I Did But See Hilarity Passing By…

So it looks like Colin Vickery’s dream has finally come true: The Chaser won’t be providing commentary for the upcoming royal wedding after all:

Just two days before Prince William and Kate Middleton are due to tie the knot, ABC TV has been forced to cancel The Chaser’s one-off live coverage of the event due to what it says are restrictions imposed by the royal family.

The Chaser’s Royal Wedding Commentary was due to air on ABC2 from 7:00pm AEST on Friday, offering viewers a satirical take on the royal wedding.

But now the live special – promised to be “uninformed and unconstitutional” – has been reluctantly pulled due to restrictions imposed over the Easter break.

Cue much wailing and gnashing of teeth. Censorship! Well, apart from the fact that it’s a wedding being held inside a church where the royals control the rights to the footage, which means they can slap whatever restrictions they like on its use. It’s not preventing you or I from making fun of the royals or the wedding all we want – we just can’t use their own wedding footage to do it with. Much like you can’t call up Channel Ten and say “hey, me and my mates have come up with some hilarious gags about how shithouse The 7pm Project is – how’s about we come in and do a commentary over Friday’s episode?” Well, actually you can, but why bother?

While The Chaser’s slowly pulled themselves back from the brink quality-wise after the stunt-heavy depths of series two of The Chaser’s War on Everything – to a point post-Blow Parade where any new project of theirs (or at least, a project where they’re not just hosting or being panelists) is once again well worth a look – talking over footage of a wedding is hardly primo comedy material. You could probably come up with “satire” at least 80% as funny yourself at home: make fun of the guests’ clothes, make up wacky “facts” about the church, pretend that Prince Phillip just said something racist, throw in some swipes at the bloated excesses of an un-eletected elite, “how many starving kids could that lady’s hat have fed – and that’s just from the fruit on it!”, and so on.

In fact, why would you bother with The Chaser’s coverage even if it was going ahead? It’s not like you could watch it with mates – not unless you wanted to spend the entire night going “shhh!” every time someone physically present wanted to crack a joke. If you’re watching the wedding with friends (realistically, the only way to watch it), you’re going to want to say your own snarky stuff. If you’re watching it because you’re honestly interested, why would you want some smarmy types making fun of it?  And if you’re watching it alone… well, why not watch some actual comedy instead? If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve got a DVD or two lying around you could watch that’d be a lot funnier than anything some guys making fun of a massively stage-managed and ploddingly paced wedding could come up with.

Much as the loss of any local comedy from our screens is an authentic loss, this is one we’re finding it hard to get worked up about. It’s not like The Chaser have a shortage of outlets for any quality scripted material they’ve already written; no doubt any really memorable jokes will turn up sooner or later.  At this stage there’s even a chance they might do a radio commentary and ask people to turn the sound down on their TVs. Which would be a real shame: having an actual, shouting-in-the-streets controversy about them not being allowed on television is the funniest thing The Chaser’s done in years.

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  • Winslow says:

    Lets pick a DVD at random to watch on Friday night…………Aww…Damn ‘The Chaser’s War on Everything Season 2 part 2’. Fuck it I may as well watch sport.

  • 13 schoolyards says:

    The real surprise was Dominic Knight saying on twitter that they probably wouldn’t be doing a radio version because it’d be “tough to adapt the show for radio because we’ve got heaps of sketches… we’d be starting from scratch 48 hours out.”

    So if there’s heaps of sketches already written, why not do a separate sketch show (“Not The Royal Wedding”?) without the footage*? Why can’t they just make stuff up over the visuals for a radio show like Roy & H.G.’s old finals shows? And if it’s because they can’t (the Chaser’s aren’t exactly known for their improv skills), why were they hired to commentate on an event where the whole point of tuning in would be to see / hear them making stuff up to poke fun of the event as it happened?

    Seems like the whole point of this was “The Chaser – remember them, nothing sacred, right – vs the super-sacred Royal Wedding! Something controversial’s bound to happen!! Don’t miss it!!!”

    Really, just running the ads saying they were going to cover the wedding was joke enough.

    *Chaz later said on Lateline that they didn’t have enough time to turn it into a special. But they’d have had enough time to do it for the Wedding? Presumably writing the links / framing material would be the problem…

  • 13 schoolyards says:

    Dominic Knight answers many of our questions (well, not “our” questions): http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/593660.html