John Clarke died yesterday, and I’m rather more upset than I would have expected. For non-Australians/New Zealanders, Clarke was a genuine satirist in a time when the word has been diluted and dispersed so freely that it no longer has much meaning. He shed a blinding light on hypocrisy and stupidity and was hilarious while he did it.
Even though he was a presence in my life from my mid teens, when I laughed at Clarke & Dawe on Jana Wendt’s ‘A Current Affair’ without knowing why, I can’t claim to be a John Clarke fan. I don’t own any of his books or DVDs. I didn’t even watch him that often. But it occurs to me that I might have watched him when I needed to. Today hypocrisy is not only widespread and brazen, but generally accepted, and after a while you might start to think that you’re the crazy one. When I started to feel this way, I’d find the latest Clarke & Dawe clip and within seconds I’d feel a weight lift from my shoulders. Someone was calling “bullshit” for me. I don’t think he was trying to change the world; we’re not going to stop the liars and double-dealers, but they were a bit less powerful after John took aim at them. I’ll miss knowing he’s there.
Here’s a recent bit: