So last night I was vegging out and watching the Melbourne Comedy Festival Oxfam Gala on Channel 10.Â The Gala is always a bit of a mixed bag – some of the acts are hilarious and I wish they had longer spots, while other acts are dreadful and seem to go on forever.Â It’s mainstream comedy, so I always expect a bit of fat-hate to make it in there somewhere, and there were a few quips throughout the night.Â I may have made a couple of obscene gestures at the TV, but the momentsÂ passed quickly.
Then Will Anderson came on.
I should have known better than to keep watching.Â Anderson has built half his career on bad fat jokes (and the other half on dick jokes).Â But after the whole Gruen Transfer Anti-Discrimination Ad hoopla, I was curious to see what he’d do.
Some background:Â Anderson hosted a show on the ABC called The Gruen Transfer, which looked at advertising and how it worked.Â In one of the segments, called ‘The Pitch’,Â ad agency had to come up with a way to ‘sell the unsellable’.Â In one episode, the ‘unsellable’ was Fat Pride.Â Two ads were created – one, predictably, exploitedÂ the stereotype of fat gluttons over-consuming for cheap laughs.Â The ad was aired on the show and judged as the winner of the segment.Â In contrast, the second ad:
…was made to be a legitimate approach to the problem, with a sincere intent to persuade Australians to reconsider their prejudices.
The ad wasn’t aired, however, because it was deemed too offensive and inappropriate.Â It used a series of racist, homophobic, anti-Semitic, and fat jokesÂ to make the point that fat hatred is discrimination and is not acceptable.Â I’m not questioning that decision, it WAS offensive and inappropriate.Â (So was the ad that was aired, but fat hatred is obviously not deemed inappropriate on Australian television.)Â Instead, viewers were directed to a (now defunct) website where they could view the ad and the panel discussion around it.Â You can watch the Gruen Transfer segment here and the banned ad here, but be warned, they really are offensive and may be triggering.Â I can’t find the panel discussion on youtube, but if anyone has a link, let me know?
The panel discussion was the most interesting thing about the whole hoopla, and Anderson seemed like he got it that fat jokes are on a level with the other types of discrimination.Â But apparently not.
Anderson started his segment by whinging about how hard it is for him to get a blow job (Oh really?Â I’m so surprised!), and quickly turned to fat hatred.Â His routine went quickly from classist mockery to suggesting that we should run over fat kids for their own good.Â Thanks, Will, that’s fucking hilarious.Â Death threats always make me laugh.Â No, I know that it wasn’t a serious proposal, but for fuck’s sake, joking about killing people based entirely on how they look? NOT FUCKING FUNNY. In fact, I’d say it’s stupid and lazy and boorish, and, wow, all the things Anderson seems to think fat people are.Â Coincidence?
In other news, good news, happy news, my PhD Confirmation went extremely well – so well, in fact, that I don’t know what I was nervous about.Â I’m counting that as a win for fat pride.