The Humour Vacuum

Saturday, July 15, 2006, 4:12 PM

Hey Dad: It wasn't funny, but at least it was ours.

A quick look through this week TV programming shows a worrying trend. Let's have a look at the prime-time hours between 6pm and 11:30pm.

On the three major commercial channels, over the course of this last week, there was exactly two hours and fourty minutes of Australian comedy shown. Just three shows - Australia's Funniest Home Video Show, The Wedge and Rove Live (Or as I call it, Hey Hey It's Tuesday). If you had just entered the country, you would be excused for thinking that these three shows are the pinnacle of Australian TV comedy. (Though I do admit, I left Big Brother's Friday Night Live and The Footy Show set out of my little survey as entertainment/sports shows.)

Add SBS and the ABC and you can have another two hours of dinky-di Aussie laughs, courtesy of Spicks And Specks, The Glasshouse, repeats of Kath And Kim, and The Chaser boys.That's 2.3 percent of that prime-time filled by Australian comedy. 2.4 percent if you include the government funded stations. Overall, all comedy shows across the commercial stations come in at a poor 6.3 percent, 6.5 pecent with all stations included.

So it's probably no wonder that the Australian public has forgotten what humour is and has lashed out at Chas from The Chaser (lifted from ninemsn):
A comedian with ABC TV's The Chaser's War on Everything has been charged with offensive conduct after what senior police describe as an "act of mindless stupidity" outside a rugby league clash.

Chas Licciardello was filming a prank at Friday night's NRL clash in Sydney between the Bulldogs and St George-Illawarra.

Crowd violence when the two teams met earlier this year sparked a crack down on anti-social behaviour at Bulldogs games, with NSW police deploying its riot squad to all their games since.

Licciardello admits to being dressed in a Bulldogs' jersey and beanie outside the ground prior to the match at OKI Jubilee Stadium in Sydney's south.

"I was filming for our show, hawking off a Bulldogs supporters kit, it was a silly thing, it had fake knuckle dusters, balaclavas, that sort of stuff," Licciardello told Southern Cross Broadcasting.

"Most of the people took it pretty light heartedly but a couple of the supporters got a bit angry and then the police stepped in."
So what is it that has stolen the public's taste for a laugh? What happened to that noble Aussie ability to have a good laugh at yourself? Is it the stress of modern day life? Too much time looking over your shoulder for the Terrorist boogeymen? Has all this hashed and rehashed CSI-style bullshit left some of us as sober as judges? Or is it something completely different? Your thoughts and comments appreciated.
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