CAREER CHANGE THWARTED:
A crestfallen Jacqueline Maley has failed in her bid to try out as one of The Bug’s emerging standup comedy talents.
The respected Sydney Morning Herald columnist had sent us the text of her most recent column for the Sun-Herald entitled There is no such thing as Australia any more: the pandemic killed it and she surprised us with her follow-up call not long after.
We had to agree that there were some laugh-out-loud moments but she got quite upset when we explained we didn’t think the material warranted the cost of booking a venue to give her a chance to try it out with a live audience, as we did last week for her colleague Peter Hartcher (below).
“But that killer line of mine where I said that the Morrison government would justifiably campaign at the next election on Australia’s excellent handling of the pandemic …. wasn’t that beautifully set up?”
We agreed that it was an absolute corker – a thigh-slapper no doubt – and, yes, we hadn’t seen it coming.
Especially as her lead-up monologue explained that the states had done all the heavy-lifting and that Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s most pragmatic move has been to get out of the way of the pandemic response.
“And by running away from any responsibility at all, he had exposed the power of the states in a federation and Australia really didn’t exist any more,” Jacqueline prompted.
“I thought my line about how the federal government has managed to evade the one area it had responsibility for – quarantine – was a ripper.”
“I was basically saying why should Morrison be re-elected if he’s killed off the idea of Australia as a nation. Talk about shit leadership. Now that is very funny, surely?”
Yes, we had to agree that under all those circumstances the very fact that a self-serving braggart such as Morrison could shamelessly claim credit for anything to do with COVID-19 was all very funny but we still had to bring the poor woman back to earth. And we began by asking her not to call us Shirley.
“There just wasn’t the continual boom! boom! boom! way-out-there wacky humour of your typical Hartcher piece,” we said softly.
“It was a little highbrow wasn’t it?’ she replied. “I knew I shouldn’t have used the word simulacrum, should I?”
We had to admit we didn’t have a clue what that meant and her “neither do I!” response had us thinking that maybe with more work and just a bit more effort she might get a gig, maybe closer to the election.
She was so disappointed with our decision not to give her a redhot real-life go at a standup career that we softened somewhat at the end by saying we’d keep an eye on her material in the months leading up to the election and if she could just be a little more hartcheresque in her approach to her comedy writing, she could reasonably expect a call from us.
Below: The Bug acknowledges that Jacqueline Maley has untapped-as-yet humour potential. Here’s an earlier sample of similar material where she also lauded Morrison over the pandemic response even though it’s clear she knows he had fuck-all to do with it and Australia would now be in a very sorry state if he had.