Tim Blair writes about the “Cutting Edge” Chaser Boys:
CHASERS CHASED AWAY BY THEIR TAX-FUNDING FRIENDS
The Chaser boys*, Australia’s official state comedy troupe since 1999, have been denied funding for yet another election year slab of mortgage-covering satirical sedatives.
And the boys aren’t happy about it:
“First time since 2001 that the ABC has declined to fund it. Perhaps Sky News provides enough satire nowadays?” the group’s tweet read.
It’s bad enough that we’ll be missing another Chaser series, but must they rub it in with this scorching reminder of their effortless comic mastery?
For [member and founder Charles] Firth, the ABC’s decision – “They just said they didn’t have the money,” he says was the ABC’s reason behind the rejection – is further proof the public broadcaster is conceding to government influence.
“The ABC is an institution in crisis, and it’s a very deliberate thing that’s happened,” he says.
“This decision, along with lots of other decisions” – the recent axings of controversial comedy shows The Checkout and Tonightly, for example – “should leave everyone in no doubt that the Liberals have done their work on the ABC and it’s not the institution it once was.”
When you’re celebrating the virtue of “institutions”, it’s probably time to hand in your edgy outsider badge. But there’s a problem with Firth’s version of events. According to the ABC, the Chaser middle-aged adults forgot to actually propose their new show:
A spokesperson for ABC has denied that the group made a pitch to the broadcaster to make a new election special and says that the group had already begun negotiating with commercial rivals.
Oh, well. Let’s hear more from Firth about institutional greatness:
“The moment you start being safe is the moment you start losing audiences, and you enter a downward spiral where you become irrelevant.
“It hasn’t happened yet, but that’s the problem – they’re in a death spiral where they’re getting safer and safer and they’re going to lose more and more of their audience.
“There are very few decisions in the ABC at the moment where you go, ‘Wow that’s interesting, that’s innovative, that’s really going to push the boundaries,’ which is exactly what you need from a public broadcaster.”
Yet he also wants the ABC to run the same material by the same crew who’ve been doing the same thing during every election for the past 17 years.
Signing the Chaser cis males for 2019 would have been, as Firth puts it, “safe”.
*Youngest original member: 41