Aussie humour's a funny thing, isn't it.
The usual cliché routinely trotted out on Australia Day goes like this. We're always been great at sport. Not to put too fine a point, we've err . . . punched above our weight. We’ve more recently been congratulating ourselves on the end of our 'cultural cringe'. In fact our cringes are still fairly healthy in various respects not least in our economic achievements - as indicated by our sad insistence on describing things in such terms as 'world competitive'.
1. William Burroughs' Baboon:
We’re also very good at humour: viz Gunston before Ali G; Aunty Jack before Little Britain; Frontline before The Office;
Vizard before Letterman.
Most of our humour is dismal. It makes me cringe.
13. Nicholas Gruen
"Humour" is too broad a category by far. I think Australians have a great sense of humour. Subtle, ironic, low key. It suits some genres (like cartoons) and hasn’t worked that well with others. But Barry Humphries seems to manage. And Frontline was a great show. So it depends.
I miss things. For years I thought "I'm staying home to wash my hair" meant hair washing was a big deal; I never realised it was a brush off. Am I missing something here, too?
Speaking of humour: How The Hell Did We Get Here? The Baby Boomer's Guide To Comedy. How The Hell was yet another "Top 20" affair in which Aussie faces vote on the usual suspects: Frontline, The Paul Hogan Show, Mother And Son, The Naked Vicar Show, My Name's McGooley, The Aunty Jack Show, Full Frontal (or Fast Forward), The Games and Kath & Kim. Pretty much what you'd expect, right. I often suspect the faces in question vote for these shows because they were involved in them.
But before you jump to the confusion it must have been an all-Aussie affair, the 20 contained numerous foreign shows: Laugh In (18), Yes, Minister (9), Get Smart (8), Absolutely Fabulous (7), Monty Python's Flying Circus (5), Fawlty Towers (2) and Mash (1).
This is where my cringe quivers into action.
Were I putting the list together, the only Aussie show I would have included would be Frontline. The Games would have had a look-in, but it was a little too Clarke-Dry for me. McGooley is before my time. I thought Aunty Jack was rubbish, but I only ever saw it when Channel Two disinterred it a few years ago and like Peter Beattie, I loved the theme song. Most of the rest I detested, or at best tolerated. Mother and Son, in particular, shits me to tears.
The shows I would have included are mostly foreign. Yes, Minister, Get Smart, Flying Circus, Fawlty Towers, Ripping Yarns, Dad's Army, The Royle Family, Hancock's Half Hour, I'm Alan Partridge, Will & Grace, Seinfeld, The Young Ones, Cheers, Newhart, Herman's Head, The Dick Van Dyke Show, Porridge, The Larry Sanders Show and Night Court.
You can argue all you like about the baby-boomerishness of my list, but the ABC show covered about 40 years, so mine did, too.
I've never seen The Office and I've only just started watching Curb Your Enthusiasm. Boynton reckons CYE is a "grouse" grouch show like One Foot In The Grave, but I've never seen that, either. Guess I'll have to assume it's nothing like the completely shitful and hideous faux-grouch Becker.