So we now have this to look forward to:
If somebody doesn’t put together a sketch where *all* the cast members of Talkin’ ’bout Your Generation are hosting identical news comedy shows, we’ll… well, we’ll continue to throw all our sketch ideas into the bin where they belong.
Ok, let’s be realistic here: Shaun MIcallef can’t do everything on his own and with him having a sitcom lined up for the second half of the year it’s totally reasonable for the ABC to find another show to tick the much loved “satire” programming box. But another fake news show right on the back of Mad as Hell? Even if Mad as Hell has wandered a bit down the ever-reliable Micallef rabbit hole and away from straight-up news jokes, do you really want to encourage direct comparisons with the best news satire show this country has seen in over a decade?
But of course, there’s this:
[it’s] a news comedy show, a tonight show, a chat show and a panel show all in one
Which at least goes some way towards explaining why that promo seemed remarkably joke-free. While Mad as Hell is basically a sketch show disguised as a news parody, it seems likely that The Weekly is going to make a much more concerted effort to rip off The Daily Show. You know the drill: wacky opening monologue, slightly more in depth report on something (presumably from Kitty Flanagan and / or Tom Gleeson – you know, the cast members not featured in that clip – which will in no way prompt comparisons with John Oliver), a guest from the real world, then roll credits. Remember all those times you got Charlie Pickering and Jon Stewart mixed up? No? Better not tell the ABC that.
It’s the chat show part that has us worried, mostly because… well, let’s let this guy dig the hole for us:
Hopefully what Pickering will deliver is something that takes a critical eye to the dealings of Australian news, including the Federal Parliament, but also will give an opportunity for our beloved Joe Hockeys and Tanya Pliberseks to contribute gags coming from the witty nature of politician matched with comedian, rather than just at the leader’s expense.
This is the worst idea in the history of comedy. Every single time any comedy show lets a politician on for whatever reason, the politician uses their appearance to try and bullshit the general public into thinking they’re not a massive arsehole. And we’re not being anti-politician here: it simply does not matter what the politician is like in real life. No doubt many of them are decent human beings who only want the best for us all. Even if their idea of “best” involves recording everything we do on the internet and banning funding for public transport.
Whatever their personal qualities, the fact is that they are part of a system that time and time and time again fucks over the general public. Anything that makes them seem more human only serves to encourage the general public to let their guard down as to the true nature of our society. They are the rulers, we are the ruled, and the second we sympathise with them they will take everything we hold near and dear and give us a good kicking on their way out the door.
Does that sound a bit excessive? Guess what: being excessive is how comedy works. There are no laughs to be had in a calm and reasonable take on the week in politics. And if you’re going to be excessive, you’re going to be taking swings at politicians because oh wait no you’re not because they’re sitting on the desk with you and you’re lobbing softballs at them because otherwise they won’t come back and having politicians on is part of what makes your news comedy show different from all the rest. So congratulations: you’ve made a comedy show that can’t actually be funny.
Not that this is news to the ABC: after all, they gave Charlie Pickering the job. Could this actually be the first comedy show that sides with politicians against the general public? Could Pickering finally let his sneery undercurrent of smirking contempt for the common man off the leash and give us week after week of him having a chummy laugh with Malcolm Turnbull because he’s someone Pickering feels is actually on his level? Not that we’re saying that would be a bad thing – we’ll save saying that for when we’ve actually seen an episode of The Weekly.
After all, if we’re this snarky after a 30 second promo, by the time we actually review this sucker we’re probably going to blow the roof off.