Over the years we’ve developed something of a reputation as people who love to hate. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth: we’re so full of hate we even hate hating, which is why we try to be fair and balanced with our critical responses to the wide world of Australian comedy. But occasionally, along comes some news that deserves nothing but a good kicking:
JMOFEST IS BACK!
2011 hails the return of the Julia Morris Film Festival
After nearly 200 entries in 2010 from all over the world, The Julia Morris Film Festival (or ‘JMoFest’ for short) returns bigger and better in 2011 for its first birthday!
In case you’ve been smacking yourself in the face with a shovel over the last year to try and erase the memory of this disgrace, the “Julia Morris Film Festival” involves dupes making short films to help promote the struggling would-be celebrity as she desperately tries to keep people interested in her despite her failure to do anything even remotely funny or interesting in living memory. Said promotion involves the appearance of a Julia Morris mask somewhere in the film: our idea of putting the mask on a pumpkin and then hacking it to bits with an axe was deemed “too much effort”, especially as merely holding up a copy of her shoddy autobiography would be just as horrifying.
Yeah yeah, raise money for charity, blah blah worthwhile exposure for upcoming film-makers. Are you serious? Both these things can be achieved in ways that don’t involve promoting a tired comedian who hasn’t been involved in a worthwhile project since that episode of QI she was on a decade ago. And while there are prizes on offer, let’s be clear: you are going to be making a film to promote Julia Morris. What does it benefit a man to gain the world, if in the process he loses his soul by helping out Julia Morris?
[also, these prizes are much less than you would be paid to create a promotional video for someone. And when you enter your short film, Morris claims all rights associated with it: if it turns out that your short contains a brilliant idea for a feature film, comedy sketch or commercial, you’ve just kissed it goodbye. A fate you actually fully deserve, because you made a short film PROMOTING JULIA MORRIS.]
And while we’re a-hatin’, the 2011 Awgie (Australian Writers Guild) award nominations were announced recently, and… oh, just take a look at the comedy categories:
COMEDY: SKETCH OR LIGHT ENTERTAINMENT
Good News Week: Australia Decides 2010 – Dave Bloustien, Simon Dodd, Bruce Griffiths, Warwick Holt, Paul Livingston and Ian Simmons
Good News Week: Episode 3.30 – Dave Bloustien, Simon Dodd, Bruce Griffiths, Warwick Holt, Paul Livingston and Ian Simmons
Good News Week: The First Cut – Dave Bloustien, Simon Dodd, Bruce Griffiths, Warwick Holt, Paul Livingston and Ian Simmons
COMEDY: SITUATION OR NARRATIVE
Laid: Episode 4 – Marieke Hardy
Housos: Pregnant – Paul Fenech
Review With Myles Barlow: Series 2 Episode 1 – Phil Lloyd with Trent O’Donnell
What, if we may be so crude, the fuck? Even accepting that, as their website says “They are awards which are given for the script alone, recognising that it all starts with the written word’ – which, we’re assuming, means you have to submit your script to the AWG to get nominated, which might explain some of the more jaw-dropping omissions – this is a debacle of epic scale.
Put another way: Judith Lucy’s Spiritual Journey contained sketches. Good News Week barely contains jokes. Maybe the writers were nominated for not committing suicide once Mikey Robbins stopped being fat, thus eliminating 60% of their material?
As for the sitcom category, while it’s kind of hard to tell exactly what time period’s being covered here – Housos is yet to air, while Review was the middle of 2010 – series two of The Jesters was a): scripted and b): almost certainly a billion times better than the latest load of incoherent shouting from the pen of Paul “Pizza” Fenech. What about The Librarians series 3? We’re not saying these shows are great, just that Housos had better be pretty fucking fantastic – thus reversing a full decade of drivel from Paul “time for another no-name special guest appearance” Fenech – if this category is to scrape through with any kind of credibility at all.
And the sketch comedy category… okay, sure, GNW is light entertainment. So is wacking yourself in the crotch with a meat tenderiser. And the meat tenderiser has more on-air personality and comedy timing than Paul McDermott puts out there on GNW these days.
We could go on – does every single comedy show out of the ABC these days have to be “join us as [comedian / comedy troupe] takes a wacky look at the world of [something already covered by a ‘serious’ ABC program]” and if so that still doesn’t explain how the Chaser found a crack between The Gruen Colostomy and Media Watch to insert The Hamster Wheel – but instead, let’s end on a positive. No, not that the “revamped” Good News World will be lucky to last three weeks.
Starting next Tuesday night is ABC2’s newish (an earlier version aired on Channel 31) sitcom Twentysomething. It’s actually pretty good. If you want to check out the first episode (and you’re in Australia – stupid geoblocking), you can do so here. We recommend you do so; lord knows pretty much everything else that’s coming up soon (bar ABC2’s other c31 theft, The Bazura Project) looks like more of the kind of disposable, forgettable material that has enabled Paul “more shouting – over the top of each other this time” Fenech to call himself ‘award-nominated’ without being laughed out of town. That’s a real shame; it’d be the first laugh he’d given us in years.