Australian comedy is more than tactless plagiarism

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Within the world of comedy, there have been controversial attitudes towards the ownership of jokes and plagiarism. Particularly in the past week, comedy plagiarism has been in Australian news as Jordan Paris, a stand up and contestant on Australia’s Got Talent, has tactlessly ripped off material from British comedian Lee Mack. The young Aussie lifted Lee Mack’s anecdote about Robbie Williams almost word-for-word in probably one of the laziest attempts of plagiarism. In turn, I feel an obligation to look at original and clever Australian comedians to combat such idiocy.

Two of the most well known Australian comedians who are currently kindling popularity in the UK are Adam Hills and Tim Minchin. Adam Hills is mainly recognised for appearances on Mock The Week and Live At The Apollo. Yet within Australia he is a strong presence on the comedy circuit, and hosts Spicks And Specks, which is the loose spin-off of ‘Never Mind The Buzzcocks’. On the other hand, Tim Minchin is arguably less acknowledged in Australia as he has spent much of his life in the UK. His work is generally branded as musical comedy, echoing traits of Victoria Wood and early compositions by Hugh Laurie in A Bit Of Fry And Laurie.

There are also many great entertainers in Australia who have little following in the UK such as Hamish and Andy. Although Hamish and Andy are commonly identified as television personalities rather than comedians, they are far more amusing than their UK counterparts Ant and Dec who have been described by Stewart Lee as the Dorian Gray personas of television – they remain eternally young, whilst their alter-ego portraits grow old and grotesque with the debasing descent of their careers. Hamish and Andy are alternatively refreshing though and have revived the comedy in tomfoolery and general naughtiness. Personally I find their public demonstrations hilarious, such as their sporting creations ghosting, three step hiding, and put-pocketing.

Moving on from Hamish and Andy’s innocent slapstick, some of the most contentious Australian comedians are a group called The Chaser. The Chaser are famous for their amusing stunts, and satirical views on political and public interests. Since their beginnings in 1999, The Chaser have hosted various comedy shows such as The War On Everything, and Yes We Canberra! which was produced in the lead up to the 2010 general election. Recently they began creating a commentary show in the lead up to the Royal Wedding but it was withdrew on request as its sarcasm was apparently insensitive. Equally, they have had numerous public complaints on the darkness of their sketches such as the Make a Realistic Wish Foundation skit, which was a parody of the Make-a-Wish Foundation that was misinterpreted by many. Nevertheless, The Chaser are funny and original because of their shrewd irony and open mockery of all around them. I am very surprised that The Chaser have not yet become as successful in the UK where dark humour is perhaps more appreciated via the likes of Mock The Week and Have I Got News For You.

In all, The Chaser adds to the significant list of Australian comedy that far surpasses the evident plagiarism featured on Australia’s Got Talent. Its variety should hold great value in the world of comedy. Especially in The Chaser’s case, such Australian comedy should be more widely acknowledged.

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