An off-colour joke about domestic violence from a celebrity guest had The Project panel squirming last night – and it came while the actor was being interviewed alongside his own wife.
Actor Peter O’Brien, 61, appeared alongside his wife of 18 years Miranda Otto, 53, to promote the new SBS series Unusual Suspects in which they both star.
Project host Carrie Bickmore asked the pair what it was like to work together.
“Basically, my interaction in this show with Miranda is sex and violence, so it was like a night in,” O’Brien quipped.
The joke got an instant reaction from the panel, who erupted in shocked laughter – before co-host Waleed Aly questioned the remark.
“I can’t tell if we’re meant to laugh at that or not?” he asked, looking off camera.
“I’m not sure you can say that,” said Bickmore.
“Miranda, you need to respond for us to clear this!” Peter Helliar instructed his guests.
Otto put her head on her husband’s shoulders before answering. “We have an antagonistic relationship in the show, so that’s a lot of fun,” she said. “We don’t do boring married couple stuff together.”
“People tend not to cast us as married couples – I guess it’s unbelievable,” O’Brien said, to more laughter from the panel. “We’ve done a few things together, and it’s a real joy. I love working with Miranda – it’s never caused any friction or anything … Did I mention the sex and violence?”
“That was a rollercoaster ride,” said Bickmore.
Viewers thought so too, with O’Brien’s “sex and violence” joke earning a mixed response.
“Hang on, are we going to ignore Peter joking about domestic abuse?” tweeted one viewer.
@theprojecttv NO it is NOT ok for the whole panel to laugh at a bad taste joke about sex and violence. What were you thinking? Waleed was the only one who even half heartedly questioned if it was something to laugh at. Unbelievable!!!!
— Shaken&stirred (@Shakenstirred8) May 31, 2021
Another viewer called it a “bad joke by Peter O’Brien” – but others praised the couple for their rapport in the joint interview.
“They’re so cute and the way Miranda just lean on him the whole time,” wrote one fan.
“How is this the first time I hear POB speak? He is hysterical I love him,” wrote another.
“Married couple goals,” said another.
Originally published as Star’s shocking domestic violence joke