Mike Goldstein can probably be forgiven for not knowing what the Smith’s Chips ‘Gobbledok’ is all about.
After all the ad campaign with a delirious chippie mascot hit screens in 1987, and the Colorado-born American didn’t arrive in Australia until around 2010.
Despite proudly considering himself at home in Australia, there are still things he is learning as part of The Hundred with Andy Lee.
“The Gobbledok just looked like children’s nightmares to me. I had no idea what was going on,” he admits.
“And I thought ‘Fair Dinkum’ was a made-up phrase just for people to mess with me. There’s plenty that’s come up that I’ve had to educate myself about. But I think I’m half Australian at this point.”
Since 2020, Goldstein has been a regular on Andy Lee’s panel show in which 100 Australians answer questions on our favourite habits, stats and characteristics. Joined by two fellow comedians, it’s a battle to see who knows Australia best.
Comedy wasn’t initially his occupation but he took a chance after relocating to Perth for romance.
“I’d done some comedy in the States at open mics but I was a lawyer in Perth for a couple of years, moonlighting as a comedian. Eventually I thought I’d just do comedy full time. So I transitioned from one profession filled with bitter alcoholics to another one filled with bitter alcoholics.”
He met Lee after trolling him on Twitter, followed by a podcast where the pair hit it off.
“Then we played tennis a few times, which I don’t think he likes talking about because he’s never won a match. From there, the show was in development, we did a bunch of zoom trial episodes, then I flew to Sydney to do a test pilot with Nazeem Hussain and Julia Zemiro,” he recalls.
“Instead of 100 I think we had 10 people on the screen. We figured out that the format work and went from there.”
As it turns out, The Hundred was one of television’s few new shows to launch during the pandemic which is still running.
Despite only a few television appearances on shows such as Raw Comedy, Just for Laughs, Celebrity Letters and Numbers he appreciates Lee’s support convincing Nine execs to take a chance on him for The Hundred. Were there any network hestiations he is aware of?
“I mean, I wasn’t privy to those conversations, but I’m sure they happened behind closed doors. Andy’s always been a big champion of mine and comes to all my solo stand up shows. I’ve still got the job, so I must be doing something right.”
The role is now shared with Sophie Monk, who also features in tonight’s season premiere along with Tom Gleeson.
“We’re on a bunch of episodes together. But then some she’ll do that I won’t be on or vice versa. She’s just so naturally funny. When she doesn’t actually know what a reference is or what the actual stat is about, she gets humour out of having us explain things to her. She excels at not knowing what people are talking about, which is fantastic,” he continues.
“I love people who are going for the gag. Sophie is very competitive and she’s going for the win, which brings a fun element to it. But going for the joke, something I can bounce off…. the best way I think of is to be competitive, but try to think of a dumb joke when you can.”
Goldstein welcomes the laughs that emerge in studio from the impromptu responses given by the 100 participants, before a studio audience.
“It’s the only show that I can think of where you’re kind of sandwiched by the audience. You’ve got The Hundred on screen and then you have the studio audience. Hopefully they’re entertained and their into it. Six seasons in, I think we’re doing a pretty good job.”
The Hundred with Andy Lee returns 9pm Tuesday on Nine.