just because it’s the hundred being asked the questions, doesn’t mean that they’re the only ones shocked by what they find.

Lee: There are so many times where I get asked ‘oh do you give your own opinion?’. For me and the panelists playing, you naturally do give your answer because if you ask ‘how many people sleep nude in Australia?’ I’m going to think ‘oh, about 85%’, which clearly makes it sound like I sleep nude. Quite often I’ve been getting a shock that the majority of Australians do the opposite, so we’re learning a lot about ourselves at the same time. 

There’s a range of topics that people are on both sides of the fence on, but we’re kind of leaning against the fence with a beer chatting about it to each other as opposed to lobbing rocks over a taller fence. 

The Hundred Guests

Each week will see a rotating cast of comedians join the show as guests. Lee and Guppy say they bring more than just laughs to the show.

Lee: What’s been amazing about the guests is that they’re just bloody funny. What’s also awesome is that it’s been an opportunity for us to unearth some really great comedic talent as well as have famous faces that we already know. 

The person that’s going to be on with me every week is a Melbourne comedian named Mike Goldstein. He grew up in the US and moved here about 15 years ago, so it’s nice to have someone who’s a little bit of an outsider give their perspective on what Australia does and thinks. It generally turns into 103 people ganging up on Mike, which I also like, because Americans need a kick in the balls every now and again. 

Guppy: That’s the thing as well, finding performers that can complement each other in different ways. We have such a great range of comedians and we’ve really looked and worked really hard to make sure they have a really quite distinct style from each other because we want them to bring different things to the table. We want them all to feel differently, as Ando said earlier we’re looking into their lives as much as into our own.

Lee: When you’ve got a hundred people sharing their lives, you just can’t help but chime in with your life and what you’re doing. I feel like the show is as close to radio as I’ve ever felt on television. Hamish and I loved that, loved sharing our lives so thoroughly, and because you then get that same thing back from the listeners. We’re getting the same thing happening with The Hundred.

Andy Lee and Hayden Guppy

Looking Ahead

With The Hundred beginning this week, both Lee and Guppy are excited for people to see the show.

Lee: I just love creating something and it’s been so much fun the last 18 months. I just can’t wait for everyone to see it – hopefully, people enjoy it but also want to be on it. There are not too many shows you can watch and then be on it the very next week, ours is one of them. So if you feel like you want to be a part of The Hundred, people should just apply

Guppy: We are extremely lucky and don’t take a day for granted that we’re able to make this fun, silly show in Covid times. Precautions aside, procedures and policy aside, I think just having this really fun opportunity is great. Ando and I have made shows together for 15 years, so being able to have another lap around the sun as they say is great. 

Lee: And the other thing is that we hope it’s the biggest show in the world!

Guppy: We should have said that from the start!

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