EXCLUSIVE: Andy Lee spills on hosting his own show without best mate Hamish Blake

“The stakes were pretty high.”

By Laura Masia
With their feet aching from a long day of shooting Hamish & Andy's Gap Year Asia, comedians Andy Lee and Hamish Blake sought shelter in a tiny massage parlour in China.
As they reclined, the pair became absorbed in a bizarre show on the television in front of them.
"We couldn't understand any of it, but it looked so cool," Andy Lee, 39, tells TV WEEK with a chuckle.
Little did they know they were watching the Chinese version of The Cube.
Andy's set to host the new reality show. (Channel Ten)
Now, eight years later, Andy is, by chance, the passionate host of the Australian version of the show, which sees contestants stand in a perspex cube to complete a range of physical and mental challenges.
With each successful challenge completed, the prize money increases until it reaches $250,000.
"Anyone who knows me knows I love skill games," Andy says. "I'm constantly playing them with friends and family. My girlfriend gets sick of it!"
Andy is no stranger to working with out Hamish. (Supplied)
For viewers, it's strange to see him without his partner-in-crime Hamish, but not so for Andy.
"We've done stuff on our own since the start," the former TV WEEK Gold Logie Award nominee says. "Whether they're partly publicised or our own side projects, we've always done little bits and pieces."
After appearing on The Front Bar, Talkin' 'Bout Your Generation and writing kids books, Andy feels confident going it on his own.
"I love working with Hame and, with podcasting, we can still do that throughout the year," Andy says, mentioning that his favourite place to be is working with the production company, Radio Karate, he owns with Hamish, Ryan Shelton and Tim Bartley.
"They're always my preferred people to hang out with. The Cube is a good new challenge."

But as an executive producer on the show, Andy is just as excited by the behind-the-scenes details as he is about the impressive gameplay.
"This show has 140 cameras," Andy enthuses. "If you watch TV shows based on camera angles, ours is the superior show."
Ultimately, the show's magic lies in the types of games played in The Cube.
"Anyone can play [the games]," Andy explains.
"The show is really about how you handle pressure – all the games are doable, but can you do them in that particular moment?"
With only nine lives to spare, contestants must put everything on the line to take home any prize money. Andy believes COVID often had an impact on how decisions were made.
"I could sense that people were more concerned about their finances," he says. "It added to the pressure… the stakes were pretty high."
Andy spent his lockdown with girlfriend Rebecca.
Living in Melbourne, Andy and his partner of six years, model Rebecca Harding, were subject to an intense lockdown period in 2020.
Stuck inside, it forced them to slow down, a lesson the podcast host needed.
"I realised that things can slow down and stop and it's not the end of the world," he says.
"That's something I benefited from."
Andy admits that while he isn't ready to slow down and start his own family just yet, for now, he's relishing a different role: being an uncle to his nephews George and Fred.
"I'm a strict uncle, which I know sounds weird. I'm fun, but there's no messing about," Andy explains, sharing that he has a "no crying" policy in his house.

Despite his firm attitude, the kids know he's got their backs, especially when they need guidance.
"George is going off to school for the first time," Andy reports. "He was nervous, so we caught up to play a little bit of golf. That's the best thing about golf – you can pretend it's not a therapy session and get into how people are actually feeling.
"We did that with George to make sure he was feeling good about school."
With The Cube and podcast keeping him busy, Andy is hoping that this year he can have more fun on and off screen.
"That's the goal for 2021!" he says.
The Cube premieres Wednesday 17th February, 7.30pm, on 10.

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