WHY I’M AN OPTIMIST
Charlie Pickering had to take a risk. The 38-year-old comedian felt stifled on The Project and left Channel 10’s current affairs program in April 2014.
A year later he was back on the ABC with his own news satire show The Weekly — a sort of antipodean version of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.
The risk has paid off with The Weekly gaining a dedicated following and a recent AACTA Award for Best Light Entertainment Television Series.
Now it is time for Pickering to review the past 12 months’ news events on The Yearly.
What has been the biggest challenge moving from The
Project to hosting your own show? Getting used to life without seeing Pete Helliar and Carrie Bickmore every day. Aside from that, I’d say the pressure is different. We have an extraordinary team making The Weekly, but if something doesn’t go well it’s on my shoulders.
A lot of tragic events have happened this year. How do you tackle those topics? The saying the “comedy = tragedy + time” is very true. Laughter has always been the best coping mechanism that humans have ever evolved. We just have to be careful that we are never laughing at anyone who doesn’t deserve it.
You’ve become a dad in the past year. How has that changed you? I spend a lot more time in sandpits. It has also made me acutely aware of how much more time I had to do things before and how I will never have that much time on my hands again until I retire! It’s also made me appreciate family in a different way.
What is the place of satire in commenting on controversial issues? Laughter has always been an effective way of keeping the powerful in check. Often a joke can get at the truth of a matter better than a comment or an editorial and it will often find a more receptive audience. And the more powerful a politician or aristocrat, the riper they are for satire. Are you an optimist or pessimist? I’ve always been an optimist and will continue to be. We humans are pretty incredible animals,We’ve come a long way and made some incredible things. There’s evil in the world, sure. But evil has never been capable of creating anything; only destruction. And I’ve got to believe the creativity of good people will win in the end.
THE YEARLY, ABC, WEDNESDAY, 8.30PM
Charlie Pickering has been spending more time in sand pits since becoming a father.