Study remembers satirist John Clarke

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John Morrison Clarke. Photo: Stewart Thorn, 2011.

THE late satirist John Clarke has not received the scholarly attention his cultural contribution deserves, according to the Australasian Humour Studies Network. 

That’s all about to change with the public launch tomorrow (Thursday, August 8) by Clarke’s partner-in-crime Bryan Dawe, in a special issue of “Journal of Comedy Studies”.

The New Zealand-born adopted Australian left behind a satirical legacy that spanned more than four decades and traversed all forms of media and entertainment.

Described by the networks as “a national treasure on both sides of the Tasman”, Clarke wrote, performed, directed and co-produced material for stage, newspapers, radio, television, film and books. His collaborators read like a who’s who of Australian theatre, film and broadcast.

The issue, edited by Jessica Milner Davis and Robert Phiddian, is the first substantial scholarly study of Clarke’s work. Australasian humour scholars illuminate and celebrate many of the key facets of Clarke’s work, in, for instance, Mark Rolfe’s “Is This a Dagg Which I See Before Me?” or Marty Murphy’s “Generic Outlier: John Clarke and ‘The Shabby Suit Crime Comedy’”.

At the launch tomorrow, a panel of contributing authors will speak briefly to the main themes, while Dawe will reflect on his time with Clarke.

“A Celebratory Appraisal of the Late, Great John Clarke”, School of Art and Design Lecture Theatre (1.42) Building 105, 105 Childers Street, ANU, 5.30pm-7.20pm, Thursday, August 8. Free but registration essential to bit.ly/johnclarkeANU

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Helen Musa
“CityNews” arts editor

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