April 24, 2017

John Clarke, beloved Down Under for his satire, dies at 68

13 April 2017, 01:51 | Clarence Schmidt

John Clarke as Fred Dagg riffing on Daylight Savings in 2976

John Clarke as Fred Dagg riffing on Daylight Savings in 2976

Clarke, who was born in New Zealand, sadly died of natural causes on Sunday after collapsing while hiking near Mount Abrupt in the Victorian national park.

His impersonation of former Victorian Planning Minister and architect John Madden about development in Melbourne is extremely amusing, as is his impersonation of former Victorian Premier John Brumby about the Kilcunda desalination project. His latest, and maybe last, performance was as Scott Morrison in a Clarke and Dawe sketch, undercutting the feeling Morrison wants us all to have, that he and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull are great mates, rather than the newly minted mortal enemies we're fairly sure they are.

"With the keenest eye and wit he understood the very essence of Australia", the Prime Minister wrote on Facebook.

Then John appeared on television and Fred Dagg was born. The piece of satire became infamous, thrusting the conversation of national pride and Aboriginal rights into the spotlight, and pissing off Prime Minister John Howard himself.

"I was lucky enough to be a member of the audience in the immortal EXTRAV years of the late sixties at Victoria - Helene Wong, Dave Smith, Roger Hall, and yes John Clarke". It spoke truth to power.

He had "an incalculable gift" for comedy, said Max Gillies, for whom Clarke wrote The Gillies Report in 1984.

Actor Bradley Cooper and model Irina Shayk welcome first child
However, the Oscar-nominated actor and the Russian supermodel are yet to reveal the gender or name of their child. Last December there were rumors of engagement when Irina was spotted with a giant emerald ring on her left hand.

Clarke also leaves grandchildren Claudia and Charles and son-in-law Stewart Thorn.

It was in in 1989 Clarke collaborated with Bryan Dawe creating weekly satirical mock interviews for television, radio and on-line which were hugely successful.

Most notable among those has been fellow giant of Australian comedy Barry Humphries, who is outraged at Clarke's sudden passing. "We are very grateful for all expressions of sympathy and love which John would have greatly appreciated", the family statement said.

"John died doing one of the things he loved the most in the world, taking photos of birds in lovely bushland with his wife and friends".

Tributes for John Clarke kept rolling in with Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten describing the satirist as the "sharpest, driest wit on Aussie TV", and Greens leader Richard Di Natale calling Clarke a "leading light of satire". The conversation got away from itself and we ended up talking about how writing a good comedy script was somewhere between poetry and physics.

Other News

Trending Now

The Year of Russell Westbrook continues as he etches name in history
I thought it would be a shame to have either one of these players not get the MVP award and sharing the award made sense. First quarter: It was not a good start for Westbrook, who had four turnovers before his first assist.

Not so sticky: MLB says no violation in Molina stuck ball
That's because since he dropped the strikeout pitch, it allowed Szczur to get on base since he couldn't throw it to first in time. Cardinals RF Stephen Piscotty (head contusion) appeared Thursday as part of a double-switch in the sixth inning and went 0-for-2.

Dodge Challenger SRT Demon Releases Final Video Teaser 'Judgement Day'
Just like in the previous teasers, Dodge shows the 2018 Dodge Challenger SRT Demon in an undisclosed Dodge test facility. With the new bits plugged in, the Demon's V8 can adjust its spark timing to take advantage of the higher-octane fuel.

Mental Health Group calls for improved support networks, awareness on mental health
GLOBAL communities will observe World Health Day on Friday, April 7, with focus on the theme, " Depression, Let's Talk ". Suicide claims the lives of more than 500 people every day in the WHO's Western Pacific region.

Las Vegas sports gambler Walters convicted of insider trading
A prosecutor had said Mickelson earned almost $1 million after Walters told him to buy Dean Foods Co. stock in 2012. Davis, Walters's friend, business partner and golfing pal of more than 20 years, was the government's star witness.

The EU publishes its official plan for Brexit talks
The working paper said: "We compute that the EU's liabilities and commitments amount to €724 billion by end-2018". It has been speculated that exit negotiations will continue for around two years.

Police track leads in search for Wisconsin gun theft suspect
At the recommendation of local law enforcement, the district entered the soft-lockdown with students and staff for the afternoon. Authorities said they did not know whether he was still in Rock County or even in Wisconsin.

'Two-thirds of Great Barrier Reef hit by mass coral bleaching'
Coral bleaching is caused by rising water temperatures resulting from two natural warm currents. The warming waters causing the bleaching probably have to do with global warming.

Alexa-powered Amazon Fire TV Stick now available in the UK
Now, imagine sharing your name with two of the world's most popular voice-activated Assistants, Amazon's Alexa and Apple's Siri. TV viewers will be able to speak to Alexa through a microphone built into the device's remote control.

Tar Heels bring back a sixth NCAA title
NOTES: North Carolina appeared in its 11th national championship game, having it won it in 1957, 1982, 1993, 2005 and 2009. The dean dome was the team's first stop after returning from Phoenix , the site of the 2017 Final Four .