Australia may not have its own Jon Stewart, John Oliver, Stephen Colbert or anyone besides The Chaser to lead the charge for political satire, but on the world wide web, humour about news and current affairs is alive and well… and very, very strange.
Enter the world of @Kevin2000, @DeptOfAustralia, Simpsons Against The Liberals, Liberals Against The Simpsons, and Simpsons Against The Liberals Against Simpsons Against The Liberals
The first jump down the rabbithole into the satire metaverse is Kevin 2000, a Twitter account that lives in a slightly warped Australian political environment where the spelling is creative and Kevin Rudd is still king, and it’s all thanks to Seinfeld.
@ModernSeinfeld is a popular yet rarely humorous Twitter account where its creator imagines how episodes of the sitcom juggernaut might look in the modern day; “Elaine’s negative Yelp review goes viral”; “Jerry’s gf won’t stop talking about her selfies.” In response, @Seinfeld2000 arrived, parodying the parody of Seinfeld with poorly spelt ideas; “George buys a laser disk player from krame but accidentaly puts milk in it”; “Snoop Dogg change name to Snoop Nazi”
Kevin2000 is the inevitable Australian political response to @seinfeld2000… well, it wasn’t inevitable, but someone is doing it anyway, creating a world where besties Craig Emerson and Tim Mathieson send each other Snapchats, ‘Jolya’ Gillard keeps Tim under the thumb, and Anthony ‘Ablo’ Albanese is an unstoppable eating machine.
Some of the updates are niche, requiring a pretty decent understanding of what is happening in the day’s news (Toney Abert make YouTube video private wish John Paul George and Ringo good luck at World Cup), others are just laugh out loud funny (Mark Latam run out of chocolate Quik he throw fridge out kitchen window)
The account is almost political cartoon-ish in its exaggeration of politicians traits, mannerisms and appearances – Joe Hockey’s greatest love affair is with a kebab, Tony Abbott lies his way around the world, Bill Shorten relaxes in the wings – but journalists, TV hosts and others are also in the firing line with Andrew Bolt, Chris Kenny and #qanda all popping up regularly.
Adding quotes on the bottom of standard photographs is no new innovation, but @DeptofAust is in a league of its own.
Sourcing pics of the day from newspapers and news sites, the managers behind this Twitter account skewer all and sundry, from the more ridiculous staged photo ops – Abbott gingerly poking his tongue at an ice cream with his “not bad looking daughters” in the background, Chris Pyne reading to school kids, Abbott posing with whatever military hardware he can find – to giving some belly laugh-inducing captions on mundane shots of question time in parliament.
Unfair? Possibly. Totally out of context? Definitely. Funny? Pollies set themselves up for ridicule with some ridiculous photo ops, so fair shake of the sauce bottle mate, this is pretty great.
SIMPSONS AGAINST THE LIBERALS (and so on)
This is where it gets great. The Simpsons, now in year 25, manages to be transmogrified from fictional small-town America to modern day Australia through some creative captioning, a fair bit of lateral thinking and artistic license, and a very limited Photoshop/Microsoft Paint image editing by Simpsons Against The Liberals.
Abbott variously becomes Mr Burns, Bart or Homer; Hockey is often resigned to his sidekick, as Milhouse or Smithers.
Classic scenes and episodes take on new life when transported to #auspol – most effectively, the ‘Bart vs Australia’ episode, but also Mr Burns singing “Let’s All Go To The Lobby,” the ‘Homer Bad Man’ episode, and the “Nobody Likes Milhouse!” classic.
Simpsons Against The Liberals started in mid-May, but soon after a Liberals Against The Simpsons page arrived – a proper response? Or another layer in the meta-ness? The memes are lame, the jokes are bad, and the fonts are Comic Sans but nevertheless, a Simpsons agains the liberals against simpsons against the liberals has since arrived, turning the whole thing into a giant teetering Jenga tower of Simpsons screen caps and political jokes.
We’re still waiting on our Daily Show or Colbert Report, but until then, we’ve got poorly-spelt Twitter accounts and captioned photos to keep the laughs coming.