The brilliant John Clarke (1948-2017)

By April 10, 2017Obituary

Ah, Yeah, G’day. I don’t remember exactly when I found out about John Clarke, but it was one of his Fred Dagg scripts on ABC radio in the late 1970s, entitled, ‘The Socratic Paradox’1. I do, however, remember pissing myself laughing at the time, and was so impressed with it that I went and bought the album.

I also enjoyed his segments on ‘The Gillies Report’ where he reported on various international farnarkling championships2 in which the Australian national team was involved, and its star player Dave Sorensen who was one of the best arklers who often came back, after the umlaut, in the second warble to take the game up to the opposition.

One of the best satires ever broadcast on television was ‘The Games’ in which John Clarke played the head of ‘administration and logistics’ of the organising committee for the Sydney Olympics. It was hilarious and poked fun at the Olympics, bureaucracy, as well as conniving politicians and their obsequious advisors. One of the funniest segments was about the 100 metres track3.

In recent years, Clarke & Dawe have become an ABC institution after having been on commercial television for a while. Every Thursday night just before 8.00pm, they would lampoon some politician, or economists, or businesspeople, or ridicule the preposterous nature of part of the modern world, or a recent event4,5,6,7. It was unmissable.

John Clarke made the stupidity of the modern political landscape a little more bearable with his deadpan wit. That wit has been a part of my life and obviously many others, for the last forty years and he will be very deeply missed.



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