One Idea, No Joke

It’s got to be tough for Australia’s political comedians at the moment. Not only do they have to struggle with the whole “not funny” thing, but with a new Federal government in power they’ve finally got to come up with new jokes. Or do they?

Remember last week’s The Weekly haha of course not. Here’s a refresher: towards the end of the show there was one of their “add a new voiceover to existing footage” sketches titled “Party Pooper”. There didn’t seem to be an actual joke involved – it was just footage of a Labor party room meeting with a voice over telling us that somewhere in the room there was a “party pooper”. Oh look, there he is:

That was it. That was the whole sketch. Albo is the current leader, and former leader Bill Shorten is raining on his parade by… existing?

If you squint reeeeeeeeal hard you can maybe see some kind of “the Labor party is wracked with internal ructions, how long before they turn on each other” comment being made… which is a problem because the next night on the ABC we got this:

Containing such pithy insights as “I got into government to knife a sitting PM. We are Labor – this is what we do!”, the premise was that after three weeks in government pressure was already building to “knife Albo”.

The joke was that this idea was a joke. And sure, as the sketch itself points out, it’s early days and the government is in its honeymoon period: there’s not a whole lot to make jokes about. Unless you actually think about what it would be like to form a new government, with all the new powers and status and upheaval and people we’ve hardly ever heard of now running the country.

Nah, let’s just make the same jokes we were making ten years ago.

Even then this wouldn’t be so pissweak if around 95% of Australia’s “political satirists” hadn’t spent the last three years ignoring the fact that the LNP is exactly the same, if not worse. How many leaders have the Nationals had in the last few years? How did Scott Morrison become Prime Minister in the first place? Did anyone – outside of Mad as Hell – even mention that Peter Dutton would have knifed Morrison in a second if he didn’t know it would have been political suicide?

Also, fun fact: Scott Morrison is still in Parliament. These exact same jokes could be made right now about the Liberals – and would arguably be even funnier as they’d be about a guy who, having just lost an election, figures a fortnight out of power is too long for his liking. Which doesn’t seem out of character for ScoMo.

After federal Labor lost government nine years ago, they’ve been remarkably settled as far as leadership goes. After Morrison knifed Turnbull four years back, the Liberals have been the same. Backroom #auspol rumbles aside, this shit just isn’t a real thing any more. And this is what our top satirists decide to joke about with a new government in power? Up next, scathing political commentary on the response to the GFC and a bunch of jokes about “bottom of the harbour” tax schemes.

There’s been a lot of talk in recent years about how the ABC is either staffed by right wing types or is so scared of the LNP they’re acting like they’re staffed by right wing types. If this week has shown us anything, it’s that it doesn’t really matter why the ABC might seem skewed more towards one side of politics than the other.

If they can’t make better anti-Labor jokes than this, they’re hardly doing the Liberals any favours.

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