Graham Kennedy


Graham Kennedy : biography

15 February 1934 – 25 May 2005

The Chum Song, I believe, was written and recorded originally by Jack Hilton for a Scottish Newsboys Club.

The lyrics of the chorus are:

Being a chum is fun,
That is why I’m one;
Always smiling, always gay,
Chummy at work,
(and) chummy at play –
Laugh away your worries,
Don’t be sad or glum;
And everyone will know that you’re a
Chum, chum, chum!

Sutcliffe would "corpse", with tears in his eyes, unable to continue; this became so frequent that Kennedy managed to coin a catchphrase, "I love it when he cries".

Kennedy called Sutcliffe "Two Dogs" after delivering a joke ending with the tag "Why do you ask, Two Dogs Rooting?"

Graham Kennedy’s News Show was a rarity in that it was a live news show that had a studio audience. Five nights a week for most of the year, audiences lined up at 10:30 at night just to see Kennedy do his magic in the flesh. Often the funniest parts of the show were in the commercial breaks when Kennedy would come down and join the audience for a chat. He always made a point of telling them a particularly crude joke that was timed so they got the punchline just a second before the show was back on air.

Coast to Coast

On 13 February 1989 the show became Coast to Coast, with Nine journalist John Mangos replacing Sutcliffe[384], and ran until 8 December 1989.

Harry M. Miller

Kennedy engaged Harry M. Miller as his agent. According to biographer Blundell, Kennedy believed that Miller was to donate his commission of $2500 per week to the Wayside Chapel for Kennedy’s appearance on Graham Kennedy’s News Show.Blundell (2003), p. 374

Miller later sued Kennedy for "wrongful termination and for a 20 per cent commission on his 1989 gross earnings."Blundell (2003), p. 387 During the court case Miller "painted a picture of his client of twenty years as a late-night drunk in the habit of sending demanding faxes while under the influence."Blundell (2003), p. 388 Justice Brownie found against Miller, and ordered him to pay $75,699 and costs.

Graham Kennedy’s Funniest Home Videos

Kennedy’s last series was Graham Kennedy’s Funniest Home Video Show which was broadcast between 29 March and 15 November 1990 on the Nine Network.

35 Years of Television

Kennedy presented the introduction segment to the Nine Network special 35 Years of Television in 1991. The segment covered the very early days of television variety, including his own In Melbourne Tonight.

Last television appearance

Kennedy’s last television appearance was in February 1994 in an interview for Ray Martin Presents Graham Kennedy’s Sixtieth. Believing that Martin had ambushed him by departing from a pre-agreed list of questions, Kennedy ensured that much of the interview was unusable for broadcast by peppering his responses with obscenities.

In 2005 John Mangos wrote: He (Kennedy) later explained the experience in a piece for TV Week in an article called ‘In his own words’.

Ray Martin and I had worked together before, and he well knows that if I have the questions in advance, he’ll get a better interview. Everyone knows this – politicians in particular. Ray duly faxed the questions to me, but on the morning of the recording changed them. I was bewildered by this (I think a researcher let him down). I terminated the interview when I didn’t know what he was talking about and went upstairs to lunch.

It was a critical turning point in his career. He vowed never to do television again.

Ray Martin denied any ill intent, saying "We faxed a series of general topics, but it was clear at the outset that much would depend on the general run of the interview […] An ambush was not on the agenda […] He had no complaints. There was never a suggestion that he was unhappy."Blundell (2003), pps. 409, 410

Logie awards

Graham Kennedy coined the name Logie Award in 1960, after the inventor of television, John Logie Baird.

Kennedy received many Logies, including:

  • 5 Gold Logies for the Most Popular Personality on Australian Television (1960, 1967, 1969, 1974, and 1978).
    • He also won the "TV Week Awards’ Star of the Year" award at the inaugural presentation in 1959, and this is sometimes counted as his first Gold Logie, which would give him 6 in total
  • a Special Logie Award – the Star of the Decade in 1967
  • a Hall of Fame Logie Award in 1998. He did not attend the ceremony; the award was accepted on his behalf by Bert Newton.