Your media reviewer is only one Latika Bourke ALP leadership rant away from cancelling his weekend subs to the Saturday Sydney Morning Herald and its sister Sunday, The Sun-Herald.
Which in some ways would be a shame because the two Nine mastheads make for a really good laugh and on that score we need to lavish special praise on Max Koslowski’s opinion piece in the latest Sun–Herald (main picture).
Fine comedy is all about timing, of course, and Max has it in spades. It’s just a shame his platform is the written word as it means we can’t see how he would have handled the same material on stage.
And we speak of this classic moment: “Over the months, the death taxes rumour spread like a wildfire beyond the control of both major parties.”
We’ll never know whether Max guffawed out loud when he wrote that or did it deadpan in the tradition of many of the world’s greatest comics such as Jack Benny and Bob Hope.
But it’s a beauty, isn’t it? It conjures up images of a federal Liberal Party campaign team and senior pollies desperately upset that the death tax web of lies, stirred up non-stop by those very same LNP politicians throughout the campaign, had gone too far and the poor buggers were somehow powerless to stop it.
On stage of course, Max could have milked that one for all it was worth. Stuck a pretend mobile to one ear.
“Can you image the phone call between Morrison and Frydenberg?” Max could have told a live audience.
“Morrison: Josh, we’re telling a lot of porkies this election but I really think our death tax scare is a bridge too far…
“Frydenberg: Couldn’t agree more PM. But we’ve lost control of that particular message.
“Morrison: Well, we just need to shut it down. It’s not Christian to tell porkies of that magnitude.
“Frydenberg: Once again, I agree, sir. But have you seen our new ad showing Labor people saying ‘death taxes’ over and over again after their words were deliberately edited so they were taken completely out of context? It’s a ripper. And our death tax trucks are going over very well out in the electorates.”
“Morrison: Well, let’s get this thing back under control as soon as we can, okay. I don’t like it. Don’t like it at all. I want us to prosperity – I mean prosper – fairly and squarely. My God would expect that of me.”
And what a way for Max to finish up. “Thank you, You’ve been a wonderful audience. I’m here all week and please try the burger and beer special. It really is exceptional value.”
But of course Max’s comedy is the written word. And despite the limitations of that format, we at The Bug think he’s an absolute gem.
Another good hearty laugh from the Sun-Herald came from Gus Gould – or at least from the paper’s back-page promo for his column.
No wonder Gus was a great rugby league coach. You simply can’t be taught coaching tactics of this standard. It’s either got to come naturally or is learnt from bitter experience over time.
We know for a fact that Gus in his early coaching days gave his players very simple advice: “Take it easy for the first 40, boys! Think of it as a training run. We’ll claw back from 28-0 easy peazy.”
To his credit, Gus learned from bitter experience that wasn’t the way to go and can now dish out the sort of top-shelf, professional advice shown above that lesser coaches wouldn’t even have the ability to comprehend, let alone communicate to players.
Wonder if Max and Gus share the same writers?
The only upside of a possible cancellation of my weekend Heralds if those papers continue to pile on the Labor Party as government-in-exile is that I won’t be missing a constant source of amusement – the shocking literals and laughable headings – now that Nine has decided to hire some in-house sub-editors.
Subs on a newspaper? Well, I never …. the very idea, hey?