Culture

Highlights From The First ‘Junkee Take On’: Dangerous Laughs

The first panel in our regular series featured Aamer Rahman, Veronica Milsom, Adam Brereton and Zoe Coombs Marr.

On Tuesday February 10, Junkee hosted the inaugural Junkee Take On: a brand new regular panel series filmed at Sydney’s Giant Dwarf Theatre, where thinkers, writers and creators get stuck into an issue across pop culture, politics and beyond.

Our first event was a heady one: Dangerous Laughs. How far is too far in comedy and satire? How soon is too soon? Where’s the line, and who gets to decide?

The panel was filled by a variety of voices from the world of comedy and commentary. Stand-up comic Aamer Rahman, who you might know from Fear of a Brown Planet; triple j host and Mad As Hell guest Veronica Milsom; the opinion editor of Guardian Australia, Adam Brereton; and playwright, comedian and performer Zoe Coombs Marr. Moderated by Junkee’s editor Steph Harmon, the panellists were pushed and pulled through a variety of curly questions, covering the value of comedy that shocks and offends; the state of political satire in Australia; race, religion and Charlie Hebdo; rape jokes, sexism, and more.

Stay tuned for the announcement of our next panel, which will be held on Tuesday April 28; in the mean-time, here are some highlights from the first Junkee Take On.

On Women In Comedy, Sexism And Rape Jokes


In July 2012, US comedian Daniel Tosh started trending on Twitter, after an audience member at one of his stand-up shows wrote a blog post recounting “some very generalising, declarative statements about rape jokes always being funny”. From the crowd, she yelled out “Actually, rape jokes are never funny!”, and Tosh paused for a moment, before coming back with: “Wouldn’t it be funny if that girl got raped by like, five guys right now?”

The incident sparked a global debate about the place of rape jokes in comedy. The Take On discussed how women are perceived in stand-up and beyond.


On Louis CK, Joan Rivers, And The Value Of Comedy That Offends


After discussing the no-holds-barred comedy of Louis CK, the panel watched a controversial clip from Joan Rivers’ stand-up, and talked through their reactions to it.

Clip credit: Joan Rivers: A Piece Of Work (2010)


On Charlie Hebdo, Free Speech, And Hate Speech


The fatal attack on the Charlie Hebdo offices in January brought with them a global conversation about the nature of free speech and hate speech, and the grey area that can lie between. The panel talked through the representation of race and religion in satire, and their responses to the #JeSuisCharlie movement.


On Political Satire In Australia


Australia has a rich history of political satire, but are we doing enough to tackle the current state of affairs?

On Black Comedy, And Chris Lilley


The panel looks at two very different examples of race portrayal in Australian comedy.

Clip credits: Angry Boys (ABC, 2010); (ABC, 2014)


On Comedy Regrets


The panel was asked for moments they wish they could take back. Adam Brereton’s story was pretty much the best.



Filmed by Tim Pass and Henry Stone, and edited by Vincent Rommelaere. Feature image by Yaya Stempler.

With many thanks to our event producer Lex Hirst, and the excellent team at Giant Dwarf Sydney.