Based on the smash-hit UK series of the same name, Taskmaster takes five comedians and sees them attempt to complete ridiculous tasks, all under the watchful eye of the Taskmaster himself, Tom Gleeson.
Sitting alongside Tom Gleeson is his devoted assistant, Tom Cashman, who assists the comedians throughout the process with such helpful tips as, “All the information is written on the task”.
Competing in the very first season for glory — and a priceless trophy of the Taskmaster’s head — are Julia Morris, Luke McGregor, Jimmy Rees, Nina Oyama and Danielle Walker. Speaking to 10 Play, Julia described the experience as “a big injection of fun”.
Julia explained that her agent is a big fan of the UK series, and her bestie Urzila Carlson starred in the second season of Taskmaster New Zealand. The pair convinced her to give the Aussie version a try.
“I had the most fun I’ve had in three years,” Julia told 10 Play. “We laughed so hard, we worked hard but we laughed even harder. I didn’t even get exposed to all the other comedians until we did the live shows, and then we laughed seven times as hard.”
The comedians complete the tasks at the Taskmaster’s compound, before gathering together in front of him to watch back how they all did, being scored and chastised in equal measure by the ruthless Gleeson.
“Each task is more ridiculous than the last and, as you read it you’re like ‘I can’t do this, how am I going to do this?’ Luckily after all these years in reality television, I knew if I didn’t think I was going to do the task very well I tried to be funny.
“No one wants to see me do something well, that’s boring. That’s Instagram!”
Describing herself as “a good lateral thinker but not a very sensible thinker”, Julia realised that one of the toughest challenges was the complete lack of validation Cashman would offer during the tasks.
“I’m built for validation! Every single task felt difficult to me because I was just like oh god, am I doing this right?”
Coming together to watch how everyone did in the tasks, and to be scored accordingly, Julia said the audience can expect to see “a vulnerability that you never get to see” from each of the comedians.
“No one was doing stand-up, so what we got was the real version of each of those people. You have to throw all of your politeness away and try to get the task done,” she said.
“Say I’m hosting something, you’re king of the castle! When you’re a contestant on something you’re not… it’s a very different experience,” Julia continued. “It just reignited my fun button.”
The show also allows comedians to play together, with Julia admitting that being a stand-up comedian can often be a lonely business.
“This show is an opportunity to really showcase some of our young talent coming through and not necessarily at all beginners, these are established comedians and loads of different levels of the industry and absolutely owning it in their own territories,” she said.
“Nina’s got prolific output, she’s a brilliant writer and terrific young comedian. Danielle is just an explosion of incredible brilliance. The boys are fabulous as well - Luke, I mean is it ever going to get any better than Luke McGregor just in life? It’s never going to get any better, he’s like a perfect human,” Julia continued.
“Jimmy Rees was so much fun to work with on a completely different level to the Jimmy Rees we think we know from either his internet breakthrough from COVID or his time as a children’s presenter. He’s a super layered, funny, clever man. These are very fun people to play with.
“Every single one of these contestants is going to shine through this show.”
Taskmaster Australia premieres Thursday, February 2 at 7.30 on Network 10 and 10 Play on demand