Bingo is a game that has a reputation of being staid and stale, often associated with your grandma and grandad. It isn’t something that has typically appealed to a young audience, such is the idea of it being a game played in church halls or venues that smell a bit like wee and biscuits. It is for that reason that there have been a wealth of new companies launching in recent years that promise to drag bingo into the 21st century, intentionally trying to appeal to a younger audience. That isn’t to say that the bingo itself is treated as a joke, though, with the love for it being clear.
It is simply that a lot of younger people wouldn’t be caught dead in a bingo hall, often associating it with something that would be played at an old person’s home or by the older members of a church who are looking to raise some money for harvest or the like. Bogan Bingo couldn’t be much further removed from that idea, with the evening promising absolute chaos in amongst the mullets and some banging 80s tunes. It is a comedy game show with an Aussie twist, so you can expect plenty of jokes at the expense of the English and some brilliant music.
The Theme Explained
The first thing that you need to understand about Bogan Bingo is what a ‘bogan’ is. It is, in essence, an uncouth and unsophisticated person, the likes of whom would wear flip-flops to a funeral. They are thought of as being low status in Australian society, akin, perhaps, to a chav in the UK or ‘white trash’ in the United States of America. In other words, the hosts of this bingo night are not going to be coming at you with words like ‘whom’ and ‘akin’. The word is more about the person’s cultural take as opposed to their economic class, even being a term of endearment if used in the right way.
When it comes to Bogan Bingo, it is definitely meant in a combination of derogatory and endearment. It is the comedy version of bogan life, rather than being any sort of mean spirited or disgusting thing. The hosts love denim, sleeveless shirts and mullets. They love to dance and sing to 80s power songs, promising to be tongue-in-cheek in their approach to the bingo and the evening overall. It is funny, chaotic and hugely popular, being the definition of an ‘alternative’ to the sort of bingo that you might have experienced with your grandparents in the past.
Don’t Worry Too Much About the Bingo
If you’re the sort of person who spends their weekends at their local Mecca Bingo hall then this really isn’t going to be for you. It is as much about what the hosts are up to as it is the numbers that they’re calling out, so don’t get too hung up on that front. That being said, if you’re planning to call ‘House’ then you better be pretty certain that your numbers have actually been called, else there will be a couple of Aussie bogans making fun of you in front of the rest of the bingo playing crew. You should expect a unique night of fun and mullets, with just a little bit of bingo.
It says something about the show that it is often performed in comedy venues and at comedy festivals, showing that it is far more about the laughs then it is about the lines. The bingo is used as the string that holds the night together rather than the real reason that everyone has got together in the first place. There will be classic anthems from the 80s and 90s, air guitar aplenty and some dreadful choreography, with the bingo being more of an afterthought and an excuse to have a party more than anything else. This is very much bingo for people with a sense of humour.
There Are Prizes… Sort Of
The fact that the bingo is a tenuous link to what is happening doesn’t mean that some bingo isn’t played. Yes, the bogans in charge will fire confetti cannons over the audience and you might well be expected to have a sing along and a boogie at times, but don’t forget that there are prizes in bingo and this is no exception. You might end up winning a can of Fosters, a Bogan Bingo pouch (a bin bag, basically) or even a branded dustpan and brush. There are also some much more impressive prizes, with a holiday to Egypt known to have been given away in the past.
Bogan Bingo events are strictly for over 18-year-olds, with the dress code tending to be trailer trash and 80s. The over-18s nature of things means that sometimes the prizes can be bar tabs or other forms of booze, although you obviously don’t have to be a big drinker in order to enjoy yourself. Instead, you just need to ensure that you can have a laugh and get involved when the air guitars come out and the mullet wigs get thrown around. More than anything else it is a chance to let your hair down and experience a taste of Aussie culture; or a lack thereof, as the case may be.