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The Forum > Article Comments > Muzzling 'The Chaser' - the politics behind the outrage > Comments

Muzzling 'The Chaser' - the politics behind the outrage : Comments

By Stuart Munckton, published 12/6/2009

The decision to suspend 'The Chaser' sets a dangerous precedent of silencing comedians whose job it is to satirise society.

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Aren't we lucky that we live in a democracy where all opinions can be expressed. However, Stuart, I think you are out of step with the majority of Australians on this one. The Chasers needed to be brought into line. I stopped watching them ages ago simply because they're not funny (to me) - for educated guys, they are immature and boarder on stupid! If you really think you can make comparisons between this particular Chasers skit and the likes of the footy show (I'm not a big fan!), then you really don't get it - there is no comparison. As for the Chasers being a part of the demise of the Howard Government - get a grip. Stuart, I just hope one day you do not have a child that is in need of the 'self-serving' services of any charity, let-alone the Make a Wish Foundation. This is not a blow to free-speech - this is common sense, a good business decision and if you look at it holistically, including the admission by the Chaser team, it should never have got past the discussion stage as a skit.
Posted by Philonline, Friday, 12 June 2009 9:59:25 AM
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Comedians who are not funny - are not comedians.

If you want to worship them as a fun loving, anti-establishment satirirical, street art group, well fine - but why should the government aka the taxpayer pay them to do this?

Surely if they are so left in their thinking and so against anything that reeks of our "rulers" then they surely would not want to take such dirty money?

Come on mate, get your hand off it - it's a business and they have jobs at the ABC, they are trying to keep themselves in those jobs by being "edgy" it has nothing to do with politics and everything to do with paying their mortgages.

Unfortunately for the Chasers, they have run out of jokes, material whatever you want to call it and are stale, now they need to go do what everyone else does at this point and go get a regular job .. next!
Posted by odo, Friday, 12 June 2009 10:37:39 AM
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I am not much of a Chaser fan since pranks generally strike me as juvenile, but I endorse Stuart's view that the best comedy is anti-establishment. This is a comedian's gold field. How script writers choose to saterise a subject depends on their own quirkish humour and their skill at guessing what will make a broad audience laugh.

By knocking down the over the top police security and spin at APEC with their clever and well executed Osama stunt was brilliant and won praise around the world. I would love to see comedians do more stunts and sketches that saterise conservative media moguls, journalists and on-air presenters. Comedians of all styles deserve an entire digital channel, to provide instant relief to the drivel that gets dished out on so much main stream programming.
Posted by Quick response, Friday, 12 June 2009 10:57:12 AM
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I think the sketch was clearly in poor taste, but comedians often miss their target and cross the line. Also, the question isn't whether they are funny - I find them less funny these days and even in the past found them inconsistently funny. But their last series did rate its socks off. If this one doesn't, then they may not be back. That is different form the issues around the suspension.

Also the Chaser were a cultural representation of the sentiments that eventually led to Howard's defeat. Doesn't mean they were responsible, or that is all they were.

There is a very strong dose of hypocrisy about the treatment of the Chaser.

The NRL Footy Show recently performed an extremely homophobic sketch involving a father wanting to take a baby that grew up to be gay back because it was "faulty". Few complained. The rate for gay men attempting suicide is around 25%. Performing sketches like that doesn't just offend, it kills.

To that we could add the saturation of shows and images etc on TV that pressure young women into unrealistic body images, to lose weight, all of which contribute to frightening levels of illnesses like anorexia and bulemia that also kill.

No show gets suspended for such things, though a stronger case exists.

The reality is that putting a tighter leash on the Chaser will stop stunts like the one at APEC. They wont occur. That's fine, if you don't like that stunt, or you think that is a price worth paying. Personally, I think it isn't, that we need comedians in a position to do things like that and accept that they don't always get it right.

It wasn't me who said the Make a Wish charity was "self serving", but a doctor who works with sick and dying children. If I ever have the misfortune to have a extremely ill child, I hope people will have taken Dr Suresh Viswanathan's advice, donated to medical research and pushed for governments to contribute more in that direction, so that a cure is possible.
Posted by Stuart Munckton, Friday, 12 June 2009 11:00:02 AM
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I applaud your piece, Stuart. What no one has mentioned is that the Make-a-Wish foundation had been in the news talking about having to cut services through a lack of funding in the weeks before the Chasers' show aired. I thought the skit was both timely and appropriate, albeit in appalling taste. Unfortunately, in our society as it is presently being reconstituted, Wowserism is being revived as a means of social control.

The comments from the good doctor have very broad application across all of the victim industries, in which there is often a large group of people who draw their living through taking funding that could have otherwise been used to service the group they claim to represent.
Posted by Antiseptic, Friday, 12 June 2009 12:23:15 PM
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"The pitch black humour of The Chaserís offending sketch is part of a tradition in Australian comedy. It may have missed the mark, but it is hardly unique."
What part of the tradition in Australian humour seeks out a defenceless group as its target viz dying kids, but at the same time the audience doesn't understand what the point of the skit was all about? Perhaps Stuart or somebody out there can explain what the skit was trying to say and how it relates to this tradition. I have read so many explanations, all diverse, I still don't know.
Posted by blairbar, Friday, 12 June 2009 1:46:01 PM
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