Friday, April 29, 2016

Dame Edna vs Waleed Aly on The Project

So Dame Edna was on The Project, and there seemed to be a weird passive-aggro vibe happening between the fabulous Aussie gigastar and Waleed Aly. More than a few people have been scratching their heads about what this was all about.

In live theatre shows and appearances on the teev, Dame Edna often singles out an individual to cruelly send up. If the target is a sleb, the gags will usually relate strongly to that person's public persona. If he is just a punter, Barry Humphries' character will mostly focus on his general appearance, and what can be gleaned from this in terms of his social background.

But this little episode was different. Though Edna's jibes did get laughs, you couldn't really see where they were coming from. And Aly did nothing to provoke them, too. So, you gotta wonder what their motivation was.

Now, it's risky to play amateur shrink with a satirist's motivations. If there's any complexity to the characters he creates then there will be a whole mess o' them. This definitely applies to Dame Edna Everage. She's been alive, developing, and moving with the times for decades now. She's probably got more psychological layers than some living, breathing people!

So, there's a good chance I've got this wrong. But here's my guess: It's got much to do with the fact that Barry Humphries is a conservative. He's obviously up to speed with Waleed's many smug utterances on Islam, such as terrorism being an "irritant".

I'll be that he would have loved to mock this stuff through his character. And he's certainly not afraid of controversy. He usually savours it, in fact. But given how hysterically the MSM reacts to anything that could be deemed offensive to Muslims, he just couldn't take the risk. So, prior to his appearance he made an inner choice to just not go there.

Still, sitting just near Aly the antipathy bubbled away, and he couldn't stop himself taking a few shots at him. But strangled by self-censorship, he only had poor, cheap, vague options to choose from. Hence the odd, mediocre performance last night.

What do you reckon? Am I close, or was it something else?

1 comment:

  1. Yes, you've summed it up precisely. Humphries has never warmed to smug, self-satisfied types.