Briggswatch 2020: The Search for Segments

The Weekly‘s been a bit erratic format-wise this year, but just because the days when it was utterly predictable seem over doesn’t mean the show is actually, you know, interesting or funny. So we were going to take a break this week and focus on other things until we actually watched this week’s installment and… where’d everybody go?

Regular readers of this blog have our sympathies, but they also may recall that a year or two back we ran a series of posts wondering out loud where supposed Weekly regular Briggs actually was. He was in the credits and promos, some episodes even ended with the promise that he’d be back next week, but he just… never turned up. Even in 2020, when he’s technically still part of the team, he hasn’t been sighted (or mentioned) once. Then again, when you can do comedy protest songs with Tim Minchin and have been working with Matt Groening, being condescended to by Charlie Pickering is probably something you don’t need in your life.

So no Briggs this week. Also no Judith Lucy, Luke McGregor, Tom Gleeson, Kitty Flanagan or the Ghost of John Clarke. “You want Charlie Pickering?”, the demonic head of ABC Entertainment seemed to be saying, “HAVE ALL THE CHARLIE PICKERING IN THE WORLD!!” Or at least, a solid half hour of him, which we can all agree is definitely some kind of demonic punishment.

Opening news recap? Pickering. Interview with Hugo Weaving? Pickering. Multiple “comedy” news explainer segments? Pickering. Chats with overseas comedians talking about the issues facing their countries? Pickering and just for a change, Pickering. The return of Charlie Pickering, ABC HR manager? This would have been hilarious if the role of Charlie Pickering had been played by literally anyone else but no, it’s more Pickering.

Sure, it’s his name there on the title. And no doubt the lingering effects of Coronavirus have taken their toll on the show and by that we mean Tom Gleeson isn’t stinking up the place quite so much. But there was nobody around to hand in a segment to break up the half hour chunk of non-stop suck? Much as we appreciated the return of Eddie McGuire gleefully reeling off a list of Millionaire Hot Seat tales of woe, that 60 seconds or so of fun wasn’t really enough of a break from the wall-to-wall Pickering.

(there was also Corona Cops, the segment where the footage changes but the jokes do not)

The Weekly has always been a weirdly shonky show for a prime time news satire, what with the missing Briggs and that time they promo’ed an interview with the South Park creators and then just never aired it. Whether it’s such a high pressure environment that they’re all just barely keeping it together, or they don’t have the resources to put together a smoothly running satirical machine, or they just… can’t be arsed, we have no idea. But there’s a big difference between a freewheeling show that keeps things loose so they can make sure the best possible comedy goes to air and whatever we’re getting each week with The Weekly.

Hey, at least Pickering’s still wearing that natty sports jacket.

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