Get Krack!n was already the funniest show on Australian television before Wednesday night’s finale tore its own premise to pieces. The Kates, McCartney and McLennan, have always targeted themselves as unsparingly as their genre, in the tradition of the two Larrys – Sanders and David – while adding an acidic feminist humour all their own. They even score consistent laughs from their chyron jokes, awkward overlay and irritatingly cheerful production music.
But the decision to get real-life Indigenous actor mates Nakkiah Lui (Black Comedy) and Miranda Tapsell (The Sapphires) to guest-host the final episode, playing upon their public images as an outspoken activist who appears on Q&A and an endearing, popular rom-com specialist respectively, enabled a commentary on race that took Get Krack!n well beyond its usual evisceration of morning television.
It was a watershed moment for the medium, not least when McLennan’s waters broke. Even McCartney and McLennan hosting a show packed with female co-stars broke ground, but this finale was all Lui and Tapsell’s. Unsurprisingly, both contributed to the writing. Tapsell’s advice on how to make it as a black woman in TV – “Be bright. Be breezy. Don’t make a white lady cry. Don’t mention genocide” – was devastating, as she purported to teach Lui how to fake bland geniality instead of challenging the audience with the reality of indigenous lives.
To steal another great joke from the show, Tapsell and Lui changed the face of mainstream Australian TV comedy, simply by starring in an episode of mainstream Australian TV comedy, which just goes to show how low the bar of mainstream Australian TV comedy is.
It was effortlessly hilarious, until it deliberately wasn’t, with the kind of superb one-liners mixed with sharp social commentary that feature in Lui’s own acclaimed plays, and made Hannah Gadsby’s Nanette a global phenomenon. Get Krack!n’s similar blend of comedy and anti-comedy also deserves a global audience. And I won’t spoil it by explaining quite how they did it – not when it’s available free on iView.
But perhaps my favourite gag was the throwaway line that snarkily dismissed one of our best known performers, when a production assistant gave Lui “darker shapewear” that previously belonged to Chris Lilley. No white guys playing Tongan schoolboys here.
We must have more from the Kates, of course, but this episode asked a more important question. Why aren’t there many more Indigenous faces on our screens? And specifically, Lui and Tapsell, all the time? They’re such excellent performers that they nail their parody-presenting in every scene here – surely they’d out-host just about everyone who’s a daily fixture on network television?
In the meantime, we can only hope Tapsell and Lui keep “decolonising this shit” on a regular basis. Sunrise producers, you know who to call.