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Posted

Sep 20, 2011

At Home With Gerard

Who would've thought a prominent Sydney broads

Pure Poison IconWho 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?

And yet that appears to be how the Sydney Morning Herald reacted to Gerard’s increasingly crackpot “Media Watch Dog” blog from last Friday, which they published as an equally silly column today.

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.

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44 comments

44 thoughts on “At Home With Gerard

  1. Catsidhe

    [Are you talking about the TV show now, or about parliament?]

    Yes.

  2. Matthew of Canberra

    “If two jokes are not funny, can they be paired?”

    Are you talking about the TV show now, or about parliament?

  3. Eponymous

    I have heard that this ‘chaotic piles of correspondence falling on his keyboard’ is completely untrue. Apparently his filing system is *amazing*. Somewhat obsessive.

  4. Holden Back

    Looks like we got us a Convoy!

  5. Rich Uncle Skeleton

    I guess The Chaser making fun of The Greens with taxpayer money doesn’t count.

    Gerard left out the episode where everyone flies to Dopenhagen (thanks to reader Frank) and it’s snowing because, LOL, global warming is a hoax – geddit?!

    Or the episode where Bob Brown installs solar panels on the Lodge (because he’s really the PM – geddit?!) but then there’s no sunlight for weeks!

    Ha ha! Comedy GOLD!

    (I’m not sure what Al Gore has anything to do with the Greens anyway but, Christ, those people are obsessed.)

  6. Bellistner

    Matthew of Canberra said:

    I agree. There should be a precise number of perceivable funny moments in the show and they should be assigned as per seats in the reps and senate.

    If two jokes are not funny, can they be paired?

  7. AR

    Is that interpolator Mr Ed, the Talking Horse, from days of yore b&w TV?
    Several hundred Greens go into the environment and live happily ever after.

  8. Just Me

    If anybody knows about lack of humour, it’s Gerard Henderson. He is the most humourless man I have ever seen. Takes himself waaaaaaaay too seriously.

  9. quantize

    Brown Bob has got to be the dumbest troll we’ve seen here…

    any other nominations?

    Col is just kind of sad..

  10. jules

    And I’m not being biased either. There are some very funny right wingers who are always worth listening to whether we agree with them or not.

    The guy who said this:

    If you are young and you drink a great deal it will spoil your health, slow your mind, make you fat – in other words, turn you into an adult.

    and these:

    The Democrats are the party that says government will make you smarter, taller, richer, and remove the crabgrass on your lawn. The Republicans are the party that says government doesn’t work and then they get elected and prove it.

    Whatever it is that the government does, sensible Americans would prefer that the government does it to somebody else. This is the idea behind foreign policy.

    When buying and selling are controlled by legislation, the first things to be bought and sold are legislators.

    springs to mind.

  11. jules

    The troubvlke with the right is that it doesn’t have a sense of humour. Really. They rarely get humour cos most rightards are a pack of humourless bastards. The ones that aren’t can laugh at themselves and other people too, but these days most rightwing humour is hangover sexist or racist. Its not actually funny – Kevin Wilson and Rodney Rude did it much better many years ago.

    Left wing humour ain’t that great, tho it does have its moments.

    The entire right wing in Australia seems to have disappeared up its own arse. They take themselves so seriosuly they only laugh at other people, and then only with scorn. When was the last time some wingnut from the right actually laughed with someone?

    Obviously people who criticism is censorship (while they criticise others) have no sense of perspective and need to get their hand of it and get a grip on reality. If you can’t laugh at yourself and all that.

    In that spirit…

    But what really happens when you put your hand in a jar of jellybeans?

    The white ones steal your country then your children.

  12. monkeywrench

    Yes, Brown Bob, we wouldn’t want the Greens leader behaving like Liberal heavyweight Michael Kroger now, would we? Who knows, they might find that the ABC is actually biased…
    you arsehat.

  13. Brown Bob

    Don’t hold your breath Gerard! Bob will be ordering an inquiry into the ABC if they say anything nasty about him……..poor little petal

  14. SHV

    [“Having sex in the Prime Minister’s office under the Australian flag is the last straw for me,”]

    Presumably he had no problem with Howard and News Ltd doing that?

  15. Angra

    Maybe Gerard should take some hints from Victor Meldrew.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A7Uc2AU4uB4&feature=related

  16. Tomus Barava

    AHWJ has our conservatives pumping out the comedy gold today.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-09-20/mps-angered-over-gillard-satire-sex-scene/2908158

    The issue flared in the Coalition’s joint party room meeting earlier today, sparking some calls for a rethink of ABC funding.

    Nationals MP John Forrest said the scene was “sick” and argued the Coalition should take a stand on the issue.

    “Having sex in the Prime Minister’s office under the Australian flag is the last straw for me,” he told the meeting.

    “It is sick, I’m offended, and we should take a stand.”

    The MP later told Sky News the ABC should take the show off the air.

    I think I might actually watch it now!

  17. monkeywrench

    MTR are purportedly considering a show along the lines of Hamish and Andy, to tap into the hitherto-unheard-of market for elderly right-wing humour: Hendo and Bolty.
    Hendo (for it is he): “Jeez, Bolty, what about those fascist Greens, eh!”
    Bolty: ” Hendo, the Greens are about as funny as Hitler!”
    Their audience (for it is he): “Ha!1! Ha ha ha!”….

  18. calyptorhynchus

    David Havyatt
    “[the Greens’] conflicted position on onshore asylum processing but lower immigration quotas”

    And the contradiction is……?

  19. silkworm

    On QandA, Hendo described himself as an agnostic. We all know he’s a conservative Christian, so why the pretence? Is he trying to endear himself to libertarians?

    Oh, and on next week’s QandA – Janet Albrechtsen.

    For some reason, Hendo reminds me of Dick Cheney, while Albo reminds me of Ann Coulter.

  20. Holden Back

    Aurgh – I can hear the laugh track already.

  21. Tomus Barava

    Maybe Geri could write a comedy series all about nothing?
    He could have a few friends. Pies, a chubby little curmudgeon who’s always getting into hilarious amounts of trouble for {Snip}.
    Janet, a 40 something looking for love in all the right-wing places. Finally of course he’d need a goofy clown of a neighbour called Andy, who constantly pops in unexpectedly to borrow Geri’s latest opinion piece which he invariably plagiarises and then posts on his highly successful blog-page…

  22. thalesian

    Gerard Henderson’s kid: “Daddy, what are you doing?”
    Gerard: Imploring people I never met to pressure a government with better things to do to punish a man who meant no harm for something nobody ever saw, that’s what I’m doing!

    Hat-tip to Ned Flanders…

  23. Aurgh

    Holden,

    Andrew could use his hilarious catch-phrases like ‘Name ten” and “What is it with the left and…”

  24. Holden Back

    Aurgh- Writes itself.

    “At Home with Janet” a sit-com in which the right-leaning commentariat get to tell all their favourite jokes and poke fun at ‘hippies’ and ‘ferals’ who come to their doors collecting for the Conservation Foundation, with walk-on cameos for Federal politicians.

  25. Aurgh

    I’m liking calyptorhynchus’s idea of Gerard writing a comedy series.

    Or maybe just doing some stand up. “An end-is-nigh green, a sneering secularist and a biased ABC commentator walk into a latte shop…”

    Given that the ABC has been so spooked by all the bias nonsense that they regularly have him, Albrechtsen, Akerman and the like on Q&A, it’ll probably happen soon.

  26. Brizben

    I was watching QandA last night and when the conversation turned to Euthanasia I found myself wishing some one would put Gerard to sleep. He just drones on with absolute garbage. In the middle of some rant about holding Obama to account for his Christian beliefs Gerard pulls out a segue “And if we are talking about the Greens” – no one was talking about the Greens.

    One big story I felt Gerard may have overlooked on QandA was Christina Keneally (ex Labor Premier of NSW) was against Federal Labors asylum seeker policy. She was sitting at least a metre away from him so he may not have paid attention to what she said.

  27. Holden Back

    I’ve always found him hilarious. He is a walking, talking mockumentary, right? You know, if they re-made Spinal Tap but about the DLP?

  28. SHV

    I imagine it might go like this:

    Two greens politicians are walking along a bush track when one of them gets crushed to death by a logging truck.

    Then the other one starts crying.

    Roll credits/laugh track.

  29. fred p

    Well, it’s important to understand that, in Gerard’s world, people who have a different take to Gerard or are critical of him in any way are, by definition, “sneering”.

    What is really incredible is that the world’s most humourless man felt he had something of worth to contribute to a discussion about comedy. What is it with the Right and having a complete lack of self-awareness?

  30. Jeremy Sear

    “There is a wealth of material in the Greens policies – like the proposition that all HECS debts be wiped out. You could lampoon their conflicted position on onshore asylum processing but lower immigration quotas, or their opposition to coal AND gas.”

    Please share with us your hilarious skit on that material.

    “Heck its probably in Greens policy somewhere that only siolent wind farms be allowed.”

    Somehow I doubt it.

  31. David Havyatt

    Well get your facts straight. The SMH didn’t commission an Op Ed from Gerard – he gets them every week – and they often cover similar ground as he has just covered in MWD.

    I actually think he has a point – though badly made. It is not just AHWJ but political satire in general that tends to not get us to laugh at the left.

    But the solution is probably a completely separate show. A friend once contemplated a comedy called “Saving the World” – it was to be about the Australian Democrats. It was to be shot much like Hollow Men inside Parliament House and follow them with their pomposity on dealing with great global issues by carefully crafted private members bills, senate inquiries or questions.

    There is a wealth of material in the Greens policies – like the proposition that all HECS debts be wiped out. You could lampoon their conflicted position on onshore asylum processing but lower immigration quotas, or their opposition to coal AND gas. Heck its probably in Greens policy somewhere that only siolent wind farms be allowed.

  32. rubiginosa

    I’ll take sneering secularism over a hormonal Hendi anyday.

  33. quantize

    Gerard’s performance on QnA earlier this week was particularly pathetic…he drones endlessly about the supposed double standards of self-proclaimed atheists who do not equally denounce islam (as if this somehow is some cornerstone of intellectual purity) but conveniently ignores the reason Christianity gets such a serve here is because IT IS the DOMINANT faith..

    He sits there glumly rolling his eyes and interrupting anyone else, despite the fact they politely listen to his droll contrarianism.

  34. Matthew of Canberra

    ‘sneering secularism’

    Dear oh dear. I’m sure he meant to say “sneering atheism”, or even “sneering anti-christianism”. But sneering secularism?!?. I’m not quite sure he understands what the word means. I would have thought that true secularism is quite the opposite of sneering.

  35. calyptorhynchus

    I wish the ABC would commission Gerard to write a comedy series, then I could not watch it.

  36. Gerry Hatrick, OAP

    One Greens’ staffer to another:
    “I love that new beaded curtain we’ve got, really fits in well with the malayian spirit lamps and the sudanese zogbob masher”
    “Oh no, that’s not a beaded curtain, that’s the hair of our new work experience dole bludger”

    Hilarity ensues.

  37. Aurgh

    Gee he was annoying on Q&A last night.

    I particularly liked how he went from complaining about ‘sneering secularism’ straight into his Greens saying the end is nigh routine. Nothing sneering about that.

  38. Scott

    I always thought that this show was crying out for a bit of green party satire…

    A couple of plot points that would go down well..

    Julia answers the door late at night and sees Bob Brown on the doorstep dressed as a Borg (from Star Trek). She freaks out initially, protection detail go crazy, until it is revealed that Bob had just come from a Star Trek convention and wanted to ask her for support regarding adding the prime directive (applied to the environment) to the constitution.

    Julia practicing negotiating with the greens at her kitchen table one night (and with Adam, Bob et all represented by watermelons)

    ABC, I’m waiting for your call 🙂

  39. Blackgold

    While I’m amazed that Gerard even knows the word ‘comedy’ he has certainly bdemonstrated that he doesn’t understand what it means……

  40. revolutionary

    Cranky Uncle Gerard pumped out that line about the ‘end of the world is nigh phenomenon’ last night on Q+A. Must be his favourite quote of the week.

    Gerard should stick to writing about something he knows a little better than satirical television. He is as funny as food poisoning. Gerard acting as a comedy consultant is about as useful and relevant as Tony Abbott providing advice on Australia’s humanitarian obligations to refugees…….oh wait…..

  41. A good Greens joke | An Onymous Lefty

    […] Henderson is annoyed [What a surprise – Ed] that At Home With Julia is not making enough fun of the Greens. That there […]

  42. Chris Johnson

    The fact that Gerard continues to be afforded a mass media outlet for his juvenile and superficial bleating is yet another sign that the mass media is broken. I don’t care what an opinion writer’s political or social views are, if they are going to be published they must be sensible and through-provoking. I’m all for Bolt, Devine, Henderson or whoever making arguments for their views on things that impact and effect our society – what I can’t tolerate is stupidity dressed up as insight no matter what political philosophy the spruiker may advocate.

    I had already judged Gerard’s lack of acumen a long, long time ago, but by publishing this article the SMH has made itself not only look incredibly silly, but has substantially weakened its credibility.

    In an environment where audiences are able to get their news and opinion from a multitude of sources, the only thing that legacy news organisations like SMH have is their integrity and authority. Publishing this junk significantly damages the brand – if I want mindless diatribe there are so many other places I can go.

    Legacy news organisations like the SMH can only survive in a blog- and opinion-heavy world if they prove to audiences that they alone are the discerning selectors and editors of cyberspace junk.

    Well done, SMH hoisted with your own petard.

  43. Matthew of Canberra

    I agree. There should be a precise number of perceivable funny moments in the show and they should be assigned as per seats in the reps and senate.

    Nothing soviet about that at all.

  44. Fran Barlow

    [Then there is the ”end of the world is nigh” phenomenon. Such a millenarian outlook used to provide much food for comedy.]

    Hmmm … Henderson probably doesn’t realise that millenarianism does not refer to predictions of doomsday or apocalypse (except in the Christian iteration as below, as a precursor to the rule of Christ on Earth, which the Christian Henderson ostensibly accepts), but quite the reverse — the vision is of a future (often but not always, religious) utopia. It’s instructive that these days, rightwing spivs have turned it into something. The idea of approaching a better world is something they find threatening.

    For the record:

    millenarianism:
    1. Of or relating to a thousand, especially to a thousand years.
    2. Of, relating to, or believing in the doctrine of the millennium

    3. (Christian) the doctrine of Christ’s 1000-year kingdom; Christianity the belief in a future millennium following the Second Coming of Christ during which he will reign on earth in peace: based on Revelation 20:1-5

    4. Any belief in a future period of ideal peace and happiness
    5. a belief in the millennium; chiliasm

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