They say you’re only cynical of honours and medals until you or someone you like gets one, and yes, we’re cynical about this kinda thing. But it’s worth noting that amongst this year’s recipients of a Medal of the Order of Australia (or OAM) is comedy legend Rod Quantock, “for service to the performing arts, and to conservation and sustainability”.
Quantock, known for his left-wing activism and stand-up dissecting the policies of Liberal Party figures such as Jeff Kennett, John Howard and Tony Abbott, isn’t your typical OAM recipient. “My only disappointment is it’s not a knighthood”, he joked in an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald. So are we, come to think of it, although fans of 1980’s British comedy may be pleased to hear that Lenny Henry is to be knighted in the UK.
Past comedy recipients of Australian honours include Barry Humphries, Clive James, Bert Newton, Garry McDonald, John Doyle and Rolf Harris, although Harris was later stripped of his.
* * *
Meanwhile, at the other end of their careers are the comedy teams involved in Fresh Blood whose sketches made for ABC iView last year are finally being broadcast. Wil Anderson is the host of three half-hour compilations and we have to ask why. Since when has any type of sketch comedy been funnier when introduced by someone? Even if that someone is a comedian. Not that Anderson does any gags at all. So, yeah: pointless.
The sketches in this first compilation included awkward relationship comedy from Bed Head, an awkward “the bride’s not coming to the wedding today” song from Donnatelegrams, a less awkward documentary about a middle-aged couple trying to re-take their kissing world record in The Record, and a not at all awkward a song about bikies from Aunty Donna. Of these, Aunty Donna is the funniest. Their song is pointed, funny, makes good use of a cameo from John Wood, and most importantly isn’t not too long. Some of the other sketches in this series should have aimed for brevity in the edit suite, or indeed the writer’s room. Bed Head and Donnatelegrams, while they had some moments, seemed endless, and The Record only got away with its length by being documentary-style.
We have no idea which sketches will feature in the final two compilations, but you can re-live our original reviews of all of Fresh Blood by clicking here.