Culture

Chris Lilley’s Got A New Show, And Looks Like It’s Coming With A Pretty Controversial Character

The character's wearing a big afro wig.

Chris Lilley

Chris Lilley, the Aussie comedian known for Summer Heights High and Ja’mie: Private School Girl is back: and some pics have been taken on set of him dressed up as what looks like will be a pretty controversial character.

The pictures were taken as Lilley films a Netflix-produced 10 episode series. We know very little about the show — but given some of the controversies in Lilley’s past, people are wondering how far Lilley will go.

It looks like Lilley has put himself in a big afro wig and an African-themed dress.

The only other detail we know so far from northern NSW film set is that a furniture store in Murwillumbah has been renamed “MyDick” for the shoot.

Lilley is also known for 2014 TV show Jonah from Tonga, where he used blackface to portray the lead character. After protests, New Zealand’s Maori TV network refused to broadcast the show.

Lilley also used blackface when in character as rapper S.mouse in Angry Boys. Last year, Lilley generated controversy when a clip of that character rapping a song about an Indigenous child who was killed by a truck. It had a pretty confronting name, and came to light just a week after a white criminal was given three years in prison for running down and killing Indigenous teenager Elijah Doughty.

Patrick Marlborough wrote a piece for Junkee which explained why white comedians using blackface is such a big issue. In it, he writes:

“In Australia, minstrelsy of indigenous peoples cannot be separated from centuries of violent colonial policy. Jonah is the happy savage, the Uncle Tom, the Uncle Remus, Amos and Andy, and the ‘empathic depiction’ of acceptable post-colonial blackness. He is a bizarre character for a middle-aged white man to play for many reasons, but at the root of it is the violence that the character is symptomatic of, and permits.”

“Watch Chris Lilley’s work with a friend who is a person of colour. Watch Jonah with a Tongan friend, S. Mouse with a black friend, Ricky Wong with an Asian friend, Mr. G with a gay friend, and stew in the tension that rises up between you. Heck, do as I did recently and re-watch Ja’mie with a 13-year-old girl, and watch her cringe as she says, “this guy is kinda a perve” as Lilley attempts to approximate her body.”

You can check out the full piece here.