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Andy Lee's interview with Wil Anderson was a masterclass in calling someone out.

“I want to raise something with you which is pretty confronting,” 38-year-old Andy Lee said to Wil Anderson, minutes into their one hour and 20 minute conversation on Anderson’s Wilosophy podcast. 

“Hamish [Blake] and I didn’t like you for a very, very, long time. And I think he got over it earlier than I did.”

Lee, who co-hosts the top-rating podcast Hamish & Andy, recalled the pair getting their start on a TV sketch show called Big Bite, which also starred Chris Lilley and Kate McCartney.

Andy Lee almost died as a one year old. Post continues below. 

Video by Channel 9/60 Minutes

At just 21 years old, it was decided by executives that the program would be renamed ‘Hamish & Andy’, which didn’t sit comfortably with either of them.

Lee described it as an “awful experience,” and feeling as though the rest of the cast was looking at them like they’d stolen the show.

“You guys were young, and you were put into a show where I knew a whole bunch of people who were involved in the show, and some of them were not happy that these two young people had been thrown into this show, so I was getting a lot of stories,” said Anderson, 45, implying they weren’t popular on set.

On television shows that Lee once loved, like ABC’s The Glass House, he became a punchline. Lee recalled specific jokes that were made, calmly relaying them to Anderson.

Listen to Mia Freedman’s No Filter interview with Wil Anderson. Post continues below. 

One day, Lee’s mother rang him to ask: “What did you do to Wil Anderson?”

At this stage, the two had never even met.

Then one night, Lee spotted Anderson in a Sydney restaurant and decided to introduce himself; an attempt to remind Anderson that ‘Andy Lee’ wasn’t a character, but a human being.

Anderson replied, “Oh yeah, when I show people through my house, I say this is the Hamish and Andy kitchen for the amount of money I’ve made off jokes about you two.”

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Lee remembered making up his mind that tonight. “I called Hame,” he said on Wilosophy. “And said, ‘Wil is as big a f***head as you would ever possibly imagine.'”

Eventually, the Hamish & Andy radio show became a direct competitor to Anderson’s Triple M drive show. Hamish & Andy won. By a lot.

Anderson explained he had dropped the grudge by then, after realising what he had heard about them wasn’t true.

But Lee didn’t let that stand.

“But what was that specifically?” Lee asked. At the time Lee and Blake had no idea what the catalyst was for Anderson’s bizarre vendetta.

Anderson explained that he had built up a profile of them, two guys from “every American college movie” who were arrogant and “swanned into this thing” without any comedy credentials.

“I’d forgotten that Hamish and Andy were people… not a brand and not a symbol of something but actual people,” Anderson said.

The experience early on his career, Lee explained, influenced how he approached comedy. Lee and Blake are widely respected for their choice not to make jokes at the expense of other people.

It’s a lot harder to be funny without being mean, a skill which Lee and Blake have mastered.

Although the conversation was tense, it was remarkably productive, with Anderson describing his regret and guilt over how he treated them, conceding that he’s now learned how powerful words can be.

Lee, of course, had a number of choices prior to Wilosophy.

He could have declined the podcast altogether, which he would have been well within his rights to do.

He could have called out Anderson publicly on his podcast and humiliated him, just like Anderson had done 15 years ago, without giving him the right of reply.

He could have jumped on Twitter, inciting a vicious pile-on.

But it seems Lee had no interest in revenge.

In an industry that thrives off call out culture, which probably would have worked to Lee’s advantage, he decided to do the exact opposite.

He sat down and had a civil conversation. He explained assertively what Anderson had done, and how hurtful it was. He listened to the other side in an attempt to understand.

Credit is also due to Anderson, who could have easily refused to have the conversation, which didn’t make him look good.

It’s not easy to admit you were cruel, or to forgive someone who kicked you while you were down.

The episode served as a critical reminder that a throwaway remark – one that you might have forgotten about – can stay with someone for years, or even decades.

Even when you’re Andy Lee.

You can listen to the full episode of Wilosophy with Andy Lee right here. 

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