Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Laughing from diversity, and the rise of fake news

20 Responses

  • Kumara Republic,

    I saw The Yes Men Are Revolting at DocEdge last week. We need something like them here. We need to see something outrageous enough to be lawsuit-grade.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5423 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    A comedian who uses an actual screen is Thane Pullan. I think he uses eye gaze technology and adaptive technology for his 'stand up' routine. Does a good line in disability jokes. Not on TV yet but can't be far off.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3204 posts Report Reply

  • Jack Harrison,

    I read some Aristophanes today. I'm old school.

    wellington • Since Aug 2014 • 296 posts Report Reply

  • simon g,

    It also means it might be a while before you see shows like these on middle-market mainstream TV.

    I think we know how those conversations would go:

    TV Executive: "Yes, I like this, but could we just tweak it a bit? Let's put "Satire" subtitles up on screen first, and add a laugh track. Also, after the joke, how about a trombone, and a wink? Just to make sure everybody knows it's a gag, we can't be too careful, can we?"

    Anyway, good luck to Brown Eye. One complaint though - last week they had Cameron Slater as a guest. They lost one viewer immediately.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1324 posts Report Reply

  • Jack Harrison,

    Comedy is hard work. Most people aren’t that funny. Bill Hicks to me personifies the modern craft of comedy.

    He practised his art and refined it to a masterpiece of brilliant
    theatre.

    Timing and mindnumbing honesty.

    wellington • Since Aug 2014 • 296 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Jack Harrison,

    Comedy is hard work. Most people aren’t that funny. Bill Hicks to me personifies the modern craft of comedy.

    Another one is George Carlin, who, aside from 7 Dirty Words fame, had some brilliantly biting social commentary.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5423 posts Report Reply

  • Jack Harrison, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    Yeh but Bill is the man. His delivery has been stolen more times than a Kurt Cobain riff.

    wellington • Since Aug 2014 • 296 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to simon g,

    Anyway, good luck to Brown Eye. One complaint though – last week they had Cameron Slater as a guest. They lost one viewer immediately.

    It was awkward.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22759 posts Report Reply

  • AndrewJ,

    Robbie's hilarious - although he's kind of like a Jon Stewart tribute band.

    Jakarta, Indonesia • Since Jun 2014 • 8 posts Report Reply

  • Jack Harrison, in reply to AndrewJ,

    Jon Stewart owes a lot to Bill Hicks and many others, comedy is hard. The fact that Robbie pulls it off is whats cool about Robbie.

    wellington • Since Aug 2014 • 296 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Anyway, good luck to Brown Eye. One complaint though – last week they had Cameron Slater as a guest. They lost one viewer immediately.

    It was awkward.

    Well, you know what? If you want "satire" that doesn't make you uncomfortable, you're probably missing the point. And while I hate the whole punching up/down/sideways analogy (which is deeply simplistic on way too many fronts), at least insult Slater while he's in the room. It's more than he does to anyone else.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • simon g,

    If you want “satire” that doesn’t make you uncomfortable, you’re probably missing the point.

    Nobody has said they do want this, so you're definitely missing the point. What does Slater's appearance on the show have to do with satire?

    An enema might make us uncomfortable, that doesn't make it satire.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1324 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to simon g,

    An enema might make us uncomfortable, that doesn’t make it satire.

    And while talking cheap shots at easy targets you never have to look in the eye might pass muster as “satire” nowadays, it sure looks a lot like good old-fashioned bullying to me. Or is it OK as long as you don’t happen to like the targets?

    Monica Lewinsky has some relevant (and surprisingly funny, all things considered) reflections on that topic…

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    And while talking cheap shots at easy targets you never have to look in the eye might pass muster as “satire” nowadays, it sure looks a lot like good old-fashioned bullying to me. Or is it OK as long as you don’t happen to like the targets?

    Steady on. Slater just appeared as a commentator, and it was a bit awkward. That's all.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22759 posts Report Reply

  • Damian Christie, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    Yes I don't think Slater's appearance was satire, and from watching a few bits of a few eps of the show today, that's what I find a little confusing. It sort of jumps from funny skit show to Mediawatch without much rhyme or reason. I can't quite get my head around it - but that's not a bad thing necessarily, and most of those individual bits are good.

    The Slater thing was just awkward, as Russell says. He was at pains to want to be liked, and to be funny, and failed on both fronts.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1164 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Damian Christie,

    The Slater thing was just awkward, as Russell says. He was at pains to want to be liked, and to be funny, and failed on both fronts.

    It sometimes pays to give the subject enough rope to strangle himself. Paul Bushnell's Artsweek interview with Richard Prebble on RNZ years ago comes to mind:

    Sometimes, however, you do actually have to own up to what your policy is. Prebble appeared last weekend on National Radio's Arts Week. I sometimes muse that the promos for Arts Week make the name of the programme sound a bit like "Arse Week". So must Richard Prebble, because "arse" is about the best description of his behaviour.

    Now, Act's policy on culture has hitherto apparently been that it will only fund heritage - or dead culture. The living arts don't deserve any public support and they won't get any. This is not a very good message to be carrying into a neck and neck battle in arty Wellington Central.

    So Prebble went on Arts Week claiming that he supported public arts funding, he'd always done so and so did Act. But, said the interviewer, Paul Bushnell, I have statements from your arts and culture spokesperson Donna Awatere-Huata and your candidate and lead groupie Catherine Asare, and this piece of paper your officials told me was your arts policy ... and they all say the opposite. How could this be?

    He pressed the point until Prebble lost it spectacularly, and at some length.

    "You are a liar! This man is telling lies!" he bawled into Bushnell's mic.

    "Mr Prebble, put the microphone down ..."

    "I'll do what I want with it!" roared the Mad Dog.

    Bushnell was by this point probably wondering if anyone could hit his interview subject with a tranquiliser dart. It made for great radio. Hilarious. But Deputy Prime Minister? I don't think so, Richard.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5423 posts Report Reply

  • Lyndon Hood,

    I caught up with this Media Take and Brown Eye last night. And discovered White Man Behind a Desk when you tweeted it for the show, so that was a good few days.

    Interesting you both ended up mentioning Jeremy Wells. Not that I want to relitigate anything (I was away at the time and tried to avoid Pronouncements), but feel like a clarification: I imagine at least some of the annoyance wasn't so much over the distinction between irony and sincerity as the distinction between making a joke about something and making light of it. You can certainly be flippant without jesting. And while being funny in earest isn't the only way to do satire it certainly is a popular one.

    That's something I think fewer people get even in principle and can be really hard to pitch and to read in practice. (And that's why I find it annoying when people claim to be 'joking' as if that means nothing they say matters.)

    So if it's eg a white dude mocking another white dude by saying a bunch of racist things I can see where the people he's supposed to be standing up for might - on top of just finding hearing some of that painful - might get annoyed.

    And I consider that, in turn, more a matter for artistic judgment than something eg Susan Devoy should stick her oar into.

    And when heard that clip from it last night I did laugh out loud.

    (Also, like the risk of being misunderstood, this is the kind od thing where worrying too much about it can really screw up your process. Making it work for the audience is the craft but in satire more than anything else there's a limit and I guess you have to accept that.)

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1115 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    It sometimes pays to give the subject enough rope to strangle himself. Paul Bushnell’s Artsweek interview with Richard Prebble on RNZ years ago comes to mind:

    Oh man, that was a legendary piece of radio.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22759 posts Report Reply

  • Lyndon Hood,

    And just because it was entirely unclear: I meant there's a limit as in a limit to how much control you have over how people respond to your work once it's in the wild, no matter how much you fret over it beforehand.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1115 posts Report Reply

  • Damian Christie, in reply to Lyndon Hood,

    I agree with your unease on this one - not specifically whether this example fell on one side of the line or the other, but that there must be some line where the things you are attributing to someone are so unlikely to have been said by that person, and would be offensive (rather than just say, ridiculous) if said in any other context, then is it really okay to say them? It's easy to come up with any number of horrible hypotheticals.

    Not that I'd put anything past Hosking after hearing another couple of awful sociopathic rants last night (not something I regularly subject myself to), but an anti Maori rant might've been more clearly satirical in the voice of say, Holmes, a few days after his Waitangi column, or Cheeky Darkie etc.

    Yes, it doesn't pay to over-analyse these things, but it's worth thinking about.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1164 posts Report Reply

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