Saluting Barry Humphries

Barry Humphries has been disremembered by the Melbourne [not very funny] Comedy Festival. And so to balance the ledger, a revival of the Barry Humphries entry in the Revivalist Series on my website.

The revivalist series was created to draw attention to important thinkers who were forgotten or neglected. At the time Barry was not in that category and the idea was to remined people that he was not a typical arty lefty but a man with strong libertarian/conservative principles.

Barry Humphries has a healthy international reputation so does not need to be introduced, however there is an aspect of his character and his vision that is not fully appreciated. He is not a member of the ‘trendy left’, instead he is a kind of evolutionary conservative and a firm friend of Quadrant, the liberal/conservative magazine. This places him well beyond the pale of respectability in the eyes of the progressive intelligentsia and the overwhelming majority of the artistic and literary community.

This is the first edition of the series featuring Jacques Barzun and James McAuley, the founding editor of Quadrant magazine. The series is a monument to the art and artistry of my late wife Kilmeny Niland.

Another item in the first Revivalist makes interesting reading nowadays. The late Roger Sandall meditated on the tactics of the Arabs taking on the Ottoman Empire.

T. E. Lawrence’s account of the way his Arab cutthroats would beat the Turks makes eerie reading today. He asked himself how a handful of fierce zealots, whose main activities had been pilfering and brigandage, could possibly bring the Ottoman Empire to its knees. Obviously not by punching toe to toe with Turkish artillery.

“But suppose” (he writes in The Seven Pillars of Wisdom) “suppose we were an influence, an idea, a thing invulnerable, intangible, without front or back, drifting about like a gas?” Conventional armies were large and immobile, and conventional generals equally so. Instead, “we might be a vapour, blowing where it listed. Our kingdoms lay in each man’s mind.”

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29 Responses to Saluting Barry Humphries

  1. NB

    The joke is on the otherwise unfunny Comedy Festival.
    Dairy-free sponge-finger anyone?

  2. cuckoo

    Yeah, I’m sure Barry Humphries is crushed that Hannah Gadsby disapproves of him. I saw a video grab of her making some speech about how the Comedy Festival gave her a ‘safe space’ to ‘hone’ her ‘voice’, delivered with leaden plonking earnestness. And here was me thinking it was about making people laugh.

  3. Behind Enemy Lines

    Saluting Barry Humphries
    Posted on 10:12 am, April 28, 2019 by Rafe Champion
    Barry Humphries has been disremembered by the Melbourne [not very funny] Comedy Festival.

    ‘Comedy’ is heading the way of the literary scene, for all of the same reasons. Barry Humphries will outlive the lot of them.

  4. stackja

    Leftists don’t like humour, it hurts their sensibilities.

  5. Dr Fred Lenin

    Since the communist fascist PC industry to supress white men gained power the first thing they did was murder real comedy , can you imagine Barry being allowed to do his Dame Edna act now without violent spoiled feminazis and their fascist antifa thug comrades stopping him ,he might be allowed to do Les Paterson ,( without the Sir of course thats colonial opression ), they would lap up mocking white men . The greatest oxymoron today is “that well kniwn ABC comedian “ ,nonsense there hasnt been a funny comedian there for years . Of course their beloved model state the failed Soviet Onion was noted for its comedy ,and Im not talking about the handcrafted suits their unanimously elected keaders used to wear The wives sewed them up on those long winter days,made out of prewashed spud bags ,sartorial elegance socialist style

  6. stackja

    TE Lawrence entered Damascus after the Light Horse. Sykes gave Syria to Picot.

  7. Tom

    Imagine that: a “comedy festival” controlled by totalitarian thought police who hate humour. Should be a smash hit.

  8. anonandon

    Nevermind removing his name from a comedy award. Given his sins against the woke, the real question is why hasn’t he been arrested yet?

  9. Rafe Champion

    In case you were wondering about stackja’s enigmatic reference to Sykes, Syria and Picot it was about sharing the Levant, including Turkey after WWI. It was for the benefit of the English and French with some gains for Russia (Armenia) and the Bolshies made it public when they took over.

  10. Pierre van Paassen deserves to be remembered. Who??? No-one knows his name any more.

    In 1942 he predicted that in a century there will be a socialist president in Washington, and he will be a negro.

  11. Paul

    Modern comedy is mostly swearing and Lesbotic posturing. I suspect Barry wouldn’t be too bothered since there aren’t any permissible subjects of humor left that can be spun into something funny.

  12. mem
    Check out this video. Dame Edna talks about the world needing more laughs soliciting thunderous applause from the audience at the International Comedy Festival in Canada.

  13. Des Deskperson

    In February this year, the ABC showed a ‘highly acclaimed’ nature documentary, ‘The Magical land of OZ” It was widely promoted, won all sorts of praise from critics and apparently set a new standard in the genre.

    The narrator – a very good one – was Barry Humphries.

    The show may have been commissioned before Humphries made his, err, unfortunate remarks in the Spectator interview but his role in and contribution to the film was and is still being highly praised and promoted, including chummy publicity shots of him and the film crew. There has been no attempt to downplay it or to airbrush him out.

    I can only assume that the ABC things the programme was/is too important a piece work to be f**d around with in that way; unlike the Melbourne Comedy Festival.

  14. cuckoo

    Time for Sir Les Patterson to reprise his judgement of Barry: “Barry may not actually be a poofter, but he gives a darn good impression of one!”

  15. Penguinite

    Barry Humphreys “disremembered”? That’s the funniest line emanating from the MCF for ever. The MCF stopped being funny when the PC clowns took over.

  16. egg_

    The joke is on the otherwise unfunny Comedy Festival.
    Dairy-free sponge-finger anyone?

    Mind you don’t slip on the banana peel from the vegan “pulled pork” burger in the foyer.

  17. egg_

    Modern comedy is mostly swearing and Lesbotic posturing.

    Trannies would be funnier than that cat’s @rse lot, eh Sir Les?

  18. Percy Popinjay

    Max Gillies performed in two very funny reviews at the Sydney Oprah ‘oose back in the Zeroes. In the first one he was praised by the critics for his “unexpected” attack on Barrie Humphries.

    (FFS, I’m trying to write this after a crunched 120 degree lion safari chili has been detonated on my tongue)

    We didn’t know why it was considered “controversial” for Gillies to attack Humphries back then, now I know why.

  19. Percy Popinjay

    Still in a world o’ pain, FFS

  20. Squirrel

    If any of the current crop achieve international acclaim for being very, very funny – rather than for being studied exemplars of fashionably amusing identities – they may be in a position to pass judgement on a great Australian.

    A gem of a line from Dame Edna (fretting about her other son’s choice of a bride) epitomises Humphries’ genius understanding of Australia “he’s a Melbourne boy, she’s a Sydney girl – I warned them about mixed marriages, but they won’t listen….”.

  21. Crossie

    [email protected]
    #2999268, posted on April 28, 2019 at 12:53 pm
    Pierre van Paassen deserves to be remembered. Who??? No-one knows his name any more.

    In 1942 he predicted that in a century there will be a socialist president in Washington, and he will be a negro.

    Both he and George Orwell were prophetic though both off by about thirty years, plus and minus.

  22. Crossie

    I’m glad we went to see Barry at the ICC in Darling Harbour in May last year. For a man over 80 he still had it.

    It would also have been great to see Steve Martin and Martin Short’ s show in November but we will be overseas then.

  23. mem

    #2999411, posted on April 28, 2019 at 4:49 pm

    Barry Humphreys “disremembered”? That’s the funniest line emanating from the MCF for ever.

    Indeed, it may be its last.
    double ++

  24. @crossie

    Replace “he will be a negro” with “ze will be a negro” and wait to see who’s POTUS in 2042. We’re in a universe that neither Orwell nor van Paassen could have imagined.

    PS – Are the apostrophes correct? These are the things that really matter. “He” or “ze” is inconsequental.

  25. Mother Lode

    After the festival, Barry Humphries will still be world famous.

    The people at the festival will be as unknown as before.

    And why shouldn’t that be so – they offer nothing that anyone wants. They suck at humour, and that is supposed to be their strong suit.

  26. C.L.

    James McAuley

    It’s now hard to believe he even existed in this wretched, rancid country.

  27. Win

    Loved reading Tom Goodges Great Australian Adjective again. Today’s favoured expletive just does not fit.

  28. Bones

    As to T E Lawrence, I read recently that he was an expert on Medieval warfare and it was from this period’s military tactics that he developed his in managing the tribes of Arabs who came and went to form his army as they chose

  29. LGS

    The Left and comedy are mutually exclusive.

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