Each episode is uploaded to YouTube two days before it airs on ABC’s Comedy channel. Though commercial broadcasters might balk at this model, Walton embraces it.
“The Superwog YouTube channel has almost 1 million subscribers,” he says. “And it’s not a passive audience; it’s an active fanbase. These guys can’t walk down the street without people stopping them for selfies.”
A decade ago, in their early 20s, the Saidden brothers began uploading skits to YouTube. In each, they play a variety of “wog” characters, from a tough-talking teen to a voluble mother and quick-tempered father. A few hundred clicks, they figured, would justify the effort. But it wasn’t long before the viewcount soared into the millions, prompting them to quit their day jobs (Theo was a lawyer; Nathan, a courier driver) and devote themselves to comedy.
Raised in Sydney, they attended an elite Anglican college: a place of green blazers, boater hats and wealthy alumni. “Dad was really intrigued by this,” Nathan told Good Weekend in 2014. “He would come to the school events with his big belly and hair coming out of his chest and his shaved, balding head. He used to scream when I was running in school carnivals and everyone would look at him.”
From an early age, the boys amused each other by impersonating their Greek-Egyptian mother and Egyptian father. When they uploaded their first clip to YouTube, they had a single goal: to make people laugh.
“The only question for us is, ‘Is it funny?’” Theo says. “All we care about is being funny.”
Walton says the series – which follows the Superwog family as they navigate life in white-bread suburbia – will not be sanitised for television. After all, the Saiddens have already achieved success in the brutally Darwinian world of online comedy. Only a fool would mess with their formula.
“You might ask why a white, bald middle-aged guy is making a show called Superwog,” Walton laughs. “But my job is about getting out of the way instead of trying to control.”
When the Saiddens were young, their father played Monty Python albums in the car. This sparked their interest in other types of comedy: the physical humour of Robin Williams, the impersonations of Barry Humphries, and the stand-up of Eddie Murphy and Dave Chappelle.
Elements of each are evident in their new series. “We’ve had a few people come up and say, ‘Jeez, you guys are really lifting your game’,” Theo says.
“That means a lot to us. We’re constantly trying to make our stuff better for the fans.”
WHEN: 6pm October 7 on Superwog YouTube channel, then 9.30pm October 9 on ABC Comedy and iview
Michael Lallo is a Senior Entertainment Writer for The Age and Sydney Morning Herald. Michael joined Fairfax Media in 2006 as a feature writer. He has also been a news reporter for The Sunday Age, a deputy editor of Green Guide and a columnist and critic.