The Weekly Week Two: Still Weak

Do you think they’re regretting those fake news headline jokes in the opening credits? They’re not bad jokes, but they’re not classics either, and seeing them for another 18 weeks is going to take the shine off them so hard we’ll be lucky if there’s even any bare metal left underneath. Man, they really did not think this through, did they?

And that impression was only further re-enforced when host Charlie Pickering told us right off the top of the bat that don’t worry – he wasn’t going to be making fun of any of the news out of Nepal or Indonesia. Jesus, really? Okay, this is a new show and they probably felt they needed to let the viewers know that this isn’t the kind of show that’s going to “go there”. They were wrong.

If you’re doing a news satire and you start saying up front “there’s nothing funny about this particular big news story so we’re leaving it alone”, you should quit. There’s next to nothing on the news that isn’t going to offend someone if you make a joke about it. And obviously there are going to be some stories where the simply isn’t a funny angle that’s easily available. But to say up front “these stories are out of bounds”? Just pack up and go home.

Especially if your first big run of jokes for the day turn out to be about ISIS. ISIS are somehow less offensive on a moral level than the executions of the Bali 9?  Sure, repeated exposure to the horrors of ISIS have worn away at our disgust, thus opening the door for hilarious comedy – and even for the stuff The Weekly does – but still: opening your show with a “don’t worry, we’re not going to make jokes about touchy subjects” really does utterly fucking defeat the purpose of a show making fun of the news.

Wait, our mistake – the next target in The Weekly‘s comedy sights turned out to be a boxing match. Sorry, we thought this show was going to be a news satire. Then again, the boxing jokes were almost kind of sort of actual jokes, so maybe boxing comedy is the future of The Weekly. They have massive heavyweight champion fights for the world title every week don’t they? Oh.

Tom Gleeson was moved up to the front of the show for a segment that seemed to be largely about him informing us that he “doesn’t give a shit” about the upcoming Royal Baby, or who would be on the currency if not some royal, or various redheads. Then again, he was the ‘ginger ninja’ for a while. And Pickering seemed to find it hilarious, a trick many of you may recall from his years of laughing hysterically at everything Shaun Micallef did on Talkin’ ’bout Your Generation.

Hey, here’s a fun thing to think about while you’re waiting to laugh at The Weekly: remember all those times when some wastrel or another brought up the “fact” that “young people all get 100% of their news from comedy” and tried to use it to justify creating a news satire show? Thank god no-one said that about The Weekly, because judging by this week’s episode it’s hard to imagine a news satire less interested in actual news. An extended story about possible Olympic bids a decade from now? Did literally nothing happen in Australia over the last week?

If our big worry last week was that The Weekly wasn’t going to be smart enough, then this week our big worry was that it was going to dissolve into a lemon-scented mist before our very eyes. There’s lightweight comedy, and then there’s a show that has no point to it whatsoever. And somewhere well past that The Weekly was wandering around in circles while Kitty Flanagan gave us an important update on people taking selfies on Anzac Day.

Anzac Day! We knew something vaguely interesting had happened during the last week. Not that The Weekly mentioned it or the events that took place during it or people’s reactions to it or the growing feeling that Anzac Day is actually starting to become a bit divisive as the nation splits between those who see it and “our Diggers” as scared figures and those who think that maybe worshipping war is bad. Guess it wasn’t as news worthy as a bunch of jokes about giving away kangaroos.

So it was kind of ironic that the final joke of the evening was a swipe at commercial news for not doing due diligence on the Belle Gibson case. “We can’t blame the media for letting stories like this go unchecked,” smarmed Pickering, “there are just so many important stories they have to cover”. WHAT, LIKE ALL THE REAL NEWS STORIES YOUR SHITHOUSE “NEWS SATIRE” SHOW JUST COVERED YOU SMUG CHUNK OF UNDIGESTED-

– sorry about that. There’s just something about a news comedy show that’s spent 27 and a half minutes studiously avoiding making any comment at all about any actual news deciding to wrap things up with a swipe at the news for being lightweight that just, you know, doesn’t quite sit right with us.

Still, we are willing to admit that we did get one thing majorly wrong about The Weekly in our review last week. Remember how back then we called it “a Daily Show rip-off”?  After seeing this week’s show, we unreservedly take that back.

Whatever the similarities in format, this pissweak, half-arsed sleepwalking crap is nothing at all like The Daily Show.

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  • sdf says:

    I didn’t mind 8MMM though. Not bad.

  • Urinal Cake says:

    Bring back Micallef. Give Stacey her own documentary series.

  • EvilCommieDictator says:

    “A royal baby tends to bring out the worst in my best friends”
    – Tom Gleeson

    I suggest he get better friends, or at least one of them

  • EvilCommieDictator says:

    Jeebus, the olympics segment is weak.

    I imagine to most people this is interesting, but anyone who’s been looking out for Rio is not surprised.

    As Harry Shearer sayd:
    The Olympics!
    It’s a Movement!
    And we need one!
    Every Day!

  • Billy C says:

    Haven’t watched it but it sounds a bit like This Week Live.

  • yeps says:

    In one of John Oliver’s first shows (I can’t recall, it may have even been his first) he tackled the death penalty. He said, sorry audience, I know this shit is grim, but it’s important, and it needs to be said, and he then proceeded to ride a twisted vein of dark comedy straight through the issue to say something powerful, and cruelly hilarous, about a topic that many people continue to shy away from addressing.

    That’s why he’s a master of his craft.

    Indeed, it was probably one of the moments that made Charlie Pickering decide to wholesale plagiarise Oliver’s program.

    It’s probably also why Pickering puffed himself up in countless sycophantic pre-launch interviews, bleating on about how he was going to ‘explore the issues’ and how comedians like him ‘use ridicule to keep the powerful under control’.

    And then, in his second episode, he has the opportunity to speak to one of the most loaded, impactful stories in recent Australian history, a story overstuffed with a range of those ‘issues’ he claimed to be eager to sniff out (corporal punishment, justice, hypocrisy, political posturing, governmental and judicial screw ups), and he chose to look bravely down the barrel of the camera …and admit that he was going to tuck tail and run cowering away from the topic entirely.

    Fucking pathetic.

    If he is literally unable, or unwilling, to even mention the story, then what is the point of him? In that instant his whole show admitted itself to be nothing more than the lazy, cheap masturbatory ego stroke it already appeared to be.

    Because if Pickering wanted to just smirk at a sympathetic audience and riff a few feeble softball ‘look at these clowns in the news’ bits, he could have thrown a blanket over the clothesline and banged out a nice skit for the family barbeque. His relatives could have smiled, and clapped politely, and told him that he looked very smart in a suit.

    But if he actually wants to have a show that means something, a show that isn’t just inexplicably fueled by his smug negative-sum personality, that deserves to be even thought of in the same universe as Jon Stewart, John Oliver, and Shaun Micallef, he needs to do some fucking work, have something worth saying, and actually show the goddamn strength of character to follow through with it.

    Because right now that half hour is dead air dressed up as satire, which to me is worse than any of the ‘media’ he pretends to be holding to account.

  • UnSubject says:

    I was curious about the John Oliver comparision and went off to watch the Death Penalty monologue. It’s actually in his second episode on air.

    So if you want to draw that line of divergence, The Weekly faced something similar in their second show and decided to run in the opposite direction.