WE squirmed with glee at a crotch-scratching, red-wine dribbling Sir Les Patterson. We cheered on a barfing Bazza MacKenzie. And we laughed along with a less-than-delicate Rodney Rude.
But the nation with a reputation for putting the “rude” into crude has been accused of coming over all po-faced after panning US comedian Chris Rock.
Rock, the ’90s star whose Total Blackout five-show Aussie tour might have slipped under your radar, was plagued by social media attacks and audience walkouts because it seems his jokes about porn films and his wife’s vagina were just too tasteless — even for Aussies.
Now Sydney funnyman James Smith, the Australian comic who was Rock’s support act, has defended the American and asked what has happened to modern Australia’s sense of humour.
He said Rock’s jokes were too edgy for Aussies, who had become more politically correct and overly-sensitive in recent years.
“All I am going to say is Chris Rock is one of the world’s top three comedians,” he said.
“Up there with Dave Chappelle and Jerry Seinfeld.
“I think he is one of the kings, without question.”
Smith was hand-picked by Rock to open during his first Australian tour.
“I think anyone who was offended by any of the jokes must have been aware of the content of the show,” he said.
“Audiences are well warned. So I don’t know how anyone could be shocked and, if they were, then maybe it has more to do with a sensitivity I see in Australian audiences that you don’t see overseas.”
So perhaps you, the readers, should judge whether we Aussies have lost our sense of humour.
Rock’s jokes included being unable to identify a certain part of his wife’s anatomy, all that remained uncharred, if she had died in a house fire, because they hadn’t been having sex.
Another raved about a certain ability Meryl Streep would bring to her performances if she swapped Hollywood for porn acting.
The Saturday Night Live and movie star comedian also told audiences he had done “nigger research” before travelling to a new country and was shocked to discover that “hunting aboriginals” was legal in Australia until 1920.
“Forget the segregation on the buses in America during the ’60s,” Rock’s gag went.
“You guys were hunting aborigines.
“We got nothing on you.”
One audience member during Rock’s Wednesday night Sydney show was overheard yelling: “I want a refund.”
Last year’s star of The Bachelor Australia, Sam Wood, was among those at the show at Homebush and later appeared on afternoon radio where he slammed the performance.
“I love stand-up and appreciate how hard it must be, but last night a quarter of an 8000-large audience left before the halfway mark and I wasn’t far behind them,” he said on KIIS FM’s Drive show.
Paul Hogan in 2015 commented on changing Aussie humour, saying: “It’s still magic, but it’s not as unique as it was, like when I was a kid.
“There was a spirit here that has disappeared a bit, a larrikin spirit, pioneer spirit.’’
Rock’s material also relied on Perth jokes.
“I was just in Perth … Perth,” he deadpanned.
“That shows you how much I need the money.”
Perhaps that shortage of cash is not surprising.
Rock’s last show was in Sydney on Thursday night and yesterday he flew to Auckland for more performances.
Originally published as Chris Rock jokes sink like stone