Kath & Kim: articles

Kim, Kel and Kath

Kel in action with the girls.

It's cool to be Kel

JANE Turner recently said of Kath & Kim co-star Glenn Robbins "he doesn't mind looking completely ridiculous and revolting… he has no vanity".

"If you're doing comedy and you're getting caught up in looking good, then you really shouldn't be doing it," says Robbins.

"It's not about trying to look funny for funny's sake. It's about what's right for the character. I kind of go with what feels right for the character.

"He (Kel of Kath & Kim fame) has a bit of a lisp and he's got a hairdo that he thinks is pretty cool.

"I was watching that show (ABC pop show) Love is in the Air a week ago and all the hairdos weren't too dissimilar to Kel—'60s, '70s.

"Kel's just kind of hung on to that.

"OK, he's a little out of touch, but you know he's happy. That's all that matters."

Robbins, 45, trained as a drama teacher before moving into stand-up comedy in 1981—really hitting his straps in the late 1980s as The Comedy Company's doddering Uncle Arthur.

He went on to work with Kath & Kim co-stars Turner, Gina Riley and Magda Szubanski in the sketch show Fast Forward (where the character of Kath had her genesis).

Also a writer-performer for Tonight Live, Full Frontal and Jimeoin, Robbins has been a regular on Ten's The Panel since 1998 and in the new millennium brought another great gormless Aussie stereotype to life—outback disaster Russell Coight in All Aussie Adventures.

Robbins, however, is quite smitten with his present on-screen sensation—Kel the nerdy new husband of Kath (Turner) in the highest rating ABC comedy show of all time. (Kath & Kim is a regular top 10 hit in Adelaide and nationally.)

"They (the public) do say that they really like him. They love the way he moves. I know that," says Robbins, who seems to have a natural-born knack for creating the iconic klutz. Even to look at him is to laugh.

"They like the way Kel dances, they like the fact that he loves his wife and he appears happy.

"A girl said she couldn't work out whether she found him just a little bit creepy or just a little bit not very likeable.

"I hope he's not creepy. I certainly don't play him as creepy. I know he has a funny look and a funny way of speaking.

"I just see him as a bloke whose requirements in life are pretty simple. He loves his job. He loves his wife. He's pretty happy with his lot (despite being turned down at the altar four times).

"That's kind of it for him. He has a healthy sex life, does his exercises, enjoys his food. It's pretty simple.

"I certainly don't look down on him. I see him as a really good bloke, a really good heart."

Robbins says he doesn't know what's in store for Kath & Kim after tomorrow's finale.

"Quite honestly, we haven't spoken about it. A third series… it may happen, it may not. I know I'd like to work with the girls again. Hopefully that can happen."

He suspects the commercial stations could be trying to muscle in on the action.

"They might be. I'm not part of the production company that creates it. I'm just employed to perform. I don't know about that stuff.

"I dare say that commercial networks would like those sort of ratings—phenomenal ratings."

There is no comment from Kath & Kim creators Jane Turner and Gina Riley or the ABC on the state of negotiations.

As for more of the clueless Coight on Channel 10? "We haven't locked anything down," he says. "I think the network would like to do some more."

By Simon Yeaman
November 05, 2003
The Advertiser