August 21, 2003


The problem with CNNNN is that it isnít very FUNNNNY:

When the ABC's news satire CNNNN returns this week you can bet the war in Iraq will feature prominently. Embedded journalists, Iraq's-most-wanted playing cards, the excesses of Fox News - that's a rich comic vein to mine. But it also creates a problem.

"George Bush does surpass satire a lot of the time," says CNNNN's Craig Reucassel. "With George Bush and things like Fox News - if you wrote some of the things that actually happened, everyone would send it back, going, 'That's too unrealistic.'

"Fox News were calling the French 'cheese-eating surrender monkeys' - now how in the hell can you top that?"

Beats me. Try jokes.

Posted by Tim Blair at August 21, 2003 12:42 PM

I'm probably biased, having done school/uni debating with the CNNN guys, but I'm a fan of the show. That's probably from reading The Chaser for a while, so their style works for me. Preferring satirical, pun-based, out-there humour helps as well.
Sure, sometimes they sound like boring lefties chasing the right, but it's actually quite balanced - they've taken the piss out of enoguh left-aligned people for me to call them fairly balanced.
Particular fave was last year's car-chase sketch, within 30 secs the runaway driver was reported to have links to al qaeda, etc, good send up of media obsession.
Besides, the new show has ex Fantastic Leslie musos on it - it can't be bad.

Posted by: Dan at August 21, 2003 at 01:03 PM

He's got a point though, FoxNews is comedy gold! CNNN just looks slightly more serious and almost boring by comparison.

Posted by: agnte at August 21, 2003 at 01:22 PM

Are they the same guys who did the piss takes on David Hicks on MMM in Sydney. That was classic stuff.

Posted by: Gilly at August 21, 2003 at 01:26 PM

Reucassel says he heard CNN considered taking them to court but decided against it. He doesn't believe they'd have a case.

Is that right you sad, strange little man? In my opinion CNN have an open and shut case re the trademark and a very strong case in copyright. I am so confident that I offer my services to CNN on a no win/no charge basis.

Posted by: Alex Hidell at August 21, 2003 at 02:04 PM

Surely ANYTHING that gives Mark Latham the shits can't be all bad.

Posted by: Habib Bickford at August 21, 2003 at 02:09 PM

All attempts by the ABC at organised humour should be banned, not merely for budgetting reasons. The ABC is inherently a joke, so the test pattern is enough to get most people laughing.

Posted by: Rob (No 1) at August 21, 2003 at 02:41 PM

I went to Sydney Uni. at the same time as the Chaser people (I was actually in a play with Anna Skellern, on CNNNN). So I've been following them for a while. They're funny, but not very. And they got things seriously wrong about the Iraq war. The headline on one issue read:

Mission Accomplished: US successfully disarms Iraqis

This was above a picture of a young Iraqi boy who had lost his arms in a bomb blast. Okay, so this sort of thing happens in wars, and it's awful. But not once, as far as I remember, did they talk about the consequences, for the Iraqi civilians, or the rest of the world, of leaving Saddam Hussein in power.
I do like CNNNN, though. Sometimes (okay, a lot of the time) the jokes fall flat. But they keep on coming at you, very fast, so it keeps you on your toes.
So yeah, I'll be watching...

Posted by: TimT at August 21, 2003 at 02:56 PM

As a right-wing-pro-free-trade-pro-globalisation-white-anglo-saxon-ex-military-financial-services-heterosexual-happily-married-male I probably don't fit in the target demographic but I think they are reasonably funny. Especially when they hook into the Democrats. And the Mark Latham with the refo and bat thing was a cracker.

Posted by: Razor at August 21, 2003 at 03:33 PM

"Cheese eating surrender monkeys" was originally uttered by Groundskeeper Willie in The Simpsons, a show ever on the bleeding edge of contempt for political correctness.

Al Bundy was also tres perceptive with "It is good to hate the French."

But me fave was when the homicidal maniac Sideshow Bob, being arrested and led away after having failed to murder Selma, cries out "I'll be back. You can't keep the Democrats out of the White House forever. And when they get in, I'm back on the streets, with all my criminal buddies!"

Sometimes a train of thought is very hard to derail...

Posted by: Paul Johnson at August 21, 2003 at 03:41 PM

Each to their own, I suppose. I think CNNNN is quite a funny show, though I'm not sure if they can repeat the formula without rehashing a bit. They attack all sides without mercy. Their ambush of Democrats post-election party, and mocking Mark Latham, were gold.

Fave bit from last series: "The terrorists sheltered in Afghanistan, were funded by Saudia Arabia, travelled through Germany, trained in the USA. There can be only one solution: attack Iraq!"

Posted by: Geoff at August 21, 2003 at 05:08 PM

I'm not a CNNNN fan - there's just too many "uh-huh" moments where there would have been laughs in a "BackBerner" episode. Even the one-off Kim Gingell for BackBerner episode last week was better than CNNNN could hope to be.

Posted by: Craig Mc at August 21, 2003 at 06:52 PM

Laughs discovered in Backberner?

Very personal thing, humour.

Posted by: Ferg at August 21, 2003 at 07:51 PM

You guys actually watch TV? hahaha!!

Posted by: roscoe.p.coltrane at August 21, 2003 at 08:58 PM

Could be worse. At least they didn't name the new series FoXXX. Now that would be fairly unbalanced.

Posted by: Elitism For The People at August 22, 2003 at 12:46 AM

You want funny? Go watch the Daily Show. :)

Posted by: Ryan Frank at August 22, 2003 at 02:13 AM


Glass houses, my friend, glass houses....

Posted by: raindog at August 22, 2003 at 07:10 AM

Me? I wouldn't have had the gall to mock people for watching TV if I had chosen the nom de plume of Roscoe.P.Coltrane.

Posted by: Daisy Duke at August 22, 2003 at 11:26 AM

So did you watch CNNNN anyway, Tim?

The faux "4 Corners" promo at the end was beaut: "We talk to ... someone... about investigating ... someone else... for doing ... something vaguely suspicious ... and call for .... some sort of action ... to be taken".

It wasn't as funny as previous episodes, I thought, but then those episodes were of a pretty high standard, IMHO.

Posted by: Geoff at August 22, 2003 at 03:47 PM

Y'mean they have television in Austria? Good christ! How did that happen? I thought y'all just sat around swilling beer and taking pot-shots at wallabies...

Posted by: mojo at August 23, 2003 at 02:26 AM

Ja, ja, Herr Mojo, ve haff very good television over here in Austria ... only, ve do not shoot roos round here, and ve haf given up shooting jews for about half a century... but ve still svill a lot of beer, especially in Oktober..

What's that? Oh, you meant AUSTRALIA! Ha! Silly me, thinking you'd got your national stereotypes mixed up...

Posted by: TimT at August 23, 2003 at 10:50 AM

CNNNN - don't watch it much. The basic concept of the show is good, and some of the lines are too, but the delivery is often poor. Best bet would be too replace the cast with genuine comic performance ability, but keep The Chaser guys writing it.

Posted by: Stewart Kelly at August 26, 2003 at 04:46 PM