The Project

got off to an impressive start with last night's live debut, but it wasn't without its fair share of stuff ups.

The show, which replaces last year's current affairs effort Story, sees Jesse Mulligan, Josh Thomson, Kanoa Lloyd and a guest host presenting a New Zealand version of the popular Australian show.

It was a strong start with some early nerves. Early on, comedian Thomson tried to tell his first joke but stumbled over the wording more than once, the nerves clearly getting the better of him.

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Guest host Rove McManus - whose purpose on the show seemed to be to help the Project crew through their awkward moments - covered up by shouting: "Josh's first joke, everybody", prompting a round of raucous applause.

Luckily for Thomson, he is the kind of guy who elicits a laugh merely by speaking, getting a bigger laugh out of saying he likes chicken than his actual first joke did.

Jesse Mulligan, Kanoa Lloyd and Josh Thomson made an impressive recovery on their first night. Photo / Supplied
Jesse Mulligan, Kanoa Lloyd and Josh Thomson made an impressive recovery on their first night. Photo / Supplied

The show continued with some slick pre-recorded news segments, a bit of light banter, the odd "silly" story (like a guy licking his fingers after touching raw chicken) and some seamless interviews, including some no-holds-barred period talk with Michele A'Court.

But it wasn't all smooth running. The crew introduced a story about Cadbury before playing their earlier segment on methamphetamine for a second time.

Upon returning, Jesse Mulligan took ownership saying: "The more observant among you will have noticed that was a story we've already played," at which point Thomson gleefully shouted: "Yes! Someone else made a mistake!"

Mulligan did succeed in throwing back to the screw-up throughout the show though, keeping cool, calm and collected while showing off his comedy chops at the same time.

The episode ended with a story about cat curfews and a bit of a dud joke - which the team soon recognised.

Thomson spoke about how, "if I had a bell every time I approached food ... I would freak out," to which Mulligan responded: "It wouldn't be good for the people that lived with you either."

He followed up his quip with a disappointed look saying; "The show was going so well".

And it was. The Project was top trending on Twitter throughout and after its half-hour slot at 7pm, with Kiwi viewers and industry peers praising the new show and the hosts' ability to recover from the slip ups while being hugely entertaining.




The Project airs at 7pm weekdays on Three. This week's guest hosts include Patrick Gower, Paul Henry and Urzila Carlson.