Most people wouldn’t know how to take a newspaper out on the road. But Clancy Overell and Errol Parker aren’t like most. These two, true blue Aussie blokes are the brainchild behind Australia’s favourite satirical newspaper, The Betoota Advocate. It’s one that shares a few things in common with The Chaser, The Shovel and The Onion. The Betoota Roadshow was a celebration of the newspaper’s humble origins and the paper’s choicest cuts.
If you have read Betoota’s news stories you’ll know that their humour is sarcastic and often as dry as a driza bone. These two blokes sound like typical and traditional rural characters. They even wore their Akubra hats and RM Williams boots to the big smoke and on the Opera House stage. It was a place they jibbed was “Recently cheapened by Racing NSW.” Touché.
The show was divided into two halves to allow punters to get onto the piss – ahem, only the best Betoota Bitter – during the interval. In part one, the boys took us on a journey through the different suburbs of Betoota including the newspaper’s HQ. There were spells around places like: the French Quarter, which is inhabited by elites and lefties and the Flight Path District- populated by the local, migrant Greek and Vietnamese communities. Many of the jokes were like the ones they had published in their news stories and in their debut book. There were also some newer, more topical links to articles, with headings like “Nonno knew the banks no good” in the wake of the Banking Royal Commission.
The Betoota Boys clearly don’t take anything too seriously. They joked at themselves as well as taking pot-shots at all sorts of different things. Some of the jokes landed better than others, with several of these just a veiled excuse for some casual racism and misogyny. The material was proudly politically incorrect and utterly irreverent. You were either with them or against them and if you were in the latter camp you ran the risk of being branded “Un-Australian.”
In the second half the pair turned more political in their content. They used videos from their famous drinking sessions with various politicians. There were also new videos they had filmed with the likes of: Briggs, Hamish Bake, Leigh Sales and Becky Lucas. It was quite a nice, slick presentation for the most part, even if the alleged Skype-call with Rupert Murdoch was obviously a fake. The boys may have fooled Channel 9 with their story about the parking inspector who booked himself, but there was no chance of that happening during the finale.
The Betoota Roadshow was not everyone’s cup of tea or Betootta Bitter tinnie. For those who enjoyed the boy’s blend of cheeky satire, this was a fun night chock full of Aussie truisms. Just like their newspaper, it was topical and brimming with some caustic, social observations and wit. All that’s left is to do is reach into our stubbie holders and toast some Aussie ingenuity.
THREE AND A HALF STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
The reviewer attended the performance on December 1.