The Project host Pete Helliar shocks with X-rated Covid gaffe

Penny Burfitt
·Lifestyle & Entertainment Producer
·3-min read

Pete Helliar has left his co-hosts in stitches after a joke went awry over a pronunciation gaffe, but not before it prompted a very dirty response from an unexpected source.

The Project hosted a segment looking at a new ad campaign to promote the coronavirus vaccine amongst Australians last night, but it was the question of testing methods that seemed to truly be on Helliar’s mind when he went to expert Dr Paul Griffin with his questions.

Peter Helliar The Project
Peter Helliar took an interview straight down the toilet on The Project on Wednesday evening. Photo: Ten

The host was interested in verifying claims China is now using anal swabs to curtail a fresh virus outbreak in Beijing, and wondered if the option would be explored in Australia.

“A fresh outbreak today in Beijing,” he started, before mispronouncing a vital part of the questions. “I’m sure you’re across it. They’ve decided that anal [schwabs] are the best way to do the testing now.”

“Obviously it makes the drive-through testing a bit harder, I would imagine. Are there any plans for anal [schwabbing] to become a bigger thing in Australia? If so, do we have to change the way we test? Do we all go through a Liquorland or something? How does it work?”

Close up of a young woman getting vaccinated
The panel was discussing the coronavirus vaccine in Australia, and how testing would be done. Photo: Getty Images


Dr Giffin was not thrown by the toilet humour, however, parrying the unexpected curveball with a rather confronting comment about reactions to the swab.

“We know our testing in Australia has been a huge part of our success,” answered Dr. Griffin. “One of the concerns we have about those swabs when we do those nose swabs is we can induce a sneeze or a cough reflex. Certainly, if we went to those other types of swabs, there are similar reflexes there that, in close proximity to someone’s face, might be a problem.”

Not to let the mispronunciation go, Carrie pushed on with the interview, wondering if the doctor had any comment on Helliar’s ‘schwabs”.

“Have you ever heard of these ‘schwabs’ that Peter Helliar speaks of?” Carrie asked.

“What did I say? Schwabs? I was concentrating on the word ‘anal’,” Pete joked.

It’s not the first time The Project has been somewhat derailed by an earthy comment or two.

Carrie Bickmore The project gaffe vaccination anal testing coronavirus
Carrie was left in stitches, teasing Peter Helliar over his interesting pronunciation. Photo: Ten

Carrie’s candle gag shocks viewers

Last week Carrie Bickmore returned to The Project panel with gusto after her summer break, pushing boundaries with a very naughty joke that left her fellow panellists in stitches.

The journalist and Gold Logie winner was presenting a segment on one woman’s horrifying experience with Gwyneth Paltrow’s infamous ‘vagina scented candle’ on Tuesday night’s episode when she admitted to a very cheeky misunderstanding when she first came across the story.

In the jaw-dropping tale, UK woman Jody Thompson won one of the bizarre candles in an online quiz, but when she went to light it, it exploded in a scene the woman described as an ‘inferno’.

It wasn’t just the harrowing vagina experience that shocked viewers, however. Carrie was left a little confused at what exactly the story entailed when she came across the headline.

“When I saw the headline, ‘vagina candle explodes’, I thought the outcome was more dire,” she joked, to guffaws from her co-hosts. “I’m relieved, that’s all I’m saying.”

Not to be outdone, funnyman Peter Helliar chimed in with his own rude response to the story.

“Luckily she didn’t burn her curtains,” he giggled, later telling Carrie: “You’ve been in a flap about this story all day.”

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