Across the globe, 2019 was a year of great upheaval. Except in Australia.
While Hong Kong protested and countries started waking up to climate change, our government made sure hospitality workers got paid less on Sundays.
The Chaser and The Shovel Annual 2019 re-lives another 12 months of Australian political mediocrity with an all-star satirical line-up: Charles Firth (The Chaser), James Schloeffel (The Shovel), Mark Humphries (ABC's 7.30) and SBS The Feed's Jenna Owen and Victoria Zerbst.
"Don't you think the world is worse now than it was when we were growing up?," Firth asks Weekender.
"Or maybe it's social media's fault. In previous years a president couldn't just lie and broadcast it to 40 million people because 'the president lied today' would be the first thing journalists would report. Now the media is accused of lying by the president."
There is so much fodder to work with, in fact, that it can be difficult to keep up.
"At a very technical level comedy requires a straight man; you actually need something serious to do the comedy about," Firth explains.
"So many things are so seriously wrong with the world that comedy is actually very easy now. It tends to be very dark humour, very black, but that's because of how profoundly awful the world is. What's not easy is keeping on top of it all. Donald Trump has completely transformed the pace of the news cycle. Trump and Twitter. If you try to satirise something stupid Trump said this morning, by the afternoon he would have said three even more stupid things."
Closer to home, Firth reckons the "real crime" over the past 10 years has been Australians electing a prime minister who has a self-appointed nickname.
"Forget the Royal Commission into banks, let's look at someone like Scott Morrison giving himself a nickname. He's not even from the Shire and he pretends he goes for the Sharks. He moved there because he failed as a Liberal Party member everywhere else."
Firth says he is not biased against the Liberal Party. The Labor Party is "just as f - - - ed".
"It's not at all one-sided for us. Whoever is in government will always provide. The opposition is, by its very nature, powerless and less worthy of comment. But I would say this, the Labor Party is so profoundly f - - - ed that it is completely untrue to say that they are not worthy of the same level of scorn as the Liberal Party. I have trouble telling the difference between them.
"Tony Abbott was an effective opposition leader because he was such a f - - - wit, right, but Anthony Albanese is also a f - - - - wit so you'd think that should result in him being a good opposition leader, but it doesn't.
"At the beginning of the year it seemed an almost dead certainty that we'd be living a socialist paradise under Bill Shorten. How wrong we were."
The Chaser and The Shovel Annual 2019, Newcastle City Hall, November 21. Tickets are on sale now.
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