This week’s Get Krack!n saw the dynamic duo back in the studio and tackling a whole new world of pain: a live audience. How will they cope under the harsh judgement of a bunch of bored folk with nothing better to do with their lives than watch breakfast television be made? Not well. Not well at all.
Get Krack!n is a hard show to pin down in part because it’s rarely the same show each week. Sometimes the comedy is aimed outwards – like last week’s episode taking a hefty swipe at crap rural tourism – and the Kates’ job there is largely to work as mouthpieces pointing out the flaws and foibles of their chosen target.
Other times, like this week, the laughs come more at their expense. They’re usually the stronger episodes, in part because a lot of the humour that they get from attacking stuff is fairly basic. What’s that you say? Australia is sexist and racist and ignorant as hell, happily sleepwalking towards an environmental nightmare while the rich steal everything that isn’t nailed down? Damn straight – but sometimes these particular jokes don’t really go much beyond pointing that out.
If you follow any of Australia’s “up and coming” comedy writers on Twitter, you know the kind of material we mean (and as a lot of them have contributed to Get Krack!n, this is no surprise). But where this kind of joke works to some extent with Twitter’s limited word count, when it comes to being an actual joke on a television show simply pointing out “this country’s fucked” or words to that effect is just stating the obvious without nuance or humour beyond “ha ha, look what we just said”.
(obviously there’s value to be found in countering the narratives of Australia’s increasingly insipid mainstream media. We’d just like people to make jokes if they’re going to do it in a comedy show)
When the focus is on character comedy though, the results are often a lot funnier. And so it proved this week, as the Kates slowly crumbled under the onslaught of an audience not willing to play their shitty games and a bunch of shitty games that the Kates couldn’t play.
Yes, there was a fair chunk of material here that seems pretty much identical to what we’ve just been complaining about – having the Kates flat-out berating their audience does seem kinda close to their show flat-out berating White Australia / capitalism / men / etc. The big difference is that here the berating isn’t just flatly presented as a blunt statement – it’s coming from a comedy character in a situation where they’re crumbling under the stress of an awful job and are lashing out blindly in frustration. The joke isn’t so much what they’re saying, it’s that they’ve been pushed to a place where they feel they have to say those things.
(and look, clearly that’s meant to be the joke with the show in general – Australia is currently so shithouse that an anguished howl of despair on national television is a sane response to whatever insane shit is happening this week. But Get Krack!n never establishes where these comments are coming from, so there’s no real joke beyond the blunt nature of what’s being said. We need an idea of who’s saying it and why – too often Get Krack!n just throws lines or scenes out there to make a point)
Get Krack!n occasionally cops flak for being a bit abrasive, but that’s not the real issue. Being abrasive can be funny, and there’s definitely a lot going on that deserves the abrasive treatment. It’s when the show forgets to give us a sense of where this abrasiveness is coming from that it can feel a little harsh. It might seem obvious, but Get Krack!n‘s biggest strength is the two Kates, and when it’s them front and center of the story that’s when the show is at its best.
Well, not best best, because ripping off that granny after she totally won on the wheel was not on.