When Doves Cry

So yesterday on Twitter this happened:

Which got this reply:

Cue this snappy comeback:

Followed by this devastating finishing move:

And that, as they say, was that.

Ben Jenkins, in case you don’t know, is about as core a member of The Chaser as you can get outside of the core members, having worked with them on pretty much everything since The Hamster Wheel. Remember all those times we said having politicians on a political comedy show pretty much puts your political comedy show on the side of the politicians? Yeah, this is yet another drawback to having politicians on: even if Jenkins had a good point, The Chaser – which includes Jenkins – have zero credibility in this area.

In the world of politics, of course, this kind of thing is hardly a fatal blow. There are loads of excuses that can be made for doing something in the past that you now find offensive. It’s even possible to imagine – if you think really hard – a world where simply pointing out something dodgy would lead to a discussion focused solely on that dodgy thing and not the errors of the past. But despite The Chaser’s increasing interest in moving among the power brokers of society as equals –

The Sydney Town Hall was a little off kilter on this balmy spring night. The formal table settings and black ties were as might be expected of the venue, as was the diverse list of guests, including former NSW premier Kristina Keneally, former federal cabinet minister Craig Emerson, Human Rights Commissioner Ed Santow, 2GB drive host Ben Fordham, ABC News boss Gaven Morris, and authors Anna Funder and Peter FitzSimons, the latter head of the Australian Republican Movement. Yet table numbers had to be deduced from not-always-simple maths formulae; fortune cookies contained risqué notes; and the program promised a menu including a “roulade of road kill (possum, skunk, the weak) fresh baked in a trash can set on fire by a man in a Bernie Sanders T-shirt muttering about Michigan”.

Welcome to the 2016 Sesquicentennial Inaugural Chaser Lecture and Dinner, starring pioneering Indonesian female stand-up comedian Sakdiyah Ma’ruf and designed to raise money for Article 19, a freedom of expression human rights organisation. The top sale in the auction was $3000, paid for “A Deeply Stressful Personal Interview with Sarah Ferguson [the ABC 4 Corners host]”. The opportunity to “Throw the Complete Works of Peter FitzSimons at Peter FitzSimons” went for $1100.

In two years, the loose piss-take of the ABC’s annual Andrew Olle Media Lecture has become more than just another undergraduate stunt hosted by the Chaser boys. They protest that their success, nay very commercial existence, is a little tenuous. But the Sesquicentennial event suggests otherwise. Both established and emerging companies buy tables, sponsors include Commonwealth Bank and Media Super, and tickets cost double those for the Olle lecture. The Chaser’s Craig Reucassel avers “not quite all of them paid” but even so, it’s an impressive sign of acceptance by the top end of town.

“The Chaser might say it’s all not so serious, but the establishment is here,” notes one attendee.

– the fact remains that their business empire is built on comedy. And their past behaviour means that as political satirists these days they’re nothing but a joke.

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1 Comment

  • David M says:

    I had an argument with that Ben Jenkins guy about putting the word “Harambe” in any sentence is not funny, and indeed, when you have to spend more time explaining the joke (remember everyone puts (the gorilla who died)) it might just be a bit shit.