In a Logies preview last week, writer Simon Hughes suggested that the ABC’s Kerry O’Brien my have been a little the worse for wear as the cameras lapped the room on Logies night 2000. Not so, says O’Brien. Not so, too, says 2000 host Andrew Denton.

Kerry O’Brien writes: I don’t know Simon Hughes or his journalism, but I assume that in last Friday’s Crikey he’s magnified a bit of misguided folklore to paint me as being rolling drunk in an impromptu cameo appearance with Andrew Denton at the Logies seven years ago. He certainly wasn’t basing it on fact.

There are many friends and acquaintances who would testify that I enjoy a drink and a chat, but my only sin that night was to try to match wits with Andrew when he caught me on camera in an unguarded moment and threw a couple of wicked questions about my then-boss Jonathan Shier. It was, in fact, pre-recorded quite early in the night when I’d barely had a drink. Andrew was flying high on adrenaline himself, and dropped a comment as he left the table implying that I’d had a few. It was a half-smart Channel Nine producer who stitched me up by putting several freeze frames of me to air later in the evening with thought bubbles implying I was half-cut. If it ever became a real issue, there were others at the table also in full control of their faculties at the time, who would put the lie to Crikey’s tale.

I’ve got used to being verballed (and libelled) over the years on various things, but to dredge this up years later and write as a fact that I was visibly and uncontrollably p-ssed on national television, and should therefore be cast into the Logies Hall of Notoriety is just a bit much to cop.

Andrew Denton writes: No, I don’t think Kerry was pissed. I think he was having a good time and — bless him — actually wanted to play along (which put him in stark contrast to most of the interchangeable image-hounds that make up the bulk of our industry). In fact, he represented the spirit of what the Logies used to be many years ago, when people understood that, in show business, the word “show”  comes first. Now, of course, in the days of equity investors, that concept is laughable, if not dangerous. So … full marks to Kerry for letting his hair get messy.

Peter Fray

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