A special message from the
Prime Minister of Australia, Ron John Howard.

My fellow Australians,

As you know, in 2006 my government celebrated ten years of ripping the guts out of this sun-burnt country of wattle and sheepskin car seat covers. To help celebrate our achievements, at the start of the year I held meetings with the intention of collecting the worst comic minds in the country together to see what we could do about producing some genuinely awful television programmes in an effort to demoralise those who had not yet properly experienced life on the dole post-1996, Big Brother Up Late and the career of Steven Jacobs. We wanted 2006 to be a special year. We had a lot of work to do.

We searched high and low to bring the worst comedy minds of the last 30 years together to make 2006 truly awful. It wasn't easy. We wanted to pick the decomposing brains of comedy dons Rob Sitch, Steve Vizard and Ian McFadyen, but they were all too busy either avoiding jail or producing stuff that by rights should have had them sent to jail. In the end we went for the old Comedy Sale writing team, and the minds behind Comedy Inc: The Late Shift, Good News Week and The Glasshouse. It was like being in a cramped room with Amanda Vanstone and Barnaby Joyce eating fish and chips. Just sitting in-between them. For hours. Probably not as much fun though.

We wanted a series of almost completely unwatchable programmes freshly ripped-off from the likes of Ricky Gervais and Larry David, and we wanted them to be amusingly scheduled around celebratory shows commemorating fifty years of quality programming. We wanted to really rub in the fact that while in the past Australian TV was quite good every now and then, today it's always very, very bad. We made sure we didn't make the past look that good though. You wouldn't have heard much about The Late Show in all those 'top twenty comedy programmes' shows in 2006. We gave all existing Late Show DVDs and footage to Alexander Downer and Mark Vaile and everyone else involved in the AWB scandal and none of them remember where they put any of it now. Whoopsy daisy! Trust us though, The Comedy Sale was about as good as 90s sketch comedy got.

Together, we tried very hard to make 2006 a sort of 'best of collection' of the last ten years of bad comedy, a decade condensed into one horrendous twelve months of uninspiring dross, and I think we succeeded. Sure, there was no Skithouse in 2006, but one extra candle would just make all the other bad comedy show candles that much harder to blow out.

These Australian Tumbleweed Awards commemorate what my government managed to do to the Australian psyche in 2006. I do not commend the contributors to the CNNNN Aussie news satire - and other Oz comedy thread who are responsible for this night of nights, nor do I recommend the albums, annuals, podcasts and themed pubs produced by 21st Century Daryl, the controversial 'comedy' 'troupe' that formed in that thread many years ago now. Featuring renowned pranksters 13 schoolyards, Bean Is A Carrot, Ken Oath and Papa Throats saying unpleasant things about Peter Goers and Guy Rundle, they're all really just a bunch of un-Australian jumped-up snerds who think they can criticise the likes of Dave Hughes and Jono Coleman when so far not one of them has managed to create anything really truly horrendous. But despite this, I'm glad our 2006 Australian comedy achievements are collected and commemorated somewhere. Just ignore all the Communistic Andrew Bolt-bashing and focus on words like 'McFadyen' and 'Schembri'. You'll see the greatness.

And on a side note, I would like to turn your attention to the Australia Post Barry Humphries stamp series. I haven't actually seen a Bazza routine since 1967, but he's quite fond of Quadrant apparently, and both of us read old 1957 street directories as much as possible. He's a great Australian.

So, enjoy the next five and a half hours of the Australian Tumbleweed Awards, ladies and gentleman! And vote for me later this year. The television set wouldn't look quite as quaint without my head on it somewhere, just under the doily and the framed picture of The King, Graham Kennedy. Who bloody well wasn't gay!

Your humble servant,

John Howard.

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