Weekly As Piss

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.

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7 Comments

  • Andore Jr says:

    chummy laugh with Malcolm Turnbull

    lol, were you trying to pick a ‘common man’ politician, and came up with Turnbull?

    It’s actually the other way around – we are the rulers, and they are the ruled.

    For pollies, the only strategy that works today is to butter up the ‘soft entertainment’ class and win PR points with the solemn, nodding approval of Pickering et al. – do you know why? Because we, as the rulers, vote these fucking pricks in based on a level of superficiality no deeper than ‘the speedos guy’ vs. ‘the shaving cut guy’.

    Cast personal politics aside, and everyone will agree that Rudd has this lesson all sewn up; he dodged every ‘hardball’ show but was only too ready to appear in front of screaming teens or on Rove to share a joke or two (on that stupid segment, I forget the name, about the personal questions).

    People won’t remember any policy announcement from Julie Bishop past three weeks but thanks to an obscure ‘stare-out’ segment on Good News Week some ten? years ago it’s baked into her character.

    If the pollies polling numbers remained indifferent after an appearance on one of these shows, they wouldn’t bother turning up. The blame for this can be laid squarely at every fucking idiot who turns up to a voting booth.

  • Billy C says:

    Pickering’s problem is that while he’s a smart guy who can present information pretty well and I think actually sell a joke adequately on occasion….. he’s just not very likeable. He comes across as smarmy. Oliver is incredibly likeable. He’s the incredulous outsider. Pickering’s always going to be the kid from Scotch. He can’t ever really make fun of the establishment because he is the establishment. He’s still too young to do the faux newscaster that suits Micalef and Morris. Gleeson and Flannigan are far too light weight for actual satire. I’ll give it a watch on iview but the promo is quite Brassed Eye lite.

  • 13 schoolyards says:

    No, it was more that Turnbull is a smug right-wing millionaire that supposedly intelligent left-leaning types often think is somehow better than Abbott and the rest of his Liberal party room comrades. He’s the favourite Liberal of the six figure-salaried Labor-leaning commentariat because he seems “nice”. Which is kind of missing the point.

    Otherwise you’re right, but it takes two to tango: if these shitty shows refused to have politicians on, both sides would be better off.

  • 13 schoolyards says:

    It’s a pretty impressive achievement to make The Chaser seem working class, that’s for sure.

  • Urinal Cake says:

    Looks like ‘The Roast’ lives on except with six swarmy presenters we now have one presenter with the swarm of six people.

  • sdf says:

    It’s unfair to say this promo is joke-free. I counted about a dozen jokes, they’re just not at all funny. And the end line is a direct rip off of the ads for Last Week Tonight.

    Getting really bored of comedians who aren’t funny. Trying isn’t nearly good enough.

  • Toddisacrapname says:

    I assumed this would be a copy of John Oliver but the influence of that older piece of shit seems to be living on. Pickering comes across as self interested. I don’t think he actually cares about anything. He doesn’t even seem to want the audience to like him.

    What is this promo even trying to say? We’re a fake news show? Uh okay. and are those stupid head nods meant to be cute? They come across as ‘I have no idea what I’m doing, I’ll just try to appear cute because I have absolutely nothing funny or creative to say.’ You’d think a promo might have a bit more effort put into it. Not a good omen for the actual program.

    He reminds me of one of those ‘averaged faces’ only instead of normal faces they’ve averaged out smug faces. It’s not often you can say this about someone but showbusiness allows it: the guy is just boring and dull. He shouldn’t be doing this kind of show. He comes across as someone who has never had any struggles in his life, but we never really know because he doesn’t open up to you. He shows no emotion on his face and doesn’t say anything revealing, which is really boring. I look forward to him manufacturing fake outrage and fake emotions though:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GGQqXgGM7AU

    Maybe it’s an Australian male thing but it’s as if he’s not really impressed by emotions. Everything is very controlled, his eyebrows never move, and he can’t just let his true feelings out. Micallef, Oliver and Stewart both go on wild and emotional rants which are genuine and interesting. There is a kind of illogical and playful leap they take which is a risk that often pays off. We feel they actually care about what they’re saying. Look at 2:07 of the above video—it’s not comedy of course, but christ he sounds like he doesn’t care what he’s saying.

    The other thing I get from Pickering is that he seems not at all interested in ordinary people, and he comes across as uncool. Micallef, John Stewart and John Oliver are cool guys. You could imagine them hanging out with a whole variety of different types of oddballs both now and when they were starting out and even now. Stewart used to wear leather jackets. They’d fit in if they were at a party with young, political and intellectual types or artist types or really whoever. Pickering is the kind of guy who wouldn’t even associate with someone odd. He wouldn’t even understand them. You might say that’s an odd criteria to apply to a comedian, but that’s a worthy barometer of ‘comedy’ because for some reason, by and large, those oddballs are the people who go into comedy and become comedy writers. People like Micallef clearly enjoy playing with language, but above all playing with other people. The passion and fun and flights of fancy Micallef goes on…these are attributes almost all comedians have in some form or another:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K_p37bHdCM4

    Pickering has none of this. He’s boring and the show will fail, and the ONLY thing that will make it succeed is if they get celebrity interviews which appears to be what they’re banking on. Could you imagine him doing an interview like this? I can’t. Another unlikeable wanker who has media contacts but no hope of succeeding at this style of program.