Usually It Takes Longer For Grapes To Turn This Sour

Remember The Roast? Remember how it started in 2010 as entertainment show parody WTF! before turning up on ABC2 and Foxtel’s Comedy Channel as a daily two minute news parody before being expanded this year to a full ten minutes four days a week? Remember how to any of the hundreds of struggling comedians in this country the chance to make that much comedy on a regular basis would be a massive opportunity? Remember how comedy is such a tricky business to get even a toe-hold into that loads of provably decent comedians go years between television shows? Remember how bonafide comedy geniuses like Tony Martin can’t even get their own show on television? Remember how when The Roast got the chop after four years they said this:

“we were hoping because we were the lowest budget production in the history of the planet and produced more original comedy content than any other show in the country right now, we’d skate through unscathed.”

And then this:

We’d also like to wish young, promising comedians like Shaun Micallef and The Chaser the best of luck as we pass the torch down to them.

Remember when you first realised The Roast really were the smug unfunny jerks they appeared to be on their own smug, unfunny show?


Look, we get that having your show axed is tough, especially when you give off every indication of being overly entitled upper-middle class types who’ve never been told “no” in your lives. But seriously, what is wrong with these guys?

“Lowest budget production in the history of the planet” they say, seemingly never having even watched a single second of the literally billion times funnier work of John Clarke & Brian Dawe. “Original comedy content” they say, somehow confusing “original” with “funny” while also confusing “original” with “the same kind of half-arsed news parody everyone’s been doing since the dawn of time”. At least they haven’t pulled out the old “we’re giving the next generation of satirists a chance” line yet, so we can’t point out it’s been the same core team since the show started so that “new generation” they’re talking about is themselves yet again.

It must be difficult putting together a shithouse news parody at a time when Shaun Micallef is consistently making a really good one. And also when Shaun Micallef is a comedian who’s succeeded through hard work and years of effort, constantly working to hone his comedy skills, always out there trying something new in the rare periods when he’s not working on his own regular comedy gigs. And also when Shaun Micallef isn’t, for example, some utterly unremarkable guy in a suit whose only comedy work seems to have been on a show that only lasted this long because the ABC could buy it in bulk.

Oh yeah, and despite The Roast dropping hints a-plenty that they were dumped for budget reasons, other more reliable sources seem to suggest it was because the ABC finally watched an episode:

While decisions about ABC programming are being affected by looming government funding cuts, Fairfax Media understands the axing was part of the normal programming review process.

It went for four years. It had a good run. It’s over. And “jokes” like this at the expense of the only network that would have aired your crap:

In an announcement on the program on Monday night, The Roast team said: “It’s still unclear what show will replace The Roast on ABC2 but being ABC2 we can assume the current frontrunners include insightful documentaries like I Married My Staircase, My Penis Is A White Collar Criminal and Dawn Porter: Almost Fell Over in the Shower Today.”
Just go a really long way towards making you look like a bunch of petulant unfunny twats who shouldn’t let the door hit you on the way out.

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  • sdf says:

    “We’d also like to wish young, promising comedians like Shaun Micallef and The Chaser the best of luck as we pass the torch down to them.“

    Oh c’mon, that’s clearly a joke. After four years of these guys sucking I realise that humour has lost all value and purpose, but come on.

  • sdf says:

    (of course you realise it’s a joke, I mean that it isn’t worth calling them on. There’s far better examples of them being clueless, smug or humorless.)

  • sdf says:

    One more thing. They made a daily show. I don’t doubt that that’s tough. But let’s play the numbers here. Each week they put out 40 mins. So they only did one third more output than Micallef, despite having one billion percent less jokes.

  • yipiddyriceboy says:

    I’m not quite sure I follow your line of thought. The Micallef and Chaser reference is an apt summation of their entitlement and arrogance in having a show to begin with, due to their age and self regard as “young, promising comedians”, and it’s also a fallacious rationalisation of their cancellation by adopting the blame-everyone-else rhetoric.

    It is as if they see themselves as the single and only group of young comedians in this country, and if they aren’t given an opportunity then that’s it–there will never be young comedians again! So they’ll say they were cancelled for political reasons, for budget cuts, because the ABC doesn’t want to take a chance with them. In reality, their show built up a dismal audience made up of basic teenagers, basic adults and basic bitches (judging by their twitters and facebook fans). The show simply sucked and had barely any viewers of the type a political satire show is meant to have. You’d think in all the years they were doing the show they might have had a viral hit, even by accident.

    The Roast @TheRoastTV · 4h 4 hours ago
    “That magnificent bird who flew too close to the sun” Article about The Roast by @TV_Rev #roasttv

    That magnificent bird who flew too close to the sun? Christ.

  • Urinal Cake says:

    To be fair they are right about ‘Dawn Porter’- she really is quite useless on tv.

    I don’t think the dig at Micallef\Chaser was a good natured joke in the context of what they said about being the ‘new generation’ elsewhere.

    Any way young people these days.

  • 13 schoolyards says:

    Sure, it’s a joke. It’s almost the kind of joke The Chaser make in their press releases. But it’s a joke that says, instead of fostering new comedy (The Roast), the ABC has decided to go with the opposite. Even though The Roast have had a longer run at the ABC than Micallef has this century.

    Compared to pretty much every current ABC show without “Chaser” or “Gruen” in the title, The Roast *is* the establishment.

  • Yeps says:

    Ah, satire.

    Speaking truth to power since Aristophanes said, ‘So, that demagogue Cleon guy. Have you seen this? Have you heard about this?’

    …Except of course, usually the ‘truth’ comes from having a well honed comic voice and an established point of view. ‘The Roast’ team had…


    …well, I guess they were all wearing suits. So getting cancelled must have stung the wardrobe budget a little.

    No, exactly as others have been saying, there was little to nothing in ‘The Roast’ that qualified as legitimate satire, or even successful humour.

    That was pretty evident from the title of the show: ‘The Roast’. What exactly were they roasting? Not the news media, because despite ripping off ‘The Daily Show With Jon Stewart’ aesthetic, they never actually showed any searing critique of the workings of the industry, besides knowing how to stand next to a power point display and read an autocue. Not political spin, because Micallef blows open more governmental posturing in one Bill Shorten ‘BURNED’ clip than ‘The Roast’ has managed in four years of tediously quoting back verbatim the self-evidently dumb things politicians say. Jesus, even the Chaser team shows more personality and more variety in how they deliver a gag. …The fucking Chaser team!

    At best, ‘The Roast’ has offered itself as a delivery system for topical references, with every one of their segments becoming a variation on the same tired ‘comic’ Mad-Lib where you fill in the blanks from the newspaper copy:

    “Oh look, I’m saying something patently idiotic, very quickly, and straightforwardly expanding upon how ridiculous it is. Now let’s cut to a photoshopped image of a predictably cartoonish extreme that’s still not amusing because of my stilted delivery. Now let me reiterate the original non-joke, so that the premise is really worn into the ground. Now back to you in the studio, where you can make some veiled reference to how sad your own caricature of a life is, and how horrible you supposedly are as a human being…’





    Every night making the same mistake of thinking that simply because you regurgitate the facts of a story and put an acerbic question mark at the end, that’s commentary.

    One positive is that material this bland is usually easy enough to ignore – never rising above the boring drivel you see in every Uni student publication across the country (where it is supposed to die a natural, unmourned death). But for them to try and liken their flavourless slurry to masters of the form like Micallef, and to actually act all aggrieved that his exceptional show continues on while theirs is finally put out of its misery, is perhaps the most hysterically ironic ‘joke’ they have ever told.

    …Just not for the reason they meant it to be.

    Because beneath their signature unjustifiably smug snark, they get to remind us one last time how little tact, grace and self-awareness they always had, and how little their comedy evolved in four years of standing in place.

  • EvilCommieDictator says:

    “overly entitled upper-middle class types who’ve never been told “no” in your lives”

    “which started out as a thick slice of smug shit from untalented blow-ins then failed to improve in any real way (trust us on this, we were watching Charles Firth’s pet project back in 2010 when it was an entertainment parody on Go! called WTF!), it’s clearly for the best for all concerned that the cast and crew of The Roast are now free to take on new challenges. Like filling in a dole form.

    Oh wait, they’re all young white Sydney guys from upper middle-class backgrounds: they’ll be back with a new series of “viral videos” within a fortnight. And it’s not like the team don’t have other ways to earn a quid.”

    Sums up what I think at least 98%. The Aboriginal comedy series coming out in the non-ratings period looks at least ten-thousand times better than the (mild) roast

  • Andore Jr says:

    Smug. I hate it. If I have to look at your smarmy smug face on TV while you try and make me laugh, you can forget it.

    Case(s) in point: Paul McDermott, Andrew Denton, Chaser, The Roast, Josh Thomas, DARYL SOMMERS ARGH

    When Michallef ‘kicks’ you or something you hold an opinion on, you can still enjoy it because there’s no ‘I’m fucken superior to you’ in his delivery. It’s pretty much as simple as that.

    Similarly, when you see one of the smug asshats from ‘The Chaser’ delivering an Andrew Ollie Media Lecture, it sickens you to the point where you aren’t watching a comedian try and make you laugh, you’re watching him use you as a means to his/her own personal ends i.e. “the Next Andrew Denton”

  • yipiddyriceboy says:

    If anyone is interested, there’s a petition here to save the roast

    It has 651 signatures already which is pretty good. Oh hold on a second, that petition is to END CRUEL LIVE LOBSTER BOIL AND PIG ROAST AT EPISCOPAL CHURCH.

    The petition to ask ABC2 DO NOT CARVE THE ROAST is here:

    Coming in at.. well, 28 signatures so far. That’s pretty good!!

    Although one would imagine such a modest collection of signatures would actually be persuasive evidence to keep the show cancelled.

  • Wow says:

    This is a ridiculous post. I don’t understand how someone who reviews comedy could take satire so seriously? My golly gosh

  • 13 schoolyards says:

    You’d rather people who reviewed satire didn’t take it seriously? Guess your needs are being well and truly met by pretty much every “professional” television critic in Australia then.

  • Yeps says:

    This feels like the most obvious statement ever typed, but: satire IS serious.

    That’s the point.

    If a subject weren’t important enough to ridicule, if it didn’t have some significance, then mocking it would just be cheap bullying. Not satire.

    And if the joke itself didn’t have a knowing and observant spine of truth – if it wasn’t considered important enough to be researched and thoughtful – then there would be no irony being exposed, no greater observation to be made. It would be random nonsense.

    So if your definition of ‘satire’ is just ‘saying a bunch of wacky stuff that doesn’t mean anything’ then I think you’ve missed the point. That’s not ‘satire’; it’s meaningless. You might more correctly call it ‘mugging’, or ‘knee-jerk sarcasm’, or ‘abstraction’.

    …or ‘The Roast’.