Wednesday, 28 June, 2017

John Clarke: Satirist beloved in Australia dies

Paul Keating John Clarke at the after party for Keating the musical in Melbourne Vale John Clarke
Garry Little | 11 April, 2017, 00:31

From his iconic sketches with Bryan Dawe, to The Games' brilliantly incisive take on the absurdity of bureaucracy, satirist John Clarke will be remembered as a legend of Australian comedy.

Clarke became known to many Australians for his five minute satirical spots on Channel Nine's Friday news programme A Current Affair since 1989.

His rich and unique output provides part of the explanation for the extraordinary outpouring of grief in Australia, New Zealand and around the world, following news of his passing. "His Fred Dagg costume is now in the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, but he continues to give real meaning to the words of the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche - we should call every truth false that is not accompanied by a laugh".

Clarke wrote the Olympic Games send-up The Games. Clarke said in a Listener interview in 1990.

Clarke's film credits include Lonely Hearts (1981), Footrot Flats (1985), A Matter of Convenience (1987), Blood Oath (1989) and Death In Brunswick (1990).

He also co-wrote stage musicals The Adventures of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie and Little Ragged Blossom. Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said Clarke's "laconic wit was rarely wide of the mark".

The character of Fred Dagg remains beloved and admired - learning of Clarke's death, Jemaine Clement of the comedy duo The Conchords shared an early mockumentary segment featuring Dagg and his "approximately half a dozen" sons - all of whom were named Trevor. His humour captured the experience of life in NZ and Australia, ' he said.

Labor leader Bill Shorten praised Clarke after news of his death broke. The sharpest, driest wit on Aussie TV.

The New Zealand-born comedian was hiking in the Grampians National Park in Victoria on Sunday when he died suddenly from natural causes, an ABC spokesperson confirmed.

- Jane Kennedy (@Jane_L_Kennedy) Shocked and saddened that John Clarke, a wise and amusing man, has left us.

"And best of all it made us laugh along the way".

Wil Anderson said: 'With all due respect to Jon Stewart, John Oliver and Stephen Colbert, John Clarke invented what they did and was still doing it better than anyone else in the world right until the end which sadly came way too soon'.

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