The Chaser Boys have a beautifully symbiotic relationship with the Australian media, don’t they? Here’s how it works: The Chaser produce an unsophisticated, unfunny sketch concerning a topic that is obviously sensitive and potentially offensive. The media is scandalised and dedicate pages and pages to describing their outrage at a bunch of comedians for writing tasteless material. The end result? The newspapers use the opportunity to indulge in tabloid journalism via hysterical articles pandering to a vague sense of public outrage and The Chaser gets to walk away from the incident considering themselves the bad-boys of Australian comedy – despite not having produced anything really groundbreaking or original.
Shaun Carney’s piece in yesterday’s Age (10/6) in which he blames the offending sketch on a decrease of societal empathy was just too much. I very much doubt that the reaction to The Chaser’s sketch is anything so melodramatic as a result of changing levels of empathy in society. I doubt even that the attitude of the infamous ‘Make A Realistic Wish’ sketch is indicative of the true feelings of the Chaser writers themselves. It is simply a grab for publicity – any kind of publicity – and the media dutifully runs with it every time. Let’s face it, after watching the last couple of seasons of The Chaser, it seems unlikely that they are going to get noticed for writing funny, original comedy.