Leigh Hart is no Borat

The promos promised much, the hype was that it was awesome but this viewer has been left disappointed.

Leigh Hart is a master at the piss take.  He’s actually quite good at it and has plenty of fans who like his work but the problem with Leigh Hart’s Mysterious Planet is that there isn’t actually a piss take.

So many scenes were obviously reshot and then edited in to give an appearance of something entirely different from reality.  Had things happened the way the editors had tried to portray them to have happened then perhaps they would have induced a chuckle here or there but the obviousness was painful.  At least when Borat came back from the dinner party with his bag of faeces, the response was real.

I’d laugh at Leigh if he actually had sat there and smeared ink across his face in front of the person he was interviewing.  Or at the weird chick at the end who appeared shocked when Leigh turned off the light and stormed off.  But when you’re thinking “Borat”, you just can’t.

But perhaps the humor is in the obviousness of it all.  Perhaps it’s like those Hitler videos on YouTube about the iPad announcement.  Some random footage that is used to tell a different story from what actually happened.  If this is the case, then perhaps there is some merit in it.  I’m not entirely sure.

What ever the case, the cryptomundo world are onto him.  That in itself is pretty funny.

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About the author

Regan is one of the co-founders of Throng Media.
If they're on, I'm usually watching Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, 24, Battlestar Galactica, The X Factor, Survivor, House of Cards, Mad Men and the NRL.
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  • zenobia

    I agree that it was pretty unfunny. I reckon Leigh hart comes from the Jeremy Wells school of comedy (i.e. school-boy silly, nasty and disrespectful rather than witty and irreverant). Louis Theroux and Marcus Lush, on the other hand, deal with the freaks of the world wonderfully, asking the questions that let the freaks shine, without being disrespectful dicks. They would never take over the scene, as Leigh did at the bigfoot conference. It would have been much funnier to see what the real conference goers were saying. They are the story, not Leigh. The ink scene and the constant shots of KFC buckets were just plain dumb. I was actually embarrassed that this really un-funny kiwi was out there. What a shame this concept was ruined. How good would it have been if Marcus was presenting? I wont be watching again.

  • regan

    Ratings were interesting. Jumped from a 3.9 at the end of Dragon’s Den to a 4.7 for LHMP. A good chunked switched off after 15 minutes though as it dropped to a 3.3 before rebounding to 3.6.

  • Many seem to disagree, check out “Leigh Hart’s Mysterious Planet” on facebook.

  • zenobia

    Sure, he has 1188 “friends” – good marketing – but only 12 (or 1%) of them posted to say they liked the show. Don’t get me wrong, I have found Leigh Hart funny before – but I thought this show was crappy. Love the topic, love the concept – just don’t think Leigh’s approach was that funny. Sorry if he is a relative of yours Greg. No offence meant.

  • someone

    As I understand from the news Greg, facebook is a home for loose cannons to blow their pop. Now the Government us going to legalize “sprinklers”.

    All the same, I must agree criminals have far greater rights than their victims do (or had),

  • No offence taken. He maybe a distant relative (brother actually), but I thought it is some of his best work. I have seen the 1st 4 eps, and they work together as a whole. I don’t think he is trying to be borat, he tends to take the piss out of himself rather than those he is interviewing. Just like people to have an open mind and give it a chance. Not often any good TV comes out of NZ let alone something funny.

  • regan

    Thanks Greg.  I think the disappointing thing here is that going into the series it had the impression that it was going to be quite borat like.  When you end up seeing how heavily edited it was, the show did lose its appeal for me.  I can understand why a fairly large chunk of the audience switched off after 15 minutes.  I would have done so too had it not been for my commitment to seeing it through.

    Even if the show is about Leigh taking the piss out of himself, I’d rather see him do it for real.  Otherwise it just becomes more about taking the piss out of him for making a bad tv show.

  • Bottom Fluff

    Greg, I think you underestimate people’s intelligence… which is what the show does too. An open mind is one thing, knowing what one likes and dislikes is another. Giving it a chance means allowing it time to change a lot to become funny. I’m prepared to do that and I hope it does.

  • JP

    Doesn’t help that he has already done the ink thing before on Sports Cafe (or Moon TV, can’t remember).

    Yeah it was really funny the first time, 2nd time though less so.

    I get comedians do this a lot with their gags for any possible new audience, but still.

  • regan

    The thing with that ink stunt was that it was reshot.  If I want to see someone make a fool of themselves I can log into YouTube any time I want to see people sitting in front of their webcams doing all manner of stupid things.

    I guess I just expect more

  • Rossholio

    Why can’t we just be honest and say that the show is absolute rubbish?

  • Phil

    This show is hilarious. Its the same humor as moon tv which was brilliant. Try removing the broomstick and watch it again

  • Booby

    I hate sports cafe so thought, Leigh Hart, Bleh, but watched last nights show because I couldnt be bothered lifting my head to change the channel.  Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised!  Got more than a few chuckles from it.  The obvious editing is a hoot, and the  random silliness just cracks me up.  Glad he’s not a all like Borat, because Borat is simply gross.  I will be tuning in again next week.

  • Campbell Morrison

    This program is exactly the sort of childish, stupid and ignorant program I have come to expect from our main broadcasters.  Why we can’t have something remotely educational without having to make it funny or down right stupid I don’t know but its the last straw for me, I’ve ordered Sky in the hope the history channel etc might be remotely worth watching once and a while. 

  • Booby

    Dont waste your money getting sky Cambell, we’ve had sky for many many years, and theyre still repeating things we saw 15 years ago. And the repetitive adverts every 5 minutes. Uggh. 100 channels and nothing to watch. Better to spend the money on DVDs.

  • Jared

    This show is complete rubbhish and looks like a complete junket. The amount of travel required is incredible just so they can act like knobs. I hope that it is not NZ on Air funded.

    Agree with Zenobia “I agree that it was pretty unfunny. I reckon Leigh hart comes from the Jeremy Wells school of comedy (i.e. school-boy silly, nasty and disrespectful rather than witty and irreverant).”

    I feel really sorry of the people that he interviews. Poking fun at people and belittling what they believe is just not funny – its cruel.


  • Bucho

    I enjoy Lush, Wells and Theroux but they’re of a different school to Hart in that they present as themselves. The format of Mysterious planet makes Cohen’s Borat and Ali G a much better comparison but Hart’s persona here is also different in that Borat and Ali G are completely constructed, stylised characters. Hart presents as himself, not as Leigh Hart the man, but as “Leigh Hart” the character, a more bumbling, incompetent version of the real guy, like Sarah Silverman or Jerry Seinfeld but in mockumentary form instead of sitcom.

    Because he’s an incompetent buffoon the joke is always on “Leigh Hart” primarily, although if the subjects wish to hang themselves along with his character they’re allowed by the show to do so. When the subject is “normal”, like the guide, professora and tribesmen in the El Dorado episode, they come off just fine, respect intact. When the subject is a crazy person, like almost everyone in the Bigfoot episode, they come across as a crazy person.

    That’s the real difference between Borat (which seem to me to also be constructed from some obviously set-up and reshot scenes) and Mysterious Planet. The fact that everyone in Borat must be mocked by the film, whereas in Mysterious Planet the show only mocks “Leigh Hart”. And I think you nail it when you say the obviousness is part of the deal Regan, and really the show doesn’t seriously attempt to hide that obviousness. Some of the outlandish things that occur, like Hart falling off platforms and out of cars, can only be “staged”. Otherwise the man would be in traction half his life and never get any television made at all.

  • Geez guys, come on. If everyone had the same sense of humour then life would be boring as shit. Obviously the viewing demographic for this show is people who aren’t comedy snobs and just want a few good laughs at somebody goofing off. Which is what Leigh Hart does better than ANY kiwi that I know of. Sure, Mysterious Planet recycles gags and material but which comedian doesn’t?

    And suggestions of Leigh being disrespectful are ridiculous. People that command respect get it, he only makes a fool of himself. People that don’t command respect? Well, as expected they dig their own grave really..

    Glancing through these comments shows me there are some real stiffs watching this show, why bother? You’re obviously not going to enjoy it. Its bizarre that in this thread people are both lancing him for being unauthentic then for the complete opposite, saying he’s cruel and disrespectful! Lighten up, drama queens!

    Chalk up another great series to Leigh Hart!