John Clarke‘s untimely passing a little under two weeks ago left an enormous hole in the Australian comedy industry. The outpouring of emotion that followed exemplified how truly beloved and respected he was – arguably the greatest political satirist the country has ever seen.
It’s no secret that Clarke worked tirelessly on material right up until his death; a new episode of ‘Clarke & Dawe‘ aired a mere handful of days prior to his passing on April 9th.
Today, the ABC has released the final episode Clarke ever worked on with long-time partner and collaborator Bryan Dawe.
The until-now unseen episode was filmed on April 5th, and features both Clarke and Dawe in typically staggeringly good form, cutting to the core of the ridiculousness of political buzzterms like “fake news,” and “alternative facts,” while somehow also operating under the guise of an NBN official dealing with the service’s poor delivery.
Clarke’s writing process always involved crafting two episodes per week, filming both, and then deciding which of the two would go to air. The one released by the ABC today represents the one that didn’t make it to air, but it’s still spectacularly good by any measure of success.
Clarke, as the NBN employee, discusses neologisms, and the ensuing back and forth is peak, pure, uncut Clarke & Dawe at their finest:
“A neologism, Bryan, is simply a term, or a word, or a phrase which has come into the language fairly recently.”
“Well, 100 years ago the term psychology was very, very new.”
“Is there a modern example?”
“A modern example from social media would be say something like Brangelina.”
And then even further:
“What is ‘fake news’?”
“Fake news, Bryan – fake is fraudulent – so news that’s not actually news.”
“Correct. What does news actually mean?”
“Well, news would be news that is really news.”
“News is news according to whom?”
“Yeah good question, Bryan; I’ve got no idea.”
“Correct. What are alternative facts.”
“Alternative facts are facts other than the facts.”
“Facts other than what facts?”
“Facts other than the facts they’re alternative to, Bryan.”
“Well, can you give me an example there?”
“Well if it’s a fact that the earth’s atmosphere is warming due to CO2 emissions, the fact that that’s not happening would be an alternative fact.”
“No, I’m sorry that’s not right. If it’s not a fact at all it’s not an alternative fact.”
“Yes it is.”
You can watch the full and final episode – which has been posted with permission of Clarke’s family and Bryan Dawe – over at the ABC website here.
Oh man, we are not going to see anyone quite like John Clarke for a long, long time.
An infinitely brilliant man, and an infinitely brilliant talent. Rest easy, John. Thank you.