Culture

100 Of Australia’s Biggest Comedians Are The Latest To Call On Malcolm Turnbull To #LetThemStay

"To us, the idea of deporting vulnerable people seeking asylum to Nauru to face the very things they sought protection from is a really, really bad joke."

Though it’s been a dismal past week for dissidents and victims of mandatory offshore detention, the #LetThemStay campaign has continued to gain momentum. After no less than six state premiers and chief ministers clambered over the top of each other on the weekend to declare they would take in a group of refugees waiting to be sent back to Nauru, a group of 100 prominent Australian comedians have now joined the protest.

In an open letter originally published on BuzzFeed, the comedy giants — who include Adam Hills, Fiona O’Loughlin, Judith Lucy, Nazeem Hussain and Tripod — have pleaded with the government to let the 267 asylum seekers remain in Australia. Written quite brilliantly from the perspective of “professional dickheads” who have “decades of experience in getting away with making people laugh and acting like it’s a respectable living”, they gave a detailed description of “bombing” (the comedy term for delivering a catastrophically unfunny joke). It’s from there that the letter really takes shape.

“To us, the idea of deporting vulnerable people seeking asylum to Nauru to face the very things they sought protection from is a really, really bad joke,” it said. “We understand that the recent decision by the High Court technically makes this sort of thing legal, but that doesn’t mean it’s worth pursuing. Other things that are legal include smoking and wearing Crocs.

“Come on, bros: we’re talking about 37 babies here. You politicians are supposed to kiss babies, not deport them.”

Tom Ballard, who organised the letter, told Junkee he reached out to the 100 comedians in an effort to “help keep the #LetThemStay campaign kicking along” after he got “hella angry” researching material for his upcoming show at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. ‘Boundless Plains To Share’ will take a comedic, albeit probably utterly soul-destroying, look at “Australia’s fucked up immigration situation”.

Here’s the full letter to the government below:

Dear Rich White Men Who Are In Charge Of Things,

We the undersigned are professional dickheads. Between us, we have decades of experience in getting away with making people laugh and acting like it’s a respectable living. We say swears and we talk about genitals and farts and Facebook and first world problems and we wear silly costumes and shout our opinions at drunken hecklers in pubs and bars and tents across this great nation.

We ain’t no high-falutin’ city lawyers. We don’t know heaps about the constitution or the intricate details of the Migration Act or international conventions on human rights.
Indeed, many of us often fail to use the English words good and stuff.

But we know when something isn’t funny. At one time or another we’ve all delivered a line that we think is SOLID GOLD, only to be met with deafening silence. This is known as “bombing” or “comic death”. It is the worst possible experience for a comedian. Bombing elicits a sudden and powerful sensation of overwhelming dread and shame. It immediately compels you to reconsider all of your life choices and makes you want to go home and curl up into a little ball and nuzzle a bottle of wine and cry.

To us, the idea of deporting vulnerable people seeking asylum to Nauru to face the very things they sought protection from is a really, really bad joke. Like, no good. At all. We understand that the recent decision by the High Court technically makes this sort of thing legal, but that doesn’t mean it’s worth pursuing. Other things that are legal include smoking and wearing Crocs.

Come on, bros: we’re talking about 37 babies here. You politicians are supposed to kiss babies, not deport them.

As people who wear our hearts on our sleeve and who are often cynical about most things, we’re appealing to your decency and your humanity and asking you to let these people remain in Australia. Here in the community they can receive the support they need, begin to rebuild their lives and hey, maybe even come on down to a comedy show to laugh their cares away.

Yes, it is a super sticky area of public policy. But even we professional dickheads can see this isn’t the way to go about it.

Trust us, Prime Minister Turnbull and Minister Dutton – there’s nothing funny about this shemozzle.
Please get to work on some new material ASAP.

We say: #LetThemStay.

The very funny, not-garbage people who all signed the letter are:

Adam Hills, Adam Richard, Adrienne Truscott, Alice Fraser, Andy Matthews, Anne Edmonds, Asher Treleaven, Alan Brough, Bart Freebairn, Becky Lucas, Ben Jenkins, Ben Lomas, Cam Knight, Carlo Ritchie, Celia Pacquola, Claire Hooper, Chris Taylor, Corey White, Craig Quartermaine, Damian Callinan, Damien Power, Daniel Connell, Daniel Townes, Danny McGinlay, Dave Callan, Dave Thornton, David Quirk, Demi Lardner, Denis Carnahan, Denise Scott, Dilruk Jayasinha, Em Rusciano, Felicity Ward, Fiona O’Loughlin, Frenchy, Geraldine Hickey, Geraldine Quinn, Gypsy Wood, Hannah Gadsby, Ivan Aristeguieta, Jennifer Wong, Jon Bennett, Josh Earl, Judith Lucy, Justin Hamilton, Khaled Khalafalla, Lana Schwarz, Laura Davis, Lawrence Mooney, Lehmo, Luke Heggie, Luke McGregor, Madeleine Culp, Marty Fields, Melinda Buttle, Meshel Laurie, Michael Connell, Michael Hing, Michael Williams, Nath Valvo, Nazeem Hussain, Nellie White, Nelly Thomas, Nick Capper, Nick Cody, Oliver Clark, Penny Greenhalgh, Rob Hunter, Rod Quantock OAM, Rhys Nicholson, Ryan Coffey, Sam Simmons, Sean Woodland, Scott Brennan, Sami Shah, Scott Dooley, Simon Kennedy, Steen Raskopoulos, Smart Casual (Nick & Ben Mattick), Steve Vizard, Suren Jayemanne, Susie Youssef, Sammy J & Randy, Terri Psiakis, Tien Tran, Tim “Rosso” Ross, Toby Halligan, Tom Ballard, Tommy Dassalo, Tommy Dean, Tommy Little, Tony Martin, Tripod (Scott Edgar, Steven Gates & Simon Hall), Umit Bali, Wes Snelling, Xavier Michelides.

Story via BuzzFeed.

Feature image via Token Publicity.