The Chaser was responsible for some fine political mischief.
Most notoriously, its prankster cast exposed the absurdity of overly conspicuous (yet underly effective) security when their fake motorcade breached the restricted zone in the heart of fortress Sydney during the 2007 APEC summit.
One of the show’s cast, Craig Reucassel, is now hosting an Australian remake of the UK stunt show Balls of Steel. Screening on the Comedy Channel, it features a series of characters who compete to out-prank unwitting members of the public.
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The Palace is not amused. A royal edict, delivered not by chariot with unfurled parchment, but via grey-suits and sneaky lawyer speak, has decreed there shall be no Chaser royal wedding coverage. Oh, well. No big loss.
Let’s face it, you were either going to salivate over every second of the straight Royal Wedding coverage, or you were going to act like someone with a life and ignore it completely. The Chaser’s coverage, despite this week’s massive publicity blitz, was always going to be of minimal interest to the masses.
That’s not to say The Chaser’s take wouldn’t have been a laugh. Without doubt, it would have been an amusing enough diversion from the obsessive fussing over the length of the bride’s train, Beckham’s wedding hairdo and other minutiae. But there’s no way it would’ve been must-see TV, and there’s a very simple reason why.
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I don’t know how it happened. It could be higher levels of blue-rinse in the water. Maybe it’s a spike in the sales of model trains. Or a sudden surge in the demand for lamingtons. But 2009 is unofficially shaping up to be The Year Of The Wowser.
With almost German precision (if I am permitted to use nationality as the basis of my point), the chorus of shrill voices responding to controversy in comedy has been oscillating at a rock solid bi-weekly frequency in recent months.
While you have to admire the sheer energy these biddies have - you can’t grant them any real depth of understanding when it comes to the art form. (And yes. It is an art form.)
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It’s less than a fortnight since Mark Scott made his annual trip to Canberra for his annual dust-up with conservative politicians at Senate Estimates hearings. This gives him a full 50 weeks to prepare for next year’s breathless interrogation as to why the national broadcaster used taxpayer funds to fly John Safran to Israel so he could masturbate on television.
This at least will be the puritanical take on what unfolded on our screens at 9.30 last night in the debut of Safran’s mega-hyped new series Race Relations.
As part of his exploration of interracial relationships and attraction, Safran flew to Israel where he arranged for a Palestinian man to donate sperm which he then took to an Israeli fertility clinic. In return, the Jewish Safran donated sperm to a Palestinian fertility clinic, using a photograph of Barack Obama to arouse himself.
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It’s been one of the most hyped shows of the year, sparking complaints before it even aired, and an extraordinary pre-emptive plea on The Punch today by ABC director of television Kim Dalton for conservative viewers to switch off. Join our live blog here at 9.30pm tonight to discuss John Safran’s new show, and tell us what you think.
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Live tonight: The Punch team will blog here tonight during John Safran’s show. Join us from 9.30pm
I have some blunt advice for some of the people who will be reading this article on The Punch. And it is not the kind of advice you would expect from the ABC’s Director of Television.
My message is this: think carefully before you settle into the couch tonight for the 9.30pm premiere of John Safran’s comedy-documentary Race Relations. If you think you are going to be offended or outraged (or want to be offended or outraged) then don’t tune in.
This ABC program is not for everyone. It was not designed to be. By scheduling the series at 9.30pm and attaching an M warning the ABC is signalling that this is challenging fare. John Safran’s Race Relations contains material that some viewers will disagree with or find distasteful.
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UPDATE: The ABC has just issued an apology to the Make a Wish Foundation
The worst thing about The Chaser’s sick kids skit last night was that it was the only funny thing on the show. If you missed the team’s “Make a Realistic Wish Foundation” parody you can see the whole show here.
I thought Chris Taylor’s hospital sketch was hilarious. Either I’m alone in this or am the only one prepared to admit it.
While this morning radio is going off about how “sick” the skit was, no doubt making the Chaser boys’ marketing department very very pleased with themselves, last night online the team got a far more damning reaction - luke warm, half-hearted indifference.
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