Ed Kavalee caught out by wife

Ed breaks down mid-interview

I WAS halfway through my interview with Ed Kavalee in a meeting room at 2DayFM when he put his hand up to signal that we needed to stop.

The radio star was on the verge of tears and needed a minute to compose himself.

I sat there awkwardly [emotions make me uncomfortable] as Kavalee stared out the window while taking a few deep breaths.

So what was the topic that had almost tipped the new 2DayFM breakfast show co-host over the edge?

It was the story of how he met his wife, TV star and fitness trainer Tiffiny Hall.

"They were filming Gladiators at the showgrounds and I was working at Nova," Kavalee recalled.

"I said, 'Can I go and interview the Angel Gladiator because she's so hot?' So we actually met when I interviewed her when she was a Gladiator, but she didn't remember meeting me."

Tiff Hall was Angel on Gladiators.
Tiff Hall was Angel on Gladiators.

Unperturbed, Kavalee arranged another encounter.

"I was doing fill-in radio and I got her to come in for an interview like three times in a row," he said.

"The third time the publicist at Channel Seven goes to me, 'It's getting a bit ridiculous that you keep asking Tiffiny in.' And Tiff turned to me and said, 'Yeah, it is ridiculous. When are you just going to ask me out?' And that's how we got together.

"Every time I walk through Sydney airport, I may get emotional here, but I remember the exact spot ... " Kavalee said as his voice began to crack.

Fighting back tears, he eventually continued.

"I remember where I was when I called her for the first time. Every time I walk past that spot in Sydney airport it always reminds me."

Tiff an Ed with their baby boy, Arnold.
Tiff an Ed with their baby boy, Arnold.

It was a touching moment in an otherwise tear-free interview during which Kavalee told me about his career highlights, including how he first got his start in the entertainment industry.

"I was at Sydney Uni and my friend Josh Lawson, who is an actor and now lives in LA, he had a job as a Triple M and 2Day FM driver and was leaving, and he suggested me," Kavalee said.

"I just started driving the Triple M and Black Thunder cars ... then I met Tony Martin on Mick Molloy's movie and we got talking and before I knew it I was doing a national radio show with him."

The show, Get This, also featured the beloved Richard Marsland and taught Kavalee the fundamentals of radio.

"Watching someone like him [Tony Martin] who is so incredible at understanding radio and how it sounds and how it could sound is one of the great experiences of my life," he said.

"Just to see him pace up and down chewing his pen as he gets three seconds out of a 90 second sketch that does actually lift it to the next level. It's what he calls 'going to too much trouble'. That's what made me realise that you don't just rock up and turn on the mics and have fun."

Get This co-hosts Tony Martin, Richard Marsland and Ed Kavalee with listener Simon Hevey.
Get This co-hosts Tony Martin, Richard Marsland and Ed Kavalee with listener Simon Hevey.

Around the same time that he got his big break on Get This, Kavalee also landed a regular gig on TV thanks to Working Dog Productions.

"It was my birthday, I was turning 25," Kavalee said.

"I was asleep in a Triple M car because we were early for a cross. My phone rang and it was a private number and the voice on the other line said, 'Hello, my name's Deb. I'm from Working Dog. We've seen you doing improv, would you be interested in meeting us?'

"And that's how Thank God You're Here started."

Kavalee became part of the ensemble cast on the Channel 10 show which introduced him to some of the most talented entertainers in Australia.

"Shaun Micallef used to have this look in his eye when he'd walk in that he was going to f**k with it no matter what we did," Kavalee said when asked who his favourite guest was.

"He had his own agenda. I would look at the others and think, 'What is he doing?!'"

Shaun Micallef with Ed Kavalee (far right) and the cast of Thank God You're Here.
Shaun Micallef with Ed Kavalee (far right) and the cast of Thank God You're Here.

Kavalee formed a bond with the Working Dog crew and has been a regular on Have You Been Paying Attention? since it started in 2013.

"I think people forget this but a lot of the stuff that they [Working Dog] do, Santo Cilauro, Tom Gleisner, Rob Sitch and Jane Kennedy, they're not big self promoters," he said.

"A lot of the shows they've made have been to highlight the talents of other people. Thank God You're Here was about the guests, Have You Been Paying Attention? is about the guests and the people who come in. That's what makes it fun."

When asked if he's received any memorable pieces of advice from the Working Dog team, Kavalee immediately responded with "millions".

"There are two phrases that you hear a lot with those guys," he said.

"The first is 'flying hours'. They love people who have spent time doing it and perfecting it and doing it and doing it and doing it. That's one of the reasons they love radio people so much.

"The other phrase is 'mucking around'. They always say, 'everything will be in place so you can just muck around.' It's quite simple when you hear it."

Working Dog team: Michael Hirsh with Santo Cilauro, Jane Kennedy, Rob Sitch and Tom Gleisner in 1998.
Working Dog team: Michael Hirsh with Santo Cilauro, Jane Kennedy, Rob Sitch and Tom Gleisner in 1998.

While establishing himself as one of the most talented and reliable entertainers on TV, Kavalee has continued to co-host different FM radio shows over the years.

He says he hasn't had a "bad experience" when it comes to getting matched with different co-hosts, but can recall a few awkward moments on air.

"I once did an interview for Tarantino's movie, Inglourious Basterds," Kavalee said.

"But I got the actor mixed up with a different actor in the same movie. I was asking him questions about scenes that he wasn't actually in. Let's just say I wasn't asked back."

And he's learned some valuable lessons from some of the most famous names in radio along the way.

"I remember the first day when I was with Dave Hughes and Kate Langbroek," Kavalee recalled.

"Dave had asked me something off air and I told him what I thought. He asked me again on air and I changed it because I thought, 'Oh I should say what I think people want to hear.'

"After the show everyone left and he pulled me aside and he said, 'What are you doing? I asked you that off air so that you'd give the same response.' And I said, 'Well, I thought I should say ...' And he went, 'Don't do that! Just be the weirdo you are off air.'

"I really took that to heart. It's a great lesson. You've got to be honest, be yourself and hopefully be entertaining."

Kavalee's latest radio partners are Em Rusciano and Grant Denyer on the 2DayFM breakfast show. Currently into their second week on air, the trio have good chemistry and the signs are promising that they'll be able to lift the station's poor breakfast ratings.

Em Rusciano, Grant Denyer and Ed Kavalee host the 2DayFM breakfast show.
Em Rusciano, Grant Denyer and Ed Kavalee host the 2DayFM breakfast show.

"We just have a natural difference," Kavalee said when asked about Rusciano.

"She says I dress like I'm always going to my first day of primary school, and she says she dresses like a toddler on acid who gets to choose their own clothes.

"When we were talking about a potential third person for the show, Grant is someone I've always thought was excellent because he's got flying hours," Kavalee said.

"Live TV is so hard and he's done so much of it and he's just a good guy. He's a good energy to be around."

2DayFM has been through four different breakfast show line-ups since Kyle and Jackie O left the station at the end of 2013 and took most of their listeners with them.

None of the shows have lasted more than a year due to poor ratings, so how long does Kavalee expect to be on air for with his two new co-hosts?

"I've signed for 60 years," he joked. "We'll see, we'll see how everyone feels."

 

2DayFM Breakfast with Em, Grant & Ed airs 6-9am weekdays on 2DayFM 104.1



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