White guilt flopped but Okine’s braggadocio worked


2356-matt-okineREVIEW by MORGAN RICHARDS
Two weeks ago, the name Matt Okine meant nothing to me. But I starting seeing a few flyers for his comedy show around town, and then someone told me he was one of the presenters on the Triple J breakfast show. I decided to go along to the performance at Araluen.
I haven’t been an avid listener of the Jays since my late teens. At the risk of sounding old and jaded, I don’t like the most of the garbage that passes for music these days. Bring back the early noughties, I say! (Definitely old and jaded.)
I also dislike the overt politics and moralising that were once confined to a journalism segment called Hack, but, mirroring the slow but steady leftward progress of the ABC, now seem to have spread to the entire station.
Despite my reservations, I was curious. I wanted to see if the mantle of Triple J breakfast radio had been upheld since the halcyon days of Adam Spencer and Wil Anderson.
After a tedious period of sclerotic hip-hop beats before the show, Okine came onstage with a beer. He spent the first ten minutes of his set warming up and setting a relaxed and casual pace. He was dressed to match, in jeans and crumpled blue shirt, sleeves rolled up and tails untucked. He made a few early jokes about Alice Springs’ nightlife. Surprisingly, this was the only mention he made of Alice or the NT during the show.
For the next hour and a quarter, Okine meandered pleasantly through a variety of topics, including: cooking shows, haters on social media, the badness of Mondays and vegan guilt. A common thread through the show was Okine’s well-practised manner of self-deprecating braggadocio, giving us the impression that as a comedian, national radio presenter and sometimes actor he is “living the dream” but also subject to all the dramas, doldrums and occasional absurdities of daily life.
This last point was well illustrated with a long and winding saga involving an old flame with a germ aversion, a soiled five-dollar note found in an alleyway late at night, a mysterious toothpaste thief and the disappearance of Okine’s bedside money tin.
The crowd ate it up, for the most part. There was a noticeable dip in enthusiasm about two thirds through the show, when Okine mentioned supposed racism in Hollywood, took a cheap shot at Michael Caine (including a rather poor impersonation — not a patch on Rob Dryden) and tied in a few jokes and anecdotes he had told earlier into a morality lesson about stereotyping. To my ears, it came across as heavy-handed, trite and presumptive. I suspect I was not alone, because the audience response seemed noticeably muted.
I got the feeling Okine would’ve liked to continue down that path and might have done so if he’d had a better crowd response. I can see how that part of the show would have gone down better in Sydney or Melbourne, where there is a more abundant appetite for freshly served white guilt. (Not that Alice doesn’t have its own small pockets of reliable demand, of course.)
But for the most part, the show was very enjoyable and I had some good laughs. Okine is evidently an experienced and accomplished comedian and was able to make the audience feel relaxed and comfortable while delivering some quality jokes and pithy observations. I’d even consider listening to Triple J breakfast again — if only they’d change the playlist to 2003’s Hottest 100 on shuffle.


  1. The ABC is on a march to the right. Currently it is a mouthpiece for the Federal Liberal Government.
    On national shows like RN Breakfast, Government representatives were given prominence over opposition counterparts by a ratio of three to one during the election campaign.
    During election periods the normal process is to provide equal billing, so the ABC now ignores their own charter to satisfy the Liberal Party.
    Further evidence to this is the near daily appearance of figures from the IPA, which is the Liberal Party’s policy arm.
    Since the years of board stacking by John Howard and intimidation by Malcolm Turnbull as Communications Minister, the ABC has a natural inclination for right wing political correctness.
    Neoliberal economic theories go unchallenged by ABC personalities and those that do, like Sarah Ferguson, get quietly shafted to places they can cause no nuisance.
    Other journalists, like David Ross, are pressured by ABC management to write puff pieces about failing government policy.
    Now they have a former News Limited employee as Chief Executive – the transformation is nearing completion.
    There is no “leftward trajectory” as you casually state. Otherwise, nice review, I had a great time at the show myself.

  2. G’day Russell Guy, be happy to mate. Right wing political correctness includes, but is not limited to:
    • Disavowing any criticism of the military or military practices. Excessive and flagrant Anzackery
    • Censorship of journalists who wish to bring human rights abuses to light.
    • Threat of conviction and imprisonment for whistleblowers.
    • Claiming ownership of the concept of ‘marriage’
    • Using sneering terms like ‘warmist’ to describe scientist engaged in the study of climate change.
    • Framing of issues in black and white terms “with us or against us”.
    • Vague terms like collateral damage to describe the murder of innocent civilians in undeclared war zones.
    This is just a small snapshot of the approved, politically correct mindset the right wing has. The major difference is they have the power and corporate money behind them to enforce this.
    Once again the ABC was pushing this right wing agenda last night with Chris Uhlmann, chief political reporter, placing the blame for the power outage in SA on renewable energy.
    Even when power companies themselves were refuting this.
    Hope this helps. Cheers.

  3. @ Lindsay Ross: Thanks for your examples, Lindsay. At the risk of making a predictable, right wing PC response, I believe marriage is more than a concept.
    Personally speaking, as a member of the Left, inspired by the 60s Cultural Revolution, I became family illiterate for several decades.
    Marriage was considered no more than a concept, which led to much grief. I have since had a change of heart.
    Could you explain your concept of marriage?

  4. At the risk of being politically incorrect, I fully endorse marriage equality.
    All people should be able to have their loving relationships recognised under marriage law. Not just some.
    Sorry if that rocks the boat a little.
    Nice discussing these issues with you. Matt Okine was piss funny.

  5. @ Lindsay Ross: One of the attributes of PC is intolerance of other people’s views.
    So, for instance, ame-sex marriage, or marriage equality as it is now referred to (Global Warming has become Climate Change – another of your examples and an example of how the goalposts shift, as opposed to the time honoured institution of marriage) is the subtext of our respecfful debate.
    A debate used to allow all sides to present their view so that judges could award a winner.
    It’s not marriage or climate change which is considered PC or PInC, but rather the attitudes of those wishing to debate and persuade others of the merit of their view.
    Proposed changes to the Marriage Act are determined by adults.
    The rights of children have been almost entirely overlooked in the debate over changing the gender status of the Marriage Act. This needs a lot more debate.
    Civil unions exist to protect the rights of non-reproductive relationships.
    I am not convinced that the Marriage Act should be changed to accommodate your view that all people should have their loving relationships recognised by marriage.
    Sorry if that is offensive or hurtful of your feelings.


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