Culture

SBS Comedy Is Shutting Down, Long Live SBS Comedy

"Put out your fave Backburner headlines for SBS Comedy."

SBS Comedy

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New week will be the last week of publication for The Backburner, SBS’s comedy news archive. The news is very sad for those of us who have chuckled along to one or two (or 300) SBS Comedy articles.

The vertical was founded by Site Editor Neal Downward with the closure announced in a tweet today by Head Writer James Colley, which received a flood of commiserations in response.

It’s not totally clear why SBS is pulling the Comedy archives, but it’s easy to suspect it has something to do with bureaucratic streamlining; SBS is, after all, a government commodity. It’s a curious situation because, as many on social media are discussing, the site was incredibly popular.

However, the Managing Director of SBS did flag changes to the Comedy and Sexuality verticals at the senate estimates. It’s a disappointing announcement; not only is SBS Comedy a wonderful resource for levity, SBS Sexuality has become a real haven for diverse and essential content.

The official word from SBS is that “the changes being implemented are a part of SBS’s broader digital strategy which is focused on increasing investment in video content”, but that “investment in comedy will continue as we believe satire is important, but it will be managed out of The Feed team and will be predominantly video-led content”.

Still, the news that the written satire is going is particularly disappointing for the Australian satire scene. The more people making fun of stuff the better.

A few of the site’s popular and prolific writers have responded to the site’s closure on Twitter. It seems like a pretty tough time for everyone.

Over the past three years, the site has become a great space for insightful, sharp and clever comedy/satire writing in Australia. The site regularly published the writing of some great local comedy writers, whose work will certainly be missed.

Some of their most popular pieces included the brilliant “Young White Male Decides Australia Day Isn’t Problematic” and Deirdre Fidge’s superlative smashed avo parody “I Stopped Eating Smashed Avocado And Now I Own A Castle“.

To encourage the commiserations, Junkee reached out to some of the site’s most popular writers, asking them to nominate their favourite articles from the archives. I was sent comedy masterworks like, “This ‘Gender Reveal’ Party ‘Went Wrong’ And Accidentally Became Perfect” and “A Thorough Analysis Of Cory Bernardi’s First Attempt At A Meme” and “Man Dehydrates After Discovering Water Is Halal Certified“. Others are sharing some of their favourite pieces publicly via Twitter. RIP, Backburner/SBS Comedy, you bloody ripper! :-( :-( :-(

SBS Comedy’s last day of operations will be next Tuesday, June 13.