Who would’ve thought a prominent Sydney broadsheet, on reading an earnest email exchange between the ABC and a cranky old cold warrior complaining that its latest comedy show doesn’t tickle his funny bone, would actually commission him to write it as an opinion article in the actual newspaper?
Gerard is upset and angry – is he ever anything else? [That’s enough – Ed] – because there’s been no good anti-Greens jokes on the alleged [Easy target – Ed] comedy At Home With Julia on the ABC:
The problem with At Home with Julia is that it is not an equal opportunity political offender – because no Greens politicians make an appearance in any of the four episodes…
It speaks volumes for both comedy and political comment in Australia that no one at the ABC or Quail TV realised the implications of leaving the Greens out of what is supposed to be an equal opportunity bagging of all sides of Australian politics. At Home with Julia has become yet another taxpayer-funded program on the ABC which either criticises or laughs at Labor and the Coalition – but only from the left. It is as if the Greens are in a ridicule-free zone.
Well, apparently the Nationals haven’t appeared either (I’m relying on twitter here, as I watched the first episode and have no real interest in watching any more [Where’s your commitment? – Ed]), and I gather nor has there been much mocking of the Liberals. It’s supposed to be a gentle satire on a caricature of the Prime Minister, not Rubbery Figures.
And, anyway, is AHWJ “supposed to be an equal opportunity bagging of all sides of Australian politics”? Says who? Does every anti-Labor joke have to be matched with an anti-Liberal and anti-Green joke? What if the joke is kind of affectionate? Should it be a sort of trade, three kind of affectionate but slightly mocking jokes to one quite damning joke?
Here are Gerard’s suggestions for hilarity involving The Greens [Firmly demonstrating that the ABC is criminally wasting his talent by not having Gerard write a comedy series of his own – Ed]:
There is something inherently amusing about the likes of Al Gore in the United States and Bob Brown in Australia, flying from conference to conference on carbon-emitting jet aircraft, urging the rest of us to reduce our carbon emissions. Gore even travels in a private jet.
Brown doesn’t, and what else should he do? Paddle to Copenhagen in a canoe? The only way of making that joke make sense would be to send up that idiotic suggestion, and actually show Brown doing what Gerard and like-minded polemicists seem to be suggesting he does. But that wouldn’t really be a joke on the Greens, more on their sillier critics.
What else does Gerard have?
Then there is the ”end of the world is nigh” phenomenon. Such a millenarian outlook used to provide much food for comedy. But it seems that predictions of the end of the world are only funny these days when they are the product of a religious, rather than a secular climate-focused, mindset.
What would be the joke? The Greens standing outside the Lodge with placards declaring that we’re all doomed? How would that resonate with anyone who’s seen that they actually advocate action to avoid the problem they perceive, not submission to its inevitability? That’s a pretty hard joke to make work. That sort of political comedy has to have some basis in reality, surely.
Come on, Gerard, make us laugh at the comic Greens.
No one at the ABC or Quail TV consciously decided that At Home with Julia should not laugh at Brown’s doomsday world view or Rhiannon’s insistence that her Communist Party member parents never, ever supported the Soviet dictator Josef Stalin.
It’s a four-episode comedy show about the Prime Minister at home. You want it to go hunting for smears about a Greens senator’s parents? [Actually, maybe the ABC was right not to commission Gerard’s At Home With Bob Brown – Ed] [Stop interrupting paragraphs with pointless conversations with yourself – Ed] [No you stop – Ed].
I think the funniest thing suggested by Gerard’s column is a comic image of the veteran crankypants sitting at home angrily typing away on his computer, chaotic piles of correspondence falling on his keyboard as his television torments him with the ABC in the background, Nancy hiding under the table, the rest of the room cold, dark, miserable. And that’s only funny in a black kind of way.