Channel 9

Dave Hughes almost went too far in Logies monologue

DAVE Hughes destroyed Australia's A-list in a harsh and hilarious opening monologue at the 59th Annual TV Week Logie Awards - skewering everything from Karl Stefanovic's split and Channel Seven boss Tim Worner's scandal to troubled Olympian Grant Hackett.

The comedian clocked up close to 15 minutes of material that left the room of Australian TV's biggest names with their heads in their hands. But for some viewers at home, Hughes cut too close to the bone.

"Lisa Wilkinson has never been nominated for a Gold Logie. That's ridiculous, isn't it? Karl has already won one, so he doesn't need any more attention, do you, Karl?" Hughes quipped during Sunday night's ceremony as Stefanovic squirmed in his chair.

"No, I'm not going to give it to Karl. If I do, Ita Buttrose will bash me. Ita said on Channel Ten, 'Leave Karl alone!' I agree, you know. Karl, the paparazzi followed him to America. That made me angry. I can't get them to follow me down the street.

"I could walk down Bourke Street with four hookers and a wheelbarrow of drugs and they wouldn't follow me."

Talking to after skewering Aussie TV's finest, Hughes said he was worried about dellivering "every joke" in the monologue.

"Every time I do that (Logies) I think I'm going to ruin my career and even when I'm halfway through and people are laughing and clapping, I still think I'm going to ruin my career. I don't know why I do it every year," he said.

"They told me to go for it and be edgy. I actually felt pressure to be even more edgy. You just hope no one hates you but I'm trying to get selfies with everyone in the room who I made jokes about. I've got a few so far. I haven't seen George Colombaris yet but he'll be fine (laughs)."

While Stefanovic's recent split from wife Cassandra Thorburn was expected material for the host, fans were unsure if the comedian would touch more controversial topics like Seven CEO Tim Worner's recent ordeal. But it wasn't off limits for Hughes - sneaking a jab at the end of a joke that started with star of The Wrong Girl and Love Child Jessica Marais.

"She is up for two shows. She is up for Channel Nine's Love Child and Channel Seven's The Wrong Girl. Oh, Channel Ten, sorry. No, sorry. Channel Ten, sorry. Channel Seven were working on a pilot of The Wrong Girl, that was starring their CEO Tim Worner, and ... That was more a reality show," he said as the crowd gasped.

"He picked the wrong girl to mess with. It was going really well, but they thought it was too expensive and they tried to cancel it. I've never worked on Channel Seven and I probably never will!"

The faces of Offspring stars Asher Keddie and Kat Stewart said it all.

Kat Stewart and Asher Keddie react to Hughesy’s Worner gag.
Kat Stewart and Asher Keddie react to Hughesy’s Worner gag. News Corp Australia

Talking about that Worner joke, Hughes said he was unsure how it would be received.

"Some of the jokes I've tried in comedy rooms before but never that one," he said. "I was really f*cking happy when it did go well. Just before I went on I thought to myself, 'F*ck, I'll say The Wrong Girl was on Channel 7 and then people will yell at me that it's Channel 10'. That occurred to me just before I went on and I thought, 'f*ck, that's the way to do it.' And it just worked. Not everything works but when it does it's f*cking sweet."

Just hours before the ceremony, Amber Harrison - the former Seven staffer at the centre of Worner's sex scandal - jokingly offered to lend Hughes her legal team to deal with the fallout.

Family Feud host Grant Denyer also got a mention. The Gold Logie nominee recently cheated death after a horror rally car crash near Melbourne.

"He's still an adrenaline junkie, isn't he? He is racing car driver. About a month ago, he crashed his car into a tree at 160km/h. The only thing that saved him was the seven pillows he was sitting on," Hughes said. "And the booster seat.

"No, Grant took the piss out of me on Family Feud a month ago and survey says pay back is a bitch, Grant."

The mere mention of Denyer's first name caused the joke to spiral into a completely different -and unexpected - joke about troubled Olympian Grant Hackett.

" ... He's a great Australian, but he's been a bit whingey," he said. "See him on Instagram, put a selfie of himself with a black eye and said, 'Look what my brother did'. That's what brothers do, Grant, be a dick and they give you a clip. Look on the bright side, you could be Kim Jong-un's brother."

While the joke scored laughs - and gasps - in the room, some viewers at home thought the comedian went too far mocking the athlete and making light of mental health issues.

While the major commercial networks recently copped flak for their persistent rolling coverage of Cyclone Debbie and the devastation it caused in North Queensland, Hughes took issue with it for a different reason.

"I don't know if it was windy enough," he quipped. "I mean, there was a lot of reporters outside going, 'It's windy!' I'm thinking, 'Go inside then, if it's windy! The trees are OK'.

"The most harrowing footage I saw was a shopping trolley wheeling across a car park. I reckon it was downhill and I think maybe the cameraman pushed it.

"If you are going to have 24/7 coverage for about four days, I want to see a cow flying across a canefield. Even if Kochie has to shoot the Cash Cow out of a cannon to make it happen."

Next up, George Calombaris and a recent pay bungle where restaurant staff were underpaid up to $2.6 million.

"George said he was devastated to find out. He was devastated to find out. He was devastated when he found out. If he hadn't found out, he wouldn't have been devastated," he deadpanned. "But in his defence, he said he's a chef, not an accountant. Apparently that's why he cooked the books."

Where most hosts would stop, Hughes continued to roars from the crowd. The comedian left no stone in Australia's entertainment industry unturned.

On The Biggest Loser being scrapped from prime time:

"You can still catch it at two in the afternoon," he helpfully pointed out. "No. It is a great show. It is a great show, but they had thin people on. That wasn't going to work out. I love opening night weigh-in night - I was sitting down and I heard someone say they weigh 75kg. I looked up and thought, 'They better be two foot tall!' They were normal size. I weigh 88kg. How can I enjoy my nachos watching that?

"Opening night of bloody Biggest Loser, I wanted them to be craned out of their houses. I want the first weigh-in to be down on the Hume Highway at a truck weighbridge."

On his show Australia's Got Talent being cancelled:

"There were some fireman strippers on one episode, getting a standing ovation. As the host, I thought I would get involved," he recalled.

"I ran out, took all my clothes off. Part of it, it became a promo for the show. Watching TV one afternoon with my three-year-old daughter, daddy runs on to the flat screen, rips off his shirt. My three-year-old daughter goes, 'Dad, you should never show your tummy on TV'. I said, 'You should never sh*t in the bath, but you do, don't you? I don't make you feel bad about that, do I?'"

On Serena Williams winning Australian Open while pregnant:

"I just found out Serena Williams won it 10 weeks pregnant," he said. "That has changed my attitude now I go on public transport. If I'm sitting on a tram and a standing pregnant woman gives me the stink eye, I'll go, 'Serena Williams. She won the Grand Slam, you can stand on the way to Coburg."