Hey, what’s the deal with Australia ending up with the world’s most cowardly comedians?
There were few nationally known ‘comedians’ in Australia prior to Paul Hogan. In the pre-war era there were funnymen in film like George Wallace and C. J. Dennis’ Sentimental Bloke; in radio like the Rudds (Dad and Dave); in the old touring theatrical companies like J. C. Williamson Ltd whose troupe featured such comedic/dramatic luminaries as Cecil Kellaway. Before that, ‘comedians’ were verse masters like Patterson and Lawson. By the 1970s, Barry Humphries had made a name for himself, Norman Gunston was emerging bandaged and neurotic from suburban obscurity, various progenitors of stand-up were playing the clubs and the midday chat shows; Graham Kennedy was already a bankable Vaudevillian wunderkind. Hogan, though, was like a synthesis of all that had gone before – famously coming down from the heights like an ocker Moses – and nobody else was quite like him. By then, few of his predecessors were household names.
… there should be a lot of mirth being generated at the the expense of the powerful, right?
Today, it’s very different. Australian comedians are everywhere. They appear on one another’s panel and game shows, host drive-time radio, appear at comedy ‘festivals,’ talk about their ‘tours’ and ‘gigs’ like so many jaded rockers and – if they’re lucky – become supposedly beloved advertising mainstays like Shane Jacobson. As the new officially sanctioned ‘Aussie,’ the ubiquitous Jacobson takes money to convince Australians that IGA embodies the spiritual essence of the old corner store. That notion is so laughable that his ads for the conglomerate might be the funniest thing he’s done since Kenny. Comedy has become so industrialised in scale and lack-of-soul that I’m genuinely surprised one of the Dawkins universities doesn’t offer a Bachelor of Laughs – with Hannah Gadsby and Wendy Harmer as adjunct professors and Rod Quantock Dean of the School. All of this means there should be a lot of mirth being generated at the expense of the powerful, right?
Wrong. Australian comedians leave the truly powerful alone. For deference, they make the bowing and scraping servant class of Victorian England look like impertinent rebels in comparison. At least those maids and butlers kept their dignity. Greta Thunberg, transgenderism, the gay lobby, Extinction Rebellion, Islam, US Democrats, feminism … nope, nothing to work with there. When they do bits on emperors unclothed, they target Liberals, Republicans, Christians (especially Catholics) and men (preferably white). On The Today Show last week, Lawrence Mooney said of Margaret Court that “she should be charged for her opinions.” He wasn’t joking. He wants the nation’s greatest ever tennis player arrested. Because it helps his career to say so.
In the end, they hate their audience …
These people fear only one thing: losing their meal tickets in the incestuous East German world their own pusillanimity and witless snobbery created in the first place. They crave money, bookings, a lifetime commercial relationship with the ABC or making it in movies. (They’re all actors, don’t you know). Deep down, they accept that their craft has been captured by sour, ugly leftism and some of them possibly even bristle at the realisation. But once they hit even early middle age, it’s hard to choose funny if it means dis-invitations and censure from the corporate ‘values’ police and the outrage barkers. In the end, they hate their audience because they hate what they themselves have become. Mooney is no dill. He’s no Einstein either – not even the “funny” one from Tasmania. But he knows that attacking a 77 year-old Christian woman is the smart play. It will keep him in ‘gigs’ if not giggles for years to come. Anyway folks, you’ve been a great audience.