The TV veteran, 57, was one of several high-profile ‘victims’ of Gleeson’s tongue-in-cheek smear campaign during Logies voting. Taking to the stage to accept his Gold Logie, glass of wine in hand, Gleeson had taunted those in the room who “wanted it” — while cameras cut to a less-than-impressed Keller:
Denton asked his friend of 40 years what she was thinking in that moment.
“I wasn’t unimpressed that he won — I think I was a little unimpressed with the speech. There was a lack of graciousness. He wanted to make it a joke, and I get that … (But) I thought it was unfortunate that we were made to feel that we were needy or up ourselves for wanting it, or for thinking it mattered. I didn’t mind that I didn’t win — I’d been nominated before and didn’t win, that’s fine. This felt more personal this year.”
Keller admitted that Gleeson’s sarcastic smear campaign in the lead-up to the awards had taken a toll.
“Every interview I did, I was asked about what Tom had said about us — the comedic firing he’d done at us all. It wasn’t an easy process. We were made to feel ashamed for being in the television industry, and I don’t think that’s fair, because this industry supports a lot of jobs. The Australian television industry tells our stories. With Netflix and HBO eating into all of this stuff, we should be celebrating the Australian television industry,” she said.
“Every other industry has an awards night — why are we made to look foolish for caring at our own?” she asked — a question that earned a hearty round of applause from Denton’s studio audience.
“Carrie Bickmore changed the world when she won Gold. She’s raised like $20 million for brain cancer research. Grant Denyer spoke so beautifully about redemption, Waleed had spoken about inclusiveness … you don’t have to make a deep speech, it doesn’t have to be that, but I don’t think we should be ashamed of having it mean something,” she said.
Denton, who was nominated for the Gold Logie in 2008 and 2009 but never won, joked that he’d formed a support group for failed Gold Logie nominees she was welcome to join.
“I’m not sure how I feel about that Andrew; I don’t want your pity,” she quipped.
Elsewhere in the interview, Keller talked about her 15 years on air in commercial radio as one half of the Jonesy and Amanda breakfast team, a medium where oversharing about one’s personal life is part of the job.
Keller admitted that recently, she realised she’d gone too far.
“(On radio) your brain goes through a thousand decisions very quickly — something will come into your head and you’ll think, ‘Say it / don’t say it?’” she explained.
“Recently… it sounds very benign, but I was very upset that I’d said it. My son’s school bag was filled with a couple of old sandwiches. They were all green, mushy and disgusting. I took them out and said to (son) Jack, ‘Look at this. This is dreadful.’”
“He said, ‘Can you not talk about this on radio?’”
She brought it up on radio the next day. Jack was listening to the show with her husband Harley at the time — and when he heard what she said, he closed his eyes and shook his head in exasperation.
When Keller was told of her son’s reaction, she burst into tears. “I just cried all day. I thought, ‘He is entitled to a private life. Even if he does things that are funny!’”
She bought the young budding musician a peace offering of a ukelele — but he’d already forgiven her without the gift.
“I did say to him, ‘It’s not fair. You should be able to feel free in your home to have a life without fear that I mine that for the radio.’ Because you are constantly on surveillance in your own life for things to talk about on air… as they get older, I run things past them.”
Catch-up on ANDREW DENTON’S INTERVIEW on 7plus. Podcast available wherever you get your podcasts.