Last Saturday the satirists behind what’s unfortunately not really satire anymore, AKA The Chaser and The Shovel, performed their show at the Astor Theatre. The night consisted of a combination of takes from their recent magazine by Charles Firth and James Schloeffel, an Antony Green skit by Mark Humphries and a few extended bits by Victoria Zerbst and Jenna Owen.

The show was particularly funny, and an especially good drinking game if you’re somehow rich enough to afford drinks at the Astor theatre. Or if you missed the show but managed to grab a copy of the magazine, The Chaser Quarterly, then take a drink every time they make a joke about how many prime ministers we’ve had for a similar effect. Bob Hawke would undoubtedly be impressed.

One of the show’s spiciest takes was their look into the electorates – for instance, one with a high Jewish population trying to be claimed by the Liberal Party by with the satirical solution of having ScoMo convert to Judaism and then annex the West Bank.

The Chaser’s ability to switch from light-hearted political banter about how Senator Richard Di Natale is the political equivalent of iceberg lettuce wearing glasses, to jumping headfirst into the Palestine-Israel edge kept the show on the better side of what was seeming to be lukewarm political satire.

There were also some bizarre skits by Victoria Zerbst and Jenna Owen, like an extended fashion show of all the Liberal Party women. They came up in several wigs and enacted ‘definitely being definitely real women who are definitely part of the Liberal Party’, as well as a bit of rebranding the Labor Party as the party of Chloe Shorten’s husband because they need anything to hide that guy. Their segments seemed to go a lot longer than the jokes lasted, which left them all ending a touch awkwardly as the main hosts Charles Firth and James Schloeffel took back the mics.

Throughout the show there was an extended  commentary on Antony Green’s live election coverage with “Antony Brown”, played by Mark Humpries, giving live election coverage as the results come in. First, he came up onstage to alert us that the Coalition has received zero votes and it’s a major loss for them, before discovering that no votes have been counted. The second update announced that “100% of that votes have gone to the Shooters & Fishers Party after 1 vote counted”. This was followed by a second vote being counted for the Animal Justice Party, so no chance of crossbench support there. The final update announced a labour victory, but the person running the country would, fortunately or unfortunately, continue to be who it always has been – Rupert Murdoch. At risk of overexplaining, this skit was funny, as its true –  because we live in a nightmare where you can just own all the media companies and control reality for millions of people. Unfortunately, it seems like these takes are just cheap satire, as there isn’t any political solution given amidst all the jokes.

Overall, the show was good, better than expected as mainstream political satires go. As a score I give the show & magazine 77.6%. Coincidentally, this number is the same as the proportion of men in the Liberal party in the House of Reps.

The politically serious takeaway from The Chaser’s satire of all politics, if there was one, is that our whole system is broken, and we’re all screwed for having to do this dance of elections every four years,  where basically nothing changes about the structure of our political and economic system which desperately needs changing.

“But what if there was another way? Hi, I’m Alex and I’m here to talk about Anarch…”

-Alex, shortly before being tackled into the moat by a Trotskyist.

 

Words by Alex Crofts