Negative Stereotypes

Well, this sounds hilarious:

A Netflix comedy series written by Chris Lilley will be filmed on the Gold Coast, in what the state government says is a $6 million win for the local economy.

Ten episodes will be filmed between March and June this year.

Unfortunately no-one seems to know what the show is going to be about, so it’s safe to assume it’s just going to be Lilley riffing to camera about whatever mildly “shocking” subjects come to mind… like every other show he’s ever made. Don’t expect to see it any time soon either: the last time he aimed for ten episodes it took over a year of editing before it saw the light of day.

It’s slightly – but only slightly – refreshing to see that pretty much every report on this went straight to “man, Chris Lilley is racist af”. Hell, in at least one case they just straight-up led with that:

Comedian Chris Lilley is returning to the spotlight for the first time since he was widely criticised for posting a controversial video to his Instagram in 2017.

Lilley was widely criticized for the clip and faced fury from a number of notable names, including Indigenous duo AB Original last year after he shared a blackface music video for Squashed N***a, only hours after protests in Melbourne over the death of 14-year-old Indigenous boy Elijah Doughty.

“It took five years to get that credence to tell everyone that what he did was racist and fucking whack,” Briggs told The Music at the time.“It shows his disconnection from black culture, black politics and black people in general.”

Which suggests that unless Lilley has somehow totally reinvented his act – you know, the exact same act he’s been doing since the very start of his career – he’s pretty much fucked. Because while society may not have been completely stood on its head over the last few years, attitudes towards an upper middle-class white guy making fun of women and other races really kinda has.

He might be able to cobble together an audience from nostalgic fans and people who find trolling funny, but the days when Lilley could have it both ways – being seen as shining a light on social problems faced by underprivileged sectors of the community by some, getting laughs from wearing a dress and bunging on an accent by others – are well and truly over. Worse (for him), comedy has changed, and the idea of creating “comedy” by making audiences feel awkward by saying offensive shit is over now that we can get that for free from the internet.

So if dressing up as a woman for laughs is out, and dressing up in blackface for laughs is out, and dressing up as a teenager to hang out with other teens is out, and mocking minorities and the disabled under cover of “being confronting” is out, what’s left for Lilley to fill ten episodes with? And does anyone care enough to want to find out?

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  • Yep says:

    I imagine that even Lilley must realise that his shtick is not going to go very far unless he tilts back from the openly offensive gear based on racial discrimination, and instead leans into mocking lazy social stereotypes, which his fans (there are some still, I assume?) can claim are entirely personality based.

    So, I’m guessing we’ll see:

    Young, perpetually drunk, wanna-be starlet who keeps getting tossed out of Gold Coast nightclubs. Lilley can pretend that guy-in-a-dress is a comedy tradition (Monty Python did it, people!), while in actuality he is just openly rehashing the Ja’mie character for the fifteenth time.

    There will be Overzealous Lifeguard man. He takes his job far too seriously. Cue wacky business on the beach that he is both too aggressive and emotionally ill-equipped to deal with. He has some kind of backstory with a shark – was he sexually assaulted by one? Who knows.

    There’ll be some white-boy beach gang culture, so the make-up department can get some tats going, Lilley can make up some offensive but asinine swearing to sound edgy, and the plot can flirt with (read: exploit) the issue of nationalistic hate groups, and ultimately suggest in the final episode that maybe being a violent bigot is not so great.

    Sleazy real estate guy will definitely turn up. He has slick hair, shiny white shoes, and a truly fucking pathetic life that he mansplains to everyone is just the rockin’ bachelor existence of a babes and bucks banging winner. He will also be insufferable to watch after 2.5 seconds of screen time.

    And government bureaucrat – maybe another woman? She has a big dumb idea that she’s just desperate to get through council. Maybe it’s a waterslide hospital, or an amusement park to commemorate the Vietnam War, but whatever it is, every week we’ll see her plans go awry as the sensible officious people around her look incredulous.

    It’s be comedy gold!

    …although, honestly, who the hell knows what goes on in Lilley’s mind? He built one series to a climax that involved his head being CGIed onto the body of a topless teenage girl, and followed that up with Blackface: The Series. He seems less interested in producing ‘comedy’ (even the ‘cringe’ variety) and more dabbling in the stuff of nightmares.

  • 13 schoolyards says:

    Two words: Schoolies Week.