Pizza: articles

Pizza crew a little less crusty

‘I USED to be a normal guy,” insists the writer, director and star of the cult SBS comedy Fat Pizza, “but now, I have an inkling to do burnouts everyday. I want to talk on the phone more with no seatbelt while I’m driving. I need to have a good sound system. I need to wear gold chains and if I don’t have a road rage, the day’s not complete.”

Yes, those “fully sick” pizza delivery drivers from Western Sydney are back with a new store, new staff and new Honda scooters. Paul Fenech delivers the details. What can we expect in the fourth series?

The show was merely a tweeter of a speaker before. We have truly reached subwoofer with this series. We’ve got everything covered. We’ve got ethnics, we’ve got Islanders, we’ve got Asians, we’ve got trailer trash bogans, fat chicks—it’s all there. This is Australia. Forget Ramsay Street, this is it.

Alex Romano, who plays DJ BJ, ate cockroaches and was shot with paintball pellets to win a role on the show during last year’s Pizza Live competition. How’s he fitting in?

He’s copped a lot of slaps from Bobo. If he survives, he’ll go really good.

You have been called the maverick of multiculturalism…

Pffft. The maverick of multiculturalism. Geez. I’d rather be called the multimillionaire of multiculturalism, but maverick will just have to do.

But you are passionate about presenting a real cross-section of Australians on TV, despite some critics who find the show’s ethnic stereotypes and sexist jokes offensive?

Pizza is about expressing multiculturalism. We do it through humour and yes, we trade on stereotypes, but… we’ve got people from those ethnic groups satirising themselves. We get a real Habib to come in and play Habib. That’s why it’s good. Everyone’s authentic on the show, which probably makes us the only truly multicultural project on Australian television at the moment.

The Pizza series began as a Tropfest film, but where did the original idea come from?

I used to drive past this little pizza shop that was in the middle of nowhere and there were three guys in there watching TV. I just thought, there has to be a show based on this. This is like the world’s worst business.

How do you keep Pizza fresh?

New people have come and added something. We’re like public transport—basically anyone can get on. They come in and I learn about them and they trigger a lot of the storylines from the way they are. With Alex, initially, we had to feel him out a bit, but when we found it… because he’s so skinny and small we put him with Toula’s gang, all these really gigantic chicks—and that’s just funny.

Lots of celebrities appear in this series, including Tim “but wait there’s more” Shaw…

We like to go to the graveyard of celebrities who were once popular and are now still warm, but not quite dead. Tim’s good value and he’s got great comedic timing. If we got someone like Delta Goodrem on the show—she’s a stooge, I can tell you right now—what are we going to do with her? Unless she was nude, she would have no value. She may have no value then either, that’s why she wears all those old women’s clothes. I don’t know.

You’ve made four Pizza series, two specials, a movie and a stage show. Where does it all end?

If I got the vibe people didn’t like it, I’d stop tomorrow. Everyday I get depressed and think everyone’s over it. But then I walk down the street and someone will come up and go ‘Ehh man Pauly! Give me your hat’. As soon as they ask for the hat, I know we’re still loved and so I keep going.

By Erica Thompson
May 26, 2005
The Courier Mail