Hello, and welcome back to my EXCLUSIVE interview with Mark Humphries.
When we left off last time, Mark was saying that the highlight of the whole experience was getting to attend the Logie Awards (also known as AustralianTelevision’sNightOfNightsWhenTheBrightestClichesComeOutToShine).
BUT, as it turns out, that wasn’t the only highlight of his whole Pointless hosting adventure… ============================================================================
MH: The other highlight was finally having a decent income for a change! Because obviously there’s not a lot of money in what I had been doing (comedy sketches on the public broadcaster). And the shows that I’d been working on don’t run all year round; so there are months at a time where you are unemployed; there are lots of rocky periods with freelancing. And before I worked in TV, I worked in a warehouse so I’d never really had a proper job. It was nice to finally go “okay, I can breathe”; nice to get a little bit of breathing space.
SH: Great. Because, yeah – it is commercial TV, so you’d expect it to be fairly well paid. And you did record 184 episodes, for goodness’ sake!
MH: Yeah. I mean, it wasn’t crazy money, but it was enough to give me some breathing space. I’d have loved it to have run for years so that I could get the deposit for a house or something. It never quite got to that level, but it was nice to have some breathing room, because I was one of those people who was always about two weeks away from bankruptcy! So that was an upside.
But there was a downside too; the people who would go out of their way to make you feel terrible. The people who would Direct Message you on Twitter or Facebook to tell you they don’t like you
MH: Yeah. I must say they were largely Family Feud fans, and I get it. (Family Feud was the previous show in the Pointless time slot). Grant (Denyer, Family Feud‘s host) was part of their lives for many years, and they loved that show. It was part of their routine… but it was insane, some of the stuff people would send.
SH: So how do you protect yourself from that? Because I guess it can take you by surprise, if you’re just unsuspectingly opening a message. I guess you could give yourself a blackout on Facebook and Twitter, but then you’d miss all the good stuff too, wouldn’t you?
MH: (LAUGHING) Yeah! I never got to read all the lovely comments! I did get to read all the lovely comments when the show was cancelled, though! How did I deal with it? Well, I guess the process of being in the public eye over a number of years has led to a gradual hardening of my skin.That’s slowly built up. But yes, it was unpleasant and there were moments of frustration… but then I had been through some of that stuff before, in response to some political stuff that I had done. People had very strong opinions about some of that stuff.
Andrew Rochford was very good with any of that negativity stuff; he’s really good at compartmentalizing, and he was a great, great help to me. From a mental health standpoint, he was incredibly supportive and understanding. So I’m really indebted to him; I don’t think I would have managed to get through the process without him. In fact, there were actually a couple of episodes where I burst into tears during the filming.
SH: Oh, Mark!
MH: But it wasn’t actually related to the online stuff; it was more a combination of exhaustion and a couple of emotional things that happened on the show; things that I just wasn’t ready for. Because it’s a quiz show, you expect it to be quite light and fun. So if anything from real life creeps in, it can be quite startling. There was a contestant who told a really lovely story about how she knew that her husband was ‘The One’. And it just broke me – it was so beautiful.
SH: Right, right.
MH: And so we stopped filming, and she said “Do you want a hug?” and I said “Yes, yes!” (LAUGHING) Of course, none of this is on camera – and I think that’s sort of a shame, in a way – then she comforted me for a moment and we got on with the show.
You see? Game show hosts ARE human, after all! Next week, Mark talks about the other moment when a contestant unexpectedly stopped him in his tracks, and he reveals the one thing he misses most about hosting the show….
Until then, please stay safe, stay healthy and stay home.