The great Australian political satirist John Clarke has died unexpectedly at age 68 during a hike in the Grampians National Park in Victoria, Australia. Known for his comedy acts that parodied sharp wit with political doublespeak, Clarke and his comedy partner Bryan Dawe entertained Australians on national television for decades, starting in the late eighties.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, no stranger to Clarke’s sardonic and often times attacking wit, posted his sadness at the entertainer’s death. “His laconic wit was rarely wide of the mark. I should know. With lethal accuracy he made politicians and prime ministers his prey,” PM Turnbull said.
But Clarke’s insight into the political arena, both on a domestic front and international stage, always managed to rip down the hypocrisy accompanying it.
“Australian audiences have relied on John Clarke for always getting to the heart of how many Australians felt about the politics of the day, and tearing down the hypocrisy and at times absurdity of elements of our national debate,” Michelle Guthrie, the ABC managing director said.
The team up of Clarke and Dawe’s mockumentary of politics gave sanity to insane and uncertain times. Their no-punches pulled interviewer-interviewee shorts spurred debate otherwise left untouched, often answering and projecting a truth that without the comedy would otherwise hurt.
No one was on a high enough pedestal to not mock, including Alan Bond, George Bush and media moguls. His parodies of those he considered in the elite category, or those who failed to carry their duty as world leaders, were the target of his wit.
John Clarke – to Australians – was one of the last true voices of reason.