By Liam McLoughlin 15/12/2015
Forget Laurel and Hardy, Cheech and Chong, Abbott and Costello (his budgets were hysterical). All heil the new undisputed Fϋhrers of comedy: Abbott and Trump.
The comic legends, best known for their dangerously funny caricatures of far right politicians, have just released a brilliant parody of Bing Crosby’s classic 1986 album White Christmas. Titled “White Supremacist Christmas”, the album contains witty rightwing rewrites of all your favourite carols, including “Frosty the Fascist”, “Joy to the Anglo-American World”, “Deck the Halls with Extremist Propaganda”, “Marie Le Pen is Coming to Town” and “It’s Beginning to Look a lot Like Nazism”.
The new album is predicted to go 50 times platinum because no matter the genre of tomfoolery, whether it’s buying a fridge, claiming competency as a Prime Minister, eating an onion, or calling for a ban on all Muslims entering America, the media is dead set on making these clowns a global sensation.
Fans of these two rising stars of rightwing comedy liken their genius to that of Karl Pilkington. Betty Spoonerism, PHD in LOLs at the University of Sydney, said “For years people have insisted Pilkington is a comic savant faking idiocy, mostly for the benefit of Ricky Gervais. They say that no-one could be that dim. Now they are saying the same things about the comic stylings of Abbott and Trump”.
Others don’t find them so funny.
Some commentators even deny that Abbott and Trump are comedy characters at all. They insist the two jokers are in fact dangerous extremists using a toxic blend of hate speech and cavernous ignorance to incite racism and hate crimes against Muslims. They suggest their public comments can be linked to Muslims experiencing racism at three times the national average in Australia and to the 19 hate crimes perpetrated against Muslims in the six days following Trump’s inflammatory comments last week.
According to these wet blankets, there are two ways to reduce the awful cost of this right wing comedy.
Comedian David Mitchell writes that the trick is to laugh at them, not with them. Mitchell compares Trump to a man “noisily doing a shit in the corner of the room” and advises us to “point at the shitting man and laugh”. He opposes banning Trump from Britain and says “The most dangerous thing we can do now is stop finding him funny”. American essayist Edwin Percy Whipple said something similar more than a century ago:
As men neither fear nor respect what has been made contemptible, all honor to him who makes oppression laughable as well as detestable. Armies cannot protect it then; and walls which have remained impenetrable to cannon have fallen before a roar of laughter or a hiss of contempt.
Some think the situation is so serious it’s beyond satire. The New Statesman ran Sasha Abramsky’s piece Think Donald Trump Is a Joke Candidate? That’s What They Said About Hitler, comparing post 9/11 in the US to post WW1 in Germany. She warns:
Fascism doesn’t happen overnight. It is the end product of years and years of debased political rhetoric and an inflated sense of victimhood. It happens when people have successfully been dehumanised by the apparatus of power; and it happens when good people, of which there are many, stay silent in the face of discrimination and violence...There is nothing benign or humorous anymore in the Trump phenomenon.
It is time, before he gains any more traction with his obnoxious suggestions, for all political figures of good conscience...to stand up against him, unified in opposition to everything he represents.
Jason Wilson likewise cannot see the chuckles for the xenophobia, calling Abbott’s brand of comedy a political project “which attempts to manufacture the kind of fear and insecurity that drags the national political spectrum to the right, and heightens the appeal of rightwing candidates”.
Satire or no satire, so long as the media keeps recording their every bowel movement, we can all expect big things for the comedy careers of Tony Abbott and Donald Trump.