You know what the problem with satire is? Eventually someone upstairs goes “hey, if all the kids are getting their news from comedy shows, then our news shows should have some comedy in them!” And then you get crap like this:
If the new Friday night show is approved, it will include elements of 7.30, according to a planning workshop agenda obtained by Fairfax Media. It is also likely to feature Kitchen Cabinet’s Annabel Crabb and comedian Dan Ilic.
It will involve major political interviews, investigative reports and feature stories alongside “quirky”, “funny” and “human” stories. It may feature a live audience, a desk and some “amount of comedy and chat”.
Obviously, by “comedy” we’re not referring to Dan Ilic. Or anything else taking place on this show – unless, of course, they wise up and give Clarke & Dawe a regular slot (and with word out that there’s to be a new DVD collection of their work released in time for Christmas, maybe their profile at the ABC is once again on the upswing). Oh wait, Leigh Sales is going to be hosting, forget we mentioned Clarke & Dawe at all.
We’ve said this once before but it bears repeating now: when people – young, old, dead, whatever – watch a comedy news program, they’re not watching for the news; they’re watching for the comedy. That’s because comedy (which is difficult to make and extremely enjoyable when it does work) is of a higher value than the news (which is easy to uncover, at least in its basic television form, and at best leaves you pissed off or outraged). If you’re putting together a cheap & cheerful time-filler, it’s actually easier to make a decent-ish news program than it is to make a quality comedy show – which is why even news dead zone Australia has a number of 24 hour news channels but only a few hours of new television comedy a week.
And since when was The Project something to emulate? Forgive us if we’ve misread the ratings for the last few years, but hasn’t it been something of a dud kept on-air because a): it’s a great cross-promotional vehicle for Ten, a network which b): has been struggling so badly in the ratings they literally had nothing to replace it with? And this is the ABC’s brave new cost-cutting scheme?
Here’s an idea: why not just put on repeats of Dad’s Army? With the PM wanting us to be increasingly vigilant about the threat of home-grown terrorism, it’s never been more topical. Plus there’s a new movie version out soon – surely the ABC could get the film distribution company to kick in a few bucks for cross-promotion?
Basically, this crap is the worst of both worlds: unfunny comedy smeared over half-arsed news, hosted by people telling us to lighten up while providing a service that’s not quite as professional as the guy giving the ComSec report. And seriously, Dan Ilic again? Sure, A Rational Fear had its moments, but did everyone else from Hungry Beast die when we weren’t looking?