Source and entire item from The Age Green Guide.
AUDIENCES seem to appreciate his particular style of humour. But Peter Berner has heard at least one voice of dissent. "Not funny, Dad!" his three-year-old son has interjected from the back of the family car.

Berner is heartened by the response he has had to his new one-hour show, The Peter Berner Experiment. "The experiment is pretty much anything you can get away with," says Berner, who was one of five co-hosts of long-running Triple M breakfast show The Cage.A mix of comedy and music, his experiment airs live from 3pm in Sydney before the Wil and Lehmo drive show but is delayed until 6pm in Melbourne. Why the late hour in Melbourne? "The thing I've learned with working in radio and FM (in particular) is you do what they want you to do."They're making decisions based on research that I have no interest in. I don't care if they're laughing in the mid-afternoon or early afternoon. As long as people are laughing."

After five years with The Cage team the veteran stand-up comedian and host of the ABC TV quiz show, The Einstein Factor, says he's getting used to being on air alone.

"I must admit in the first few shows, having gone from five people, you say something and you're waiting for a reaction, a laugh, someone to butt in. And then you realise, jeez, I've got to fill this. Now that I've settled into it, I'm enjoying the unfettered power. I get to say what I want."

He's the self-styled "man of a thousand voices", interviewing himself on occasion in guises that have so far included a representative of the Japanese whaling industry, a member of al-Qaeda, and the president of the Australian Goldfish Association.

Actually, he's used to being in the studio alone. While others in the team — Brigitte Duclos, James Brayshaw, Matt Parkinson and Mike Fitzpatrick — were in the St Kilda studio, he'd join in from Sydney.

"It was a bit like Sybil," he says of the film about a woman with 13 personalities. "You end up sitting in a room by yourself but you hear a lot of voices."

Berner wasn't surprised to hear from Austereo programmer Guy Dobson after The Cage's run ended late last year. "Because The Cage was running out of Melbourne and I was Sydney-based, I'd been given the phone call to say it's all over. I thought Dobbo was just doing the courtesy of a face-to-face chat."

They met for coffee. "I was sitting there going, 'Yeah, yeah. No worries at all. And then he started talking about (it) … and I twigged that he was actually offering me an hour. I went, 'Ah!' I sat up straight and moved to the front of my chair and started nodding and agreeing with everything he said."

He's all too aware that he's filling the spot left by Tony Martin's Get This. "Tony had a massive following and a lot of people were despairing when his show ended … I don't know what to say about that."

The Cage's replacement breakfast team, Peter Helliar and Myf Warhurst, slipped backwards by 0.1% in the first survey of the year despite extensive advertising and marketing. "I think most new shows do," Berner says. "There's (always) going to be fans of the previous show that are going to go, 'Right. That's it. Turn it off. I'm going somewhere else.' They eventually come back. It takes time."

He plays down a 2005 on-air spat with Brigitte Duclos after he compared her to a "chicken Subway sandwich". "It was a flip comment by me on air," he says. "She took offence and in traditional, good old-fashioned radioland, (they decided), 'Let's stoke that, let's poke this beast.' It was actually all good fun in the end."

He's up against Nova's co-hosts Ed Kavalee — Tony Martin's former co-host — and Akmal Saleh, who started in stand-up around the same time as him, close to 20 years ago.

"I've known Akmal forever … and I'm somewhat surprised it's taken people this long to get switched on to the fact that he is a majorly talented individual and a very funny human being."

Berner is 45 and reckons he's getting old. He was an advertising production manager when he first tried out as a comedian. Stand-up comics seemed to be "interesting, odd, slightly dysfunctional people and I've always tended to fit in around people who don't fit in".

He's in demand for corporate functions. He says it's fairly undemanding. "They literally don't want you to go out and molest the managing director's wife. Providing you (don't) do that, you're pretty much OK with it."

Berner says he is invariably asked what subject he'd choose if he was a contestant on The Einstein Factor and replies it would be The Simpsons. He is dismissive of some of the less challenging quiz shows. "Spell 'cat'. We take 45 minutes to figure out if it's c-a-t or k-a-t and we all watch with nervous anticipation."

The Einstein Factor has "alienated people certainly when we talk about molluscs or renaissance prison art from France. But that doesn't last the whole show."

He'd like to do a weekly show here of the calibre of Jon Stewart's The Daily Show in the US.

Berner was pleasantly surprised at the popularity of ABC TV's 140-episode Backberner. "Sure, you know, with a head like mine, I'm surprised I'm still on television, to be honest with you."

What's wrong with the head? "Ah, you know, in renovator's terms it's a knockdown. Really, it's a knockdown, rebuilt."