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EXCLUSIVE: "We always poke fun at ourselves": The Living Room cast reveal what makes their show so special

''We all have so many little quirks and flaws that we all know about.''

By TV Week team
Australians love to take the mickey out of each other. It's in our nature to keep a friend in check, poke good fun and find the humour in everyday. But on national television, the smallest slip-up can spell disaster.
For co-hosts Amanda Keller, Dr Chris Brown, Barry Du Bois and Miguel Maestre, every moment on the box together is a hilarious exercise in finding the line – and after 10 seasons on The Living Room together, they admit it's getting harder to see!
Barry Du Bois, Amanda Keller, Dr Chris Brown and Miguel Maestre are back for another season of The Living Room. (Image: Paul Suesse)
"It gets to the point where nothing is off limits," Chris, 43, reveals to TV WEEK. "We all have so many little quirks and flaws that we all know about. It makes being around power tools very dangerous because everyone comes in fully armed and really looking to unleash hell on each other."
Miguel, 42, adds that the foursome is vastly different – "we know what irritates each other so we use it continuously [laughs] – but their chemistry is undeniable.
"When we film, there's a feeling of living in the moment," the Spanish chef says. "I've never had a script, it's all very loose and spontaneous. We always poke fun at ourselves."
But has it ever gone too far?
"Oh yeah. It happens more regularly than you'll ever realise," Chris replies. "There are so many things that we say that cross a line. There have been moments where some very, very personal details have been revealed or we've been laughing about something only meant for us, that we have to take out."
"We always poke fun at ourselves." (Image: Paul Suesse)
Chris, a certified veterinarian, reveals that when the show first began in 2012, it took Miguel, aka "The Spanish Bull", some time to adjust.
"We went to Chile together on our first story. It was a very dramatic way to start and he took a while to work out that when I paid him out and made fun of what he'd done, it was a sign I liked him and he was a mate of mine. In Spain you don't do that – you just say nice things. That's not the Australian way, we love to cut our mates down," he says. "So Miguel took a few years to get his head around it but has come back with a vengeance!"
It's this inherent ability to 'find the funny' that has kept TLR on the box and the recipient of. Amanda, who also co-hosts Jonesy & Amanda each morning on WSFM, reveals they initially hoped to film the show in front of a live audience.
"It was our dream to do the show live," The TV WEEK Gold Logie nominee says. "We would love to just to have things go awry; animals run amuck, Miguel going crazy, a band. In the meantime, we try and record as live as we can so it feels like it's all happening as you're watching."
According to Chris, Spanish-born Miguel took a while to adjust to the Aussie sense of humour. (Image: Paul Suesse)
Amanda, 60, jokingly adds that, amid the hilarious hijinks, she forgets that Miguel, Barry and Chris are experts in their fields.
"I do sometimes get surprised when the guys come up with information, because all three of them are so stupid," she says with a laugh. "I did a story with Chris once where he gave my dog a checkup, because I heard that if you clean your dog's teeth - they have to go into a general anaesthetic to have it done - you can prolong their life by two years. So he did and then I thought, 'God I always make jokes about Chris but he has my dog's life is in his hands!'"
As it enters its 11th season, resident builder and design expert Barry Du Bois is still counting his lucky stars he got the call to join the show, alongside Amanda and two "naughty boys".
"It is a family that's for sure. I sit with Amanda, we talk about the world and we look for a shining light in the world, but those boys are a couple of characters no doubt about it!" Barry, 61, says, adding that his ongoing battle with plasmacytoma, a cancer of the immune system, is helped by the never-ending support of the fans.
"There are a whole lot of people that love us and that's one of the gifts that has kept me strong. I'm really proud to say that I have been through some ups and downs but that love keeps us strong."
As the lifestyle program returns, viewers can expect two things: a renovated set and a "lighter touch" approach. In the midst of a global pandemic, people have spent more time at home than ever before and now relish in creature comforts such as cooking and gardening – an area TLR team know a thing or two about.
"We've turned our attention to how we're spending so much time at home, so let's make them feel better whether that means odd jobs around the house or cooking. We're now coming in with a more human touch, because I think that's what is needed on a Friday night," Amanda explains.
"I'm really proud to say that I have been through some ups and downs but that love keeps us strong." (Image: Paul Suesse)
Barry adds that the scaled-back program allows them to connect with people at home – a signature trait of the show.
"Last year became awkward for the show because we weren't able to achieve some of the things we wanted to," he says. "Now there is something for everybody. Not everybody can do a kitchen renovation but a lot of people want to know how to put up a shelf."
The back to basics module is a welcome shift for Miguel who enjoys sharing his passion for food.
"We have a new segment called The Helpdesk where viewers can ask us things. I've been doing just a lot of cook the basics, that's what I like to teach people, how to make cooking quite easy for people at home."
Some things, however, will never change. The Fab Four are committed to providing laughter and learnings to Friday nights. And yes, they welcome the chaos!
"I've never laughed as hard as I did this season." (Image: Paul Suesse)
"I've never laughed as hard as I did this season," Amanda says. "I'll turn to Chris and say, 'How many years did you study to become a vet?' when he's doing something completely ludicrous [laughs].
"But if there was an ethos of our show, that would be it: I had a great time and I've come away learning something. It's been a great ride for all of us. I hope we bring people into a happy place."
The Living Room's 11th season returns to Channel 10 on Friday, April 8 at 7.30pm

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