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TGYH began as an Australian TV show in which several famous actors having to improvise their way through a random situation. Hosted by veteran Aussie actor Shane Bourne, each episode of the Australian original features four prominent members of the Australian entertainment business thrown into bizarre scenes. The 'performer' is dressed in an appropriate costume, sent through a blue door into small set where they are greeted with the words "Thank God you're here" and expected to completely make up their names, answers to questions, songs, speeches, ideas etc., often with hilarious results.
They are then 'judged' by Tom Gleisner, who always manages to give everyone a high score.
Once every performer has done his or her situation, the entire cast is thrown in to one last scene together for the All-In Group Challenge. The cast usually end up playing idiots or Jerkasses, or frequently both, just for the humour in watching them justify it. Occasionally, the performer will never try to justify any horrible thing their character did, and will just be even worse. It's always hilarious.
Good performers often create ridiculous lines like, "My grandfather actually lost a leg in the war. It wasn't his, he was a medic." or in an All-In Group Challenge where they were Vikings:
Ken the Conqueror: It slices, it dices. But wait there's more. It also works as a - Ken?
Ken Who Tried to Conquer But Failed: Killing thing.
Ken the Conqueror: So when you're attacking by the enemy, don't stab him, slice him and dice him, pop him in the freezer and have him a bit later on.
The fourth season ran on a different network after a year-long break on the part of the producers. The show has been sold to 13 different countries, with results varying wildly.
Provides Examples Of:
- Actor Allusion: One of The Wiggles, Anthony Fields, was costumed as a karate instructor, and devised a martial art where skill was denoted by different coloured skivvies.
- Affectionate Parody: 90% of sketches, covering everything from Star Trek to Twilight.
- Ass Pull: As stated above, the whole point of the show.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: Several contestants have tried this: on one occasion, Frank Woodley ran off the set while playing a ships captain in the middle of a crisis. He received a Dishonourable Mention from Tom for this one.
- Bob Franklin does it better, though, when he comments on his and others performances without really breaking character.
- Shaun Micallef once mentioned having "a wall taken out and all these people put in" while gesturing at the audience.
- Brick Joke: Josh Lawson claiming to speak Tasmanian.
- A quite blatantly set up one where Fifi Box is asked a question involving a trip to Dubbo funded by her magazine. She replies with a joke from another player earlier, "Because they make good pies!"
- Car Meets House
- Dawson Casting: Whenever the actors play someone younger then themselves. Also subverted in a Kate Langbroek sketch, where she played a cheerleading squad applicant, which had a running gag where the applicant-takers would continually reveal facts about her that drove up her characters age (Starting with her character being a pensioner and working up from there).
- Similarly inverted in a memorable sketch where Julia Zemiro was confronted by her parents over what appears to be a Wild Teen Party. She tries to justify it by reminding them of her excellent VCE results, only to be told that that was 14 years ago.
- Digging Yourself Deeper: Sometimes, a performer can dig themselves into a pit. Frank Woodley, in particular, runs on it.
- For Science!:
Tom Gleisner: "I'm afraid though that I'm going to have to take points off for heavy breathing on one of our models."
Hamish Blake: "It was for science."
- Genre Savvy: The producers show this when they lock the cages of the animals during a Frank Woodley sketch, if they hadn't he would have juggled the animals.
- Hunting the Most Dangerous Game: Featuring Angus Sampson as an Egomaniac Hunter (and romance novelist).
- Jerkass: Frequently the character the performers end up playing.
- Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Sometimes performers are introduced as having an accent. Sometimes they put one on. They usually screw up at some point.
- The most memorable would have to be, again, Frank Woodley, who in one sketch set in colonial era Australia had his accent go on a drunken tour of the English-speaking world, probably averaging out at Irish.
- The Points Mean Nothing: Though no mention is ever made of this fact.
- Railroading: Sometimes the ensemble cast ends up having to do this rather obviously, in order to keep the skit going in the direction they meant.
- At least twice Bob Franklin has praised them for doing so, in-character and in the middle of the scene. "Well played, sir. Back on track."
- Running Gag: Josh Lawson trying to leave before the skit is over.
- Shout-Out: To all kinds of things (Ross Noble, as a fantasy hero, found himself deluged in Warhammer references, for example).
- Too Dumb to Live: Also what performers end up playing.