Chris Schulz is the deputy head of entertainment for the New Zealand Herald.

C-bombs and pearl necklaces: Why Rove McManus is about to make 7 Days much, much filthier

Expect the bad taste banter to step up a notch when Rove McManus takes over the hot seat on 7 Days tonight.
Rove McManus replaces Jeremy Corbett on tonight's episode of TV3's 7 Days.
Rove McManus replaces Jeremy Corbett on tonight's episode of TV3's 7 Days.

Rove McManus has only been on stage for 10 seconds and he's already made a joke too filthy to repeat. Moments later, he makes an oral sex gag that has the Ashburton couple sitting next to me blushing.

The Aussie comedian, who is replacing 7 Days' holidaying host Jeremy Corbett tonight, is returning to his old stomping ground on Friday nights on TV3, where his family friendly chat show Rove screened for several years.

Josh Thomson, Claire Hooper and Paul Ego, one of the two teams on 7 Days tonight.
Josh Thomson, Claire Hooper and Paul Ego, one of the two teams on 7 Days tonight.

But McManus isn't using his one-off stint as 7 Days host to dial down the show's constant sexual innuendo and bad taste banter.

During Thursday night's live taping of the show, McManus has team captains Dai Henwood on his left and Paul Ego on his right, and he quickly confirmed he's one of the gang - a more casual take on the gruff, school principal-style of Corbett.

Throughout the night, McManus refuses to listen to the floor director's instructions, joins in the the constant running gag about Henwood's height, happily adds his take on sexualised hand gestures, and, with no chance of a comeback, regularly mocks the absent Corbett.

He also shows he's ready to outfilth even the filthiest minds on the show. When Education Minister Hekia Parata joins them for a game of Yes, Minister, McManus notes her sparkling pearl necklace and asks - innuendo absolutely intended - "Did you dress yourself in that pearl necklace, Hekia?"

Dai Henwood, Jamaine Ross and Urzila Carlson in tonight's episode of 7 Days.
Dai Henwood, Jamaine Ross and Urzila Carlson in tonight's episode of 7 Days.

Some of the night's funniest lines come during the Parata segment. Things almost turn into a roast as Urzila Carlson asks her if she's used to the sound of "buttocks clenching" when she walks into a room. But Paul Ego quickly tops her, starting his question with this statement: "Of the two schools left open in New Zealand ..."

Things then get slightly more surreal. As nervous laughter ripples through the crowd, Josh Thomson inserts Parata's name into two songs - Hakuna Matata from the Lion King, and Arnott's Salada ad from the '80s - and serenades her with them.

It's a bizarre and bonkers moment, but it's absolutely brilliant, leading to some of the night's biggest applause. Let's hope it isn't cut from tonight's edited broadcast.

Other highlights include Thomson's running gag on his parsnip garden (it gets sexual), Henwood's "artisanal vegetable brush" (also sexual), an epic discussion over whether Batman would beat a dinosaur in a fight (slightly sexual), and possibly the best segment yet of My Kid Could Draw That, when a cute kid called Sia admits a mystery person drew a yellow man on his picture while he was in the toilet (thankfully, it's not sexual at all).

Rove McManus takes over hosting duties from Jeremy Corbett in tonight's episode of 7 Days.
Rove McManus takes over hosting duties from Jeremy Corbett in tonight's episode of 7 Days.

But the best stuff, which will almost certainly be cut, involves McManus' constant battle with the show's floor director. While working the room during the halftime break, McManus bounds up the steps to meet the audience, points at the director and says: "I don't like that guy ... he's a bit of a dick, right?"

When he returns, the director counts him in, but McManus misses his mark. Instead, he leans in, smiles sweetly to the camera, then drops a simple but effective C-bomb, leaving the audience in stitches.

That schoolboy smile of McManus' is one of his greatest assets - and it lets him get away with the worst of his shenanigans. It allows him to keep using that corny catch phrase of his - "Say hi to your mum for me" - well past its expiry date. And when he drops a horrifically clunky pun, he picks up his coffee cup, raises it to the camera, flashes that sparkly grin and walks off set like his job is done.

After the nearly four-hour taping that will be turned into tonight's half-hour episode, Rove puts it best himself: "If you enjoyed the show, please tell your friends for me. If you didn't, shut the f*** up."

• Rove's episode of 7 Days screens on TV3 tonight at 9.30pm.

- NZ Herald

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