THE AUSTRALIAN TUMBLEWEEDSPart 4   

NEWTON
Welcome back. And now to our next award... Hang on, what's this? Oh, it's you Chas. How many boneheads is it now?

LICCIARDELLO
28, Bert.

NEWTON
Saves you having to write any proper material, I suppose.

CHAS GOES OFF TO DO SOME OTHER BLOODY PRANK. AS NEWTON IS ABOUT TO RESUME, A DRUNKEN GLEN MILNE STAGGERS OUT, HIS ARMS FLAILING AROUND BEFORE HIM, MUTTERING ABOUT STEPHEN MAYNE NOT BEING A GENUINE DRUNK HACK JOURNALIST WHO DREAMS OF BEING PETER COSTELLO'S PRESS SECRETARY.

MILNE
Whaa raahhhh yyyrrr no jeerrrnnaalishhttt yrrrrr eerrr!

BARRY CASSIDY AND GERARD HENDERSON MOUNT THE STAGE.

CASSIDY
You've gone a bit early, mate. Mayne won't be on for a bit. Plus there are another three bottles of red to polish off.

RUPERT MURDOCH, WHO IS LURKING STAGE LEFT, CHORTLES INTO HIS FIST.

NEWTON
And I guess those interuptions have provided as good a lead-in as any to our next award...


MOST IRRITATING OR POINTLESS CAMEO
JOINT WINNERS
Kath & Kim hanging around Barry Humphries
Look at moi! Look at moi!
Humphries doesn't seem to have added the albino monk character to his show, which is a great, great shame.
- oceanthroats

Kate Fischer and Annalise Braakensick on The Chaser's War on Everything
Fashion victims
What satirical point was this supposed to make, again?
- Bean Is A Carrot
NOMINEE
Derryn Hinch on Real Stories


NEWTON
The whole Humphries/Turner and Reily love-in may be a case of mutual admiration, but when the best they can come up with is Da Kath and Kim Code you have to wonder if it is more a question of mutual advantage. It is not as if either party are above such things, least of all Humphries, who despite over 50 years in showbiz - and albeit in the guise of Dame Edna - still seems insecure enough to need to be surrounded by fellow celebrities. For some reason, his 2003 Australian tour Back To My Roots and Other Suckers featured pre-filmed cameos from such identities as Collette Dinegan, Kerri-Anne Kennerley, Jamie Durie and Jessica Rowe. Why? Doesn't Humphries realise that when he's at his Dame Edna best, he's taking such people down by a few pegs?

Also in pre-filmed glory in Back To My Roots was Annalise Braakensick, who along with fellow model Kate Fischer, seems willing to appear in just about anything. They probably thought their self-parodic appearances in the Fashion Week Famous Face Off, as vain models who won't eat anything, would show the nation what jolly good sports they were. Instead, their woefully poor acting served only to highlight the inability of the Chaser team to come up with well-scripted satire. Then there was Derryn Hinch, whose cameo on Real Stories was beyond pointless. And anyway, a Derryn Hinch cameo that doesn't end with him being fatally knifed in the throat is not a worthwhile Derryn Hinch cameo.

Of course, the idea of sticking celebrities into comedy programmes for no real reason is hardly original to Australia - and so, to salute all the countless ideas that Australian comedians have happily stolen from each other, and the rest of the world, may I present the award for...

MOST BLATANT PLAGIARISM
The Ronnie Johns Half Hour (of Chopper Reid)
Criminal
Redundant!
- R.Q.E.
I can't look past 'Chopper' here. You can't 'go after' him satirically in Ronnie John's fashion - Chopper's been in on that joke for a very long time. And they're not 'going after' him, they're just ripping him off.
- samadriel
NOMINEES
The Wedge (of Little Britain and The Comedy Company)
The Ronnie Johns Half Hour (The Fast Show's 'That's Amazing' sketches)

NEWTON
Not so much plagiarism as outright theft of Chopper's own act - and according to everyone who should know, including members of the Victorian Police force, Chopper always has been putting on an act. There's no satire here, no insight into the way that Chopper himself has used the media for his own ends (he's a best-selling author for fuck's sake), and nothing that the real Chopper wouldn't do to send himself up. So remind me, what exactly is Ronnie Johns adding to the mix? And what's next - Ronnie Johns comes up with a 'Wil Anderson' character who does all his (already shitty) jokes in exactly the same way? And there hasn't been anything done with Norman Gunston for a decade or so - why don't Ronnie Johns revive that character? In fact, I haven't seen anything new from The Three Stooges since the sixties - surely it's time Ronnie Johns brought them back as well? I'm really looking forward to their impression of John Howard, featuring one of the cast simply reading out speeches made by John Howard, then looking at the audience while the applause sign flashes.

The Wedge's theft is slightly more subtle, more about grabbing a shoddy, lowest-common-denominator idea of what comedy should be, than outright thieving of concepts and characters. So while it's difficult to single out examples - apart from The Wedge using Little Britain's (and for that matter, The League of Gentlemen's) idea of having a series of sketches and characters happen within a community - The Wedge constantly emits the stink of stale ideas and rotting concepts. Even if you'd never seen a comedy show in your life - and that's clearly the audiences they're going for - five minutes in you'd be wondering where you'd seen this stuff before.

Mind you, comedy plagiarism doesn't just happen. It's the result of people desperate to be seen as funny who can't be arsed putting in the effort to actually be funny. It's a shortcut, a lazy way to get the audience on your side: all you need to make it big in comedy these days is to look like something else. And if you can't even do that, you can look good trying...

The 'More Effort In Their Hair-Styles Than Their Material' Award
Wil Anderson
Because he's worth it
Forget your hair, forget your cargo pants, just please, please do something funny!
- Bean Is A Carrot
His hair balances the steel wool effect Newton promotes, and that has to be a good thing.
- oceanthroats
NOMINEES
Hamish & Andy
Charlie Pickering
Rove McManus

NEWTON
Wil Anderson pioneered this category in Australia, and he continues to maintain a very nice hairstyle and [insert name of Triple J 'Album of the Week' band] t-shirt collection. But coming-up close behind is Charlie Pickering. If Anderson ever slips in the bath, this twig-like pretty boy will be in there like a shot to make the girls swoon with his cutting-edge comedy about...well, if his 2005 Melbourne Comedy Festival performance is any guide, he's got a lot of jokes about his belt. And ladies play your cards right and you just might get to see that belt on your bedroom floor! Just don't put it around your neck when he starts doing Chris Morris-esque material about BBC war correspondents.

People keep telling me that Hamish and Andy's Drive Home is worth a listen, but every time I tune in all I get are five solid minutes of ads, followed by some crap music, followed by more ads, followed by a call-in segment about your best ever deb ball. For all the praise their radio show's ratings have been getting - 'amazing' seems to be the description of choice - no-one seems to remember that Martin/Molloy did the exact same thing a decade ago. The only difference is, they got laughs without appearing in the social pages as 'Cleo Bachelor of the Year'. But the real shame about Hamish & Andy is that they can be funny - unlike Wil Anderson, who's spent so long churning out sub-par 'what is the deal with...' comedy that his new job this year doing drive radio on Triple M fits him like a glove...or Rove, a man whose only qualification to appear under lights is that his pre-adolescent appearance stirs the protective, infantilising instincts of a slice of the female audience.

But hair is very important in showbusiness. Believe me, you don't last as long as I have in this industry without hair. I'll let that thought sink in for a moment...

Irony is the great escape clause of modern comedy. Want to make jokes which are racist or sexist (or about people's toupees!), but are worried you'll get in trouble for being a bastard? The solution's simple - just say 'I was being ironic!'. Suddenly your collection of offensive gags becomes a subtle attack on society's attitudes and the kind of people who find those jokes funny. An attack so subtle, in fact, that no-one realised until you told them afterwards.

Most Unironic Ironicism
Anything said by Hamish Blake doing his David Brent impersonation in Real Stories
Low-rent Brent
On the coat-tails of a dead man, she'll riiiide, she'll riiiide...
- samadriel
The irony being that Blake thought doing a Brent impersonation would make his bad lines funnier, when in fact they just made people wonder what was wrong with his brain.
- 13 schoolyards
NOMINEES
Ricky Wong on 2005's We Can Be Heroes
Getting Daniel MacPherson to play a washed-up soap-star on Tripping Over

NEWTON
Hamish Blake's David Brent impersonation - to be fair, one of many that have taken place world-wide since The Office arrived and proved that comedy can be pretty much anything so long as you don't distract the audience with too many jokes - had the dubious distinction of making just about everything he said seem like it was meant to be horribly offensive when in fact it was usually just not very funny. If horrible people saying the wrong thing all the time was such a sure-fire comedy approach, why aren't people still copying Basil Fawlty? Oh, that's right - because he was actually funny, not just easy to rip off.

Ricky Wong was merely the most obvious example of how Chris Lilley was more than happy to sacrifice comedy for the chance to prove he could be a real actor - how else to explain a so-called comedy show packed with would-be serious and heart-felt moments? Unless he thought audiences would fall over laughing at the scene where Ricky's dad slapped his son for wanting to perform in a musical instead of getting his PhD.

Strangely, there didn't really seem to be any irony in Wong's Chinese musical theatre group's creation of Indigeridoo - the only possible way to read it was that Lilley thought seeing Chinese people pretending to be Aborigines was funny. There's not enough irony in the world to hide this level of racism, and things only got worse: having Lilley perform Indigeridoo at the 2006 Logies was a rock-bottom low-point for race relations in this country. How else to explain a white guy pretending to be Chinese performing a purposefully bad musical about Aborigines at an awards night celebrating an industry notoriously unable to find on-air roles for non-whites? And if you complained about it, you simply didn't get the joke. Which, presumably, was 'Ha ha, it really is true that Asians are all super-smart, have strict parents and can't talk properly'.

As for Tripping Over, the joke was meant to be that a washed-up soap star who went to the UK to further his career was actually playing a washed-up soap star who'd gone to the UK to further his career - geddit? In fact, the joke was on MacPherson if he thought this was going to do his career any good at all. Just ask Bob Franklin - appearing in this and After the Deluge hasn't exactly vaulted him to the forefront of, well, anything.

One of the more controversial aspects of Aussie comedy in 2006 was, well, lets be blunt: the ABC made bugger all of it. After a couple of panel shows and a weekly half-hour of The Chaser, the cupboard was well and truly bare. We all know that times are tight over at Auntie, but this was low even for their standards. Fortunately, the ABC had an excuse...

Most Drawn-Out Return of a Supposed Favourite Used By
the ABC As An Excuse for Not Comissioning Anything New
Chris Lilley's Summer Heights High
Late for school
Oh great, the return of his teacher character from Big Bite.
- Bean Is A Carrot
The pity about this is that the reviewers have already written their over-the-top rave-ups for this series. They're going to have to turn the '06s into '07s. They won't like that.
- oceanthroats
NOMINEES
The Glasshouse
Kath & Kim

NEWTON
Supposedly, because the ABC has Lilley, they no longer need to commission any more comedy out of Melbourne. That's right no Micallef/Martin sketch show for you, you're getting another six episodes of Chris Lilley playing a character who's putting on a musical about a wackily inappropriate subject, and taking it extremely seriously! Did I mention he's the future of intelligent comedy in Australia?

And let's not forget, this show was supposed to be out in 2006, only Lilley spent so long doing research and writing, that filming started over six months late. Because he's a comic genius, don't you know. Why didn't someone stop to think that 'Hey, it's a six-part show based on a fairly simple character he's already done elsewhere - why does he need to spend so much time hanging around secondary schools? Unless he's realised that he's run the idea of a bad high school musical dry and is desperately trying to find something else for Mr G to do...'. But nah, he'll just throw in a couple of 'serious' sub-plots and watch the awards come rolling in.

Somehow, somebody finally had the sense to put The Glasshouse out of its misery, even if it did mean that the ABC will now have to go back to the drawing board and hire the same writers to produce a panel show just different enough from The Glasshouse and Good News Week to become vaguely popular and give Corrine Grant work.

Meanwhile the promise of more Kath and Kim bubbles along in the background to make us all feel as though comedy in Australia is going very nicely indeed. If Jane Turner and Gina Reily can be persuaded to make another series of the seemingly never-ending money train that is Kath and Kim, then the ABC's more than happy to let it drag on, and on, and on, well past its use-by date, like an Australian version of Absolutely Fabulous. Because why take a chance on new comedy that could be rubbish, when you can keep going with a once-decent idea that just might still have a flicker of life left in it? Oh wait, that flicker's not life - it's greed.

These days the idea of flogging a dead horse is about as Australian as they come. Just look at our Prime Minister - he hasn't had a new idea in fifteen (or maybe even, fifty) years, and yet everyone seems to be happy to let him keep on keeping on. God knows why - it's not like anyone's come up with anything funny to say about him...

The 'John Howard's Australia - Grrrrr!' Award for Poorly Thought-Out Satire / Political Commentary
Any political sketch on Comedy Inc: The Late Shift
Network politics
I don't understand how Comedy Inc: The Late Shift feel they can pick on anybody, even Sunrise?
- oceanthroats
Proof that you don't need Ben Oxenbould on board to keep up a really appalling standard of comedy. Good stuff Inc-ers!
- Bean Is A Carrot
NOMINEES
The Chaser's War on Everything
Mick Molloy joining the Germaine Greer bashing after Steve Irwin's death
Kim Beazley calling Rove McManus Karl Rove

NEWTON
Finally, we have a category in which Australia can hold its head high above the US. No, it's not because we still have a few shreds of healthcare, despite our electorate's best efforts - it's because we don't have Parker and Stone, compared to whom the writers of Comedy Inc: The Late Shift look like masters of the art of satire. Primary school playgrounds are full of runny-nosed kids with sharper satirical skills, so why not just get them to yell out 'John Howard has poo up his bum' on Sunday nights at 10.30pm?

Meanwhile, indulging in a bit of bandwagon-jumping was Mick Molloy, who condemned Germaine Greer's comments on the death of Steve Irwin with that hoary old chestnut 'she never said this while he was alive'. Could that have been because no one asked her views on Irwin while he was alive? Nah, Greer goes around expressing views which are perfectly justifiable because she's a 'bitter, old feminist', doesn't she? Molloy should be above tabloid-fuelled idiotic views like that. He certainly was earlier in his career. Another example of how much his star has shrunk.

Then there was Kim Beazley who somehow managed to confuse Rove McManus with Karl Rove. How did that happen? Does he know something about McManus's political views and business style that we don't? Was this his idea of cutting-edge humour? It killed his chances of ever being PM, so I guess we'll never know. The moral of the story: don't mess with the media's fave grieving widower.

The Chaser's so-called political satire - watch out, here comes a big prop - is so weak and ineffectual it's hard not to think the government asked the ABC to keep them on. Otherwise people with something to say - like John Safran, or John Clarke and Bryan Dawe - might have been asked to fill the gap. It's one thing to think that all politicians are equally bad, it's another entirely to assume this means there's no point having anything to say about how they behave.

When right-wing types complain about ABC 'bias', The Chaser's War On Everything is almost never mentioned because their toothless, feel-good pranks are exactly the kind of even-handed approach our masters like. How about admitting that the people in power are the ones who affect our lives instead of a 'one for you, one for me - and better make them both equally toothless' approach? Ultimately The Chaser probably skewered John Polson and maybe Charlize Theron better than anybody. Admit it, they deserved it. Though not as much as this man...

Lifetime Achievement Award For Crap Comedy
Ian McFadyen
A Wedge issue
Once again the UN stands idly by while a criminal of the highest order is allowed to lay waste to a nation.
- 13 schoolyards
Vizard would have won, but the whole 'insider' scandal was hilarious! Maybe McFadyen can follow that path next year.
- R.Q.E.
NOMINEES
John Blackman
Steve Vizard

NEWTON
John Blackman and Steve Vizard cut McFadyen close, what with Blackman's appearances on the ABC and Temptation every few weeks, and Vizard's various scandals. But this year McFadyen did what many doubted he could do: he returned with a comedy far, far worse than The Comedy Company. He also returned with old favourite David Rabbitborough selling orange juice, and he was spotted at a Brisbane shopping centre wearing a jumper and jogging shoes.

McFadyen's 2006 essentially summarised his astonishingly dire contribution to comedy in this country, focused it, sharpened it, and finally, quite possibly, destroyed it once and for all. He was able to claim his return was as a sort of saviour of comedy, a mentor for struggling young comics, and an advisor who would stabilise things and sort them out. Of course, nobody but McFadyen really thought he would do any of this, but The Wedge seemed to lay waste to the scene in rich news ways few of us expected.

Plenty of other comedy gurus have created worse shows, but only McFadyen's been able to stretch his unique brand of trash across three decades of critical failure and viewer indifference. Even more impressively, while the other two nominations were - at some point in the distant past - considered funny by at least a decent-sized minority of comedy fans, no-one has ever laughed at anything McFadyen has ever said or done. Whether he's being a dull straight-man in a sketch, a dull host, a dull spokesman, or a dull blur behind the wheel of his comedy 'death car', the fact remains: never has someone who has earned so few laughs gained so much work because of it.

But what of the man behind the safari suit? From where does he derive his genius? The Tumblies are proud to present what we hope will be an educative glimpse into the mind of a comedy legend as we present an extract from Chris Master's forthcoming book, Inside the Rabbit's Borough: The Many Lives of Ian McFadyen...

Inside the Rabbit's Borough: The Many Lives of Ian McFadyen

          Ian McFadyen hadn't come up with a character idea in three hours. The previous week he had been on top form, and created Ratty, the three-toed elephant boy, Carmichael Michaelson, the large elephant dog boy, Colonel Tiny, the electrical elephant-skinned detective Colonel, Rhodes Michaelson, the inflatable alien who speaks fluent elephant, and Ratty Alien, the elephant detective alone. It was Tuesday afternoon and all he had created for the week was Carmichael Alien, an elephant with sunglasses and a spaceship.
          He felt, nonetheless, that he was on the verge of a breakthrough. At 7:06pm, Tuesday night he got that breakthrough. A David Attenborough nature documentary was on the television. Ian saw the character, noted the amusing voice, and found it interesting that 'Attenborough' was really very, very close to a made-up word he thought of at that very moment: 'Rabbitborough'.
          The other handy thing was that rabbits have burrows. So it all sort of worked quite well, really. The next day he took his astonishing new breakthrough character into The Comedy Company writing offices. A moment before he introduced the new character, Russell Gilbert presented his 'wacky postman' idea. A satisfied smile crept across McFadyen's face as he realised the group now truly was a 'comedy company'. Of comedy. For...people.

43

NEWTON
Unlike a lot of tonight's winners, Ian McFadyen can be here to receive his award. But we don't want him coming up here and spoiling things, so we've tied him to a chair and sent his 'death car' to the wreckers yard for crushing...

EVERYONE BREATHES A SIGH OF RELIEF.

...which means we can turn to the final award of the night. Even a novice torturer knows that the tiniest amount of hope can make a subject's despair all the deeper. And so, after recognising the numerous 'bad cops' of Australian comedy, it's time to give a thumbs-up to the 'good cops' that make the other's work look even more awful...

And to present that award, we have an exciting international guest who will provide some much needed glamour to tonight's proceedings. Yes, it's the fat bloke from Lost...

THE FAT BLOKE FROM LOST ENTERS LOOKING A BIT PISSED-OFF THAT HE AGREED TO FLY ALL THE WAY TO AUSTRALIA TO SIT THROUGH A BAFFLING AND DULL AWARDS CEREMONY, FOR WHAT WAS A PATHETICALLY SMALL APPEARENCE FEE.

NEWTON:
Fantastic to have you here.

FAT BLOKE
When do I get paid?

NEWTON
Hahahaha. (HANDING HIM THE ENVELOPE) Would you please announce the winner...

FAT BLOKE
This envelope better have my money in it. In American dollars.

NEWTON
You can just change it.

FAT BLOKE
It'd be better if I didn't have to do that. For all concerned.

NEWTON
(TUGGING AT THE FAT BLOKE'S COLLAR) Alright...

The 'Rising From The Ashes' Award for Quality Comedy
Get This
How good is this?
Get This has brought me so much pleasure as I trundled 'round my miserable Northern town this past year. And I am delighted it's returning.
- Ben Ordinary
Get This has a magical way of making even Rove seem funny. Sadly though, not Ben Elton.
- R.Q.E.
NOMINEES
Clarke & Dawe on The 7:30 Report
Tim Minchin

NEWTON
If there was one thing that made 2006 worthwhile it was the hope offered to downtrodden Australian comedy fans by Get This. Not to mention the rare pleasure of an Australian radio comedy programme in the 21st century where the hosts actually write jokes and create sketches instead of simply reading out weird news stories and asking people to ring in with their anecdotes about wacky weddings and stupid bosses.

That's not to denigrate Tony Martin's unique abilities - his ear for potential catchphrases, great callers, hilarious news stories and the perfect musical sting is unequaled in Australian comedy - but it's his work ethic as much as anything that puts everything he does ahead of the pack. Sitting at home for hours, recording Lateline or the Channel 10 News and endlessly searching for those precious seconds of gold, Martin must sometimes wonder if it's all worth it. Well, yes Tony, it is.

And just missing out, but also brilliant in 2006, were the kings of satire - John Clarke and Bryan Dawe. The more miserable things got in Australian politics, the funnier they got. They made stupid people not normally treated like idiots, look as stupid as they are, which was very nice. Give them a half hour show.

Also worth noting for the future is the very promising Tim Minchin. Unfortunately no one in Australia seemed to notice his potential, so like Barry Humphries before him he's had to de-camp to London, where canny producers have been showering him with radio and TV offers. Australia would miss you, Tim...if we'd noticed you in the first place. I guess you should have put on more of an Aussie accent and done a couple of Holden commercials.

But back to our winner. Unfortunately, Tony Martin can't be here to accept this award as he's been extraordinarily rendered to Guantanomo Bay. But we will make sure he receives it.

GLENN MILNE APPEARS AGAIN. A FISHING LINE WHIZZES THROUGH THE AIR AND HOOKS HIM IN THE MOUTH. ANDREW BOLT RUSHES ONSTAGE.

BOLT
Sorry Glen, I thought you were a spotted cabrilla. Sorry about that. See you on Insiders for the apology that isn't an apology, rightio? Cheers!

NEWTON
Well, that's the end of the Tumblies for another year. These end bits are always very awkward, aren't they? They tend to either be very rushed, or there's some joke about something outrageous that happened earlier in the night. Wasn't that bloody yoghurt spilling out of Jono Coleman's dying mouth a bit of a hoot, hey? You wouldn't see that on Bert's Family Fued, 5.30pm weeknights on Nine, no sir.

And as we shovel the last handful of dirt over the coffin containing the 2006 batch of Aussie comedy and look eagerly forward to a bright shining future of...well, loads more Thank God You're Here, for starters, let's take a look at what will be happening in this exciting new year.

The Chaser's War on Everything will be taking over The Glasshouse's timeslot, which should increase their ratings, and decrease the pressure on them to make a better show. Also on the ABC, Chris Lilley will make another show about how funny bad high school musicals are, while Double the Fist will return not because anyone demanded it, but because they're cheap.

Seven and Nine will continue to ignore local comedy - which, considering the quality of their recent efforts, can only be a good thing - while Ten will stick with their policy of letting proven losers prove it all over again by giving us another 26 episodes of The Wedge. And SBS has promised to give us Wilfred, a sitcom featuring a man in a dog suit. Some critics might call it a golden age - but I think it's the kind of gold found running down an incontinent wino's leg.

That said, just because all the evidence points to another grim year doesn't mean that there's not hope. And it's in the spirit of hope - no, not Wayne Hope, even though his upcoming 'dramedy' Librarians looks mildly promising and shows that yes, even in 2007, the ABC will occasionally commission new comedy - I offer my predictions for this year...

BERT REACHES FOR HIS NOSTRADAMUS BEARD. FAILING TO FIND IT, BE GRABS ONE OF PAPA THROAT'S SPARES.


  • Rove McManus will return from self-imposed exile after the death of his wife, having re-invented himself as a drunken Dean Martin-style lounge lizard, claiming that his boozing and womanising is 'his way of coping with grief'. His entire life will still not be as funny as that five seconds of Houseboat Horror where Gavin Wood uses the term 'bar-up'.
  • Someone will be plucked, seemingly at random, from the cast of either The Wedge or Ronnie Johns and given their own ABC series. Despite centering on the wacky misadventures of a lovable and vaguely ethnic blue-collar criminal, ordered by the courts to work in a snooty Toorak wine bar to help the pay the costs after he drove his hotted-up Commodore through the front window, only to force the snobby clientele to face the 'real' Australia when his bogan mates start treating his new workplace as their local, this show (titled Brew Here Not Spew Here) will be hailed as 'the future of Australian comedy' by TV critics who found The Micallef P(r)ogram(me) 'too try-hard' and 'not as consistently side-splitting as Totally Full Frontal'.
  • Peter Helliar will attempt a new Strauchanie-type character, this one focused on cricket and called Waurnie. Unfortunately, Aussie cricketers take themselves far more seriously than AFL players and after two episodes Hellier is found dead with a cricket stump shoved through his chest. Stump-cam fails to identify the culprit and Tom Gleisner is placed under police protection.
  • The success of Spicks and Specks will result in the ABC converting all of their local content into panel shows...oh wait, that's a prediction for 2005.
  • FM radio will find another giggling blonde to co-host a totally new concept in radio programming: an ad-filled gab-fest featuring her and a surly male comedian who tells it like it is. She'll then go on to appear on various panel shows, host her own quiz show, be hailed as a top new talent by Working Dog, and be out of work and completely forgotten by Christmas. The male comedian will finish his career hosting afternoons on ABC Radio National and will pretend he never actually took part in Battle of the Sexes.
  • John Safran will either A): continue his fine work with Father Bob and open a soup kitchen in St Kilda, thus removing himself from the comedy scene entirely or B): accept Andrew Bolt's offer of an invitation to join the neo-conservative right, and will become a fey version of John Laws on an all new 'non-biased' Triple J. Option C):, in which he made another television series, is no longer available from the menu.
  • The Lady Julia Morris's Curb Your Enthusiasm-inspired series (provisional title: Curb Your Enthusiasm, Lady Julia Morris!) will not make it to air, after someone in television realises that there were over 300 Curb rip-offs in 2006 alone.
  • A housemate in the 2007 Big Brother house will smuggle in a Rodney Rude jokebook and repeatedly tell the one about the time his wife went to the doctor for a 'slip-a-dick-to-me'. After being evicted in week five, his comedy skills will see Channel Nine offering him the position of Head of Light Entertainment. Before being sacked two months later for parking in Sam Newman's spot, he'll have given the green-light to a revival of Hey, Hey, It's Saturday with Steven Jacobs as host, Laura Bingle as his female sidekick, the leftovers from Silverchair and Savage Garden as the house band, Matthew Newton's facial hair as Ossie Ostrich / Plucka Duck, Adam Richards as the gay entertainment reporter, and the laptop version of John Blackman as John Blackman, with Lucky Phil filming all the jokes about misspelt newspaper ads and gay sex with a cameraphone to give it that 'edgy' feel. It will instantly become the only show on Australian television, and will last a thousand years.
  • NEWTON
    And while I've got this beard on, which prominent Australians can we expect to perish in novel new ways in 2007? And who will be berated for raising a contrary viewpoint to the over-the-top gushing that will inevitably drizzle from the press?


  • Steven Jacobs will almost certainly get hit by a truck full of walnuts somewhere around July, probably during one of his amusing weather reports.

  • Wilbur Wilde - time may be up for the big man. His Apia ads were astonishing in 2006, but it did seem like they had worn him out by the end of the year. Expect him to drown while tanning himself on James Packer's yacht around February.
  • Paul Hogan. Most Murdoch press journalists have already written their scathing articles condemning Germaine Greer for her criticisms of the Hoges death hysteria Ray Martin and Geoff Harvey will drum-up. They have already refuted Greer's comments about the inappropriateness of Channels Nine and Seven painting Uluru blonde and giving it slight plastic surgery around the eyes, symbolised by two giant plasma screens implanted in the rock, showing Channel Ten and Hotdogs trying to flog-off a few dollars to bored students on acid and 79 year olds frittering their pensions away on On The Buses video tapes that have stuffed up the VCR again forcing them to watch poor-quality late night television. That'll show her! She's just bitter after all!
  • NEWTON
    Sure, Australian comedy in 2006 was a living nightmare, but 2007 already has the strange smell of a broken pipe!

    And that's all we have time for at this year's Tumblies, so until next year - goodbye.

    THE CREDITS START TO ROLL AND AFTER ALL THIS 'NEGATIVITY' AND 'BITCHINESS' A NUMBER OF MEMBERS OF THE AUSTRALIAN MEDIA AND ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY ARE NOT HAPPY. IT'S A GOOD THING CHANNEL NINE HAVE SQUEEZED THE CREDITS TO THE SIDE OF THE SCREEN MAKING IT UTTERLY IMPOSSIBLE TO SEE WHO WROTE AND PRODUCED THIS THING.

    AT LEAST THEY GET TO SEE MEMBERS OF 21ST CENTURY DARYL MOUNTING THE STAGE IN AN ATTEPT TO CALM THINGS DOWN. AND THERE'S ANDREW BOLT THROWING AS MUCH FISHING LINE AND BAIT AND HOOKS AT THE 'SUCCESSFUL' QUARTET AS HE CAN.

    IS THAT GLENN MILNE RUSHING THE STAGE? HE'S STILL BLETHERING INCOHERENTLY ABOUT STEPHEN MAYNE, I BET!

    STEVEN JACOBS IS ATTEMPTING TO DO THE WEATHER IN THE FOREGROUND, AS BEAN IS A CARROT LEAPS INTO HER CARROT BALLOON AND BEGINS THROWING CARROTS AND LOGIES AND BAGS OF ORGANIC LENTILS WITH PICTURES OF JOHN PILGER ON THEM AT EVERYBODY, INCLUDING PAPA THROATS.

    THROATS, MEANWHILE, WITH BABY UDAY UNDER ONE ARM, SEEMS TO BE DOING HIS BEST TO ADVOCATE THE ABOLITION OF BIC BIROS AND THE ANNEXATION OF GEOFF HARVEY'S DRINKS CABINET, BUT CANNOT REALLY BE HEARD AS NORMIE ROWE AND RON CASEY LEAP ONTO THE STAGE SWINGING PATHETIC PUNCHES AT EACH OTHER.

    13 SCHOOLYARDS IS IN THE CARPARK, COMPLETELY OFF MIC. HE SEEMS TO BE SINGING A COVER OF WHAT ABOUT ME.

    THE MCFADYEN 'DEATH CAR', RECENTLY CRUSHED AND TURNED INTO SCRAP, REBUILDS ITSELF TERMINATOR 2-STYLE, AND BEGINS TO MOVE MENACINGLY TOWARDS THE MOST TALENTED COMIC MATTER LEFT ALIVE IN THE ROOM.

    RICKY MAY'S ROTTING STOMACH JUICES, CURRENTLY BEING BELITTLED BY DARYL SOMERS AND JOHN BLACKMAN OFF STAGE, ARE VICIOUSLY MOWED DOWN, AND THE 'DEATH CAR' SPEEDS OFF INTO THE NIGHT, IT'S WORK DONE. OLD GREEN POSTHUMOUS STOMACH JUICE SPLATTERS EVERYWHERE, AND THE ROOM LOOKS A LOT MORE HOMELY NOW.

    STAN ZEMANEK IS BEING WHEELED ACROSS THE STAGE ON HIS GURNEY, STILL BEING OPERATED ON, BUT CONTINUING TO BROADCAST LIVE TO CONCERNED FANS AND THE PRIME MINISTER.

    WIL ANDERSON, CHARLIE PICKERING AND HAMISH & ANDY ARE SHARING A MIRROR TO MAKE SURE THEIR HAIR IS ON JUST THE RIGHT SIDE OF AMUSING, BUT GET THE FRIGHT OF THEIR LIVES WHEN KEN OATH'S FLOATING HEAD APPEARS BEHIND THEM LOOKING GREEN AND SMILING BROADLY.

    A DOOR OPENS STAGE LEFT AND GERMAINE GREER APPEARS IN THE DOORWAY DRESSED AS A MEDIEVAL WITCH. MICK MOLLOY STEPS FORWARD COVERED IN BUBOES AND HOLDING A FLAMING TORCH. HE VOLUNTEERS THE IMMORTAL LINE: 'THANK GOD YOU'RE HERE'.

    THINGS SEEM TO BE GETTING PRETTY CRAZY NOW, WITH DAVID TENCH AND ANDREW DENTON DOING THE CHARLESTON AWKWARDLY IN AND OUT OF THE FRAY. BUT, BERT NEWTON'S COME BACK. HE'LL DEFUSE THE SITUATION.

    NEWTON
    This is about as busy as a Saturday night at Molly's house!

    EVERYONE LAUGHS, CHAS LICCIARDELLO GETS IN A FINAL BONEHEAD AND THE VISION MIXER FADES TO THE CHANNEL NINE IDENT.

    ANNOUNCER
    Pete Smith speaking.

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