After a not-so-great year, for either humanity or comedy (vote now in the Australian Tumbleweed Awards 2020!), it’s the holidays – a time to relax, eat and drink too much, and enjoy some Christmas laughs.
The Chaser’s War on 2020, a series of end-of-year videos on The Shovel’s YouTube channel, has got a bit of attention, mainly for their sketch in which former Movie Show critics Margaret Pomeranz and David Stratton review the year 2020 like it’s a film.
Yeah, okay, we get the joke – and it’s a decent enough joke – but do we have to watch it play out over more than three minutes when that’s pretty much all it is? That one joke.
Other sketches in the War on 2020 series are along similar lines, i.e. there’s an decent satirical conceit at the heart of the sketch…and that’s about all.
The series has its moments (i.e. Norman Swan with his toilet paper stockpile in the Dickhead-19 sketch) – and any decent human being is on-board with the sentiments in Writing White Characters and Symbolic Gesture Day – but that’s not enough. Be funnier, dammit!
Laughs were in greater supply in Shaun Micallef’s Mad As Hell Pagan Holiday Special, an hour of Christmas comedy that featured many much-loved characters in a half-hearted parody of A Christmas Carol.
Casper Jonquil was Tiny Tim, Dolly Norman returned as the Ghost of Christmas Past, Darius Horsham played the Ghost of Christmas Present, and who better than Brian Pegmatite to play the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come.
Add in parodies of Vera and Call the Midwife, a Claymation Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer,and a version of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 (Ode to Joy), with Stephen Hall and Francis Greenslade dressed as teeth, and this was a pretty-solid hour of comedy. Better, we’re predicting, than tomorrow night’s The Yearly, anyway.
The lesson here? At Christmas time, even in the middle of a global pandemic and a climate change emergency, the satire should be a bit more subtle. There were as many hard-hitting gags about our awful government in Mad As Hell as there were in the War on 2020, but Mad As… made sure they were funny. Or at least stupid.
And right now, stupid jokes are about all we can cope with.
I note Mitch McTaggart made a late bid for one of the funniest shows of the year with his special on SBS Viceland, The Last Year of Television 2020 Special. Be interesting to see your take on this show. And all the very best to you!