Did you settle down in the comfy chair last night and relax with the ABC? Oh, such a night of rip-roarin’ rib-ticklers! Being a Wednesday, when the national broadcaster reckons we can all use a good laugh, it was comedy, comedy, and more comedy — QI, Shaun Micallef makes funny faces, Judith Lucy wobbles and whines and, to cap it off before the running joke that is Lateline, there was Black Comedy, a video ghetto where Indigenous mirthmasters get 30 minutes to pump out gags in the grand, stereotypical tradition of Jacky “Mine Tinkit They Fit” Pelaco. That’s how far we’ve come, folks!
Wednesday is Hump Day, you see, midway through the working week, so glumly equidistant from the last and next episodes of Insiders, when Barrie Cassidy and his Sunday Stooges play Gerard Henderson for laughs — their own, anyway.
So let us give thanks that ABC producers have so many mates prepared to brighten the bleak midweek in return for small change. It must be small change because ABC tweeter-in-chief Mark Scott is adamantly opposed to putting on the record just how much those “commercial arrangements” are draining his Abbott-ravaged billion-dollar budget. We can guess he doesn’t wish to embarrass his stars with numbers that show how little their output is worth. Six figures here, seven more over there — nothing significantly larger than the coinage you would find down the back of Mr Scott’s office sofa. And anyway, the favoured funsters’ ratings must be cause enough for embarrassment in themselves. Why add insight to penury by exposing how much they take home to inner-city hovels in Fitzroy, Balmain, Elizabeth Bay and the like?
Nothing is without its perils, however, and last night’s lineup provided just such an example when Quadrant Online’s telly went very peculiar mid-way through Black Comedy. All that evening’s earlier laughs must have shaken a wire loose or something because a skit that began with the Virgin Mary figuring out how she could sell Joseph on the notion that it wasn’t his kid — that’s her in the screen grab atop this post — suddenly shape-shifted into a bloke called Mo-something-or-other debating with a companion whether it is better to rub against a nine-year-old or a twelve-year-old.
The punchline was that, rather than make an either/or decision, the duo decided blokes with big beards should be entitled to enjoy both those youngsters, plus two more apiece besides.
Quadrant Online would love to share that edgy, transgressive, taxpayer-funded exercise in fearless fun but the iView version of Black Comedy, which can be viewed via the link below, doesn’t include it. Then again, maybe the skit was never in the show at all. Maybe QOL’s laughter-rattled television was picking up signals from a parallel universe — a place where the national broadcaster’s so-so-courageous comedians beat up on targets other than those 100%-guaranteed to turn the other cheek.
The Virgin Mary skit can be found at the 18-minute mark of Black Comedy via the link below.
Next week on the ABC’s Wednesday laugh-a-rama: Buddha, you fat bastard!