The Chaser [Skeptically Tuned (episode 2)]

[Trigger warning: Fuck you!]

Today we are going across the globe to discuss a group of skeptics who many people have not heard of. Though if you are a savvy skeptical Youtuber you know exactly who I’m talking about, unless your name is Brian Dalton. In which have a seat, Brian, I’ll explain.

Ya know that show that you and your friends talk about at drinking skeptically? That show that would be skeptical AND entertaining that people would actually watch; if only they would have the money to keep production value high, and the creative team really understood the issues. Why can’t—like Why can’t they make a show like that? Why not bro? Huh, why not skeptic-dude-bro-turncunt-man-baby-honey-child?!

Well, “that” show—the one that would make skepticism sexy and cool—is the chaser.

The Chaser, it may surprise you to learn, have, in one series or another, been on the air for 12 years. That’s 4 years longer than Bullshit, and 105 more episodes produced than Bad Universe. The chaser have created slick, hip, and funny shows that are dedicated to tackling false claims and yellow journalism.

Now, if you’re looking to watch their entire catalog, available on DVD for you Australians, and here in its entirety on Youtube [http://www.youtube.com/ChaserEpisodes] (if you’re not lucky enough to have them personally send you a DVD. Thanks Chaz!!!), a quick word of warning: If you are not familiar with Australian politics there will be a percentage of the show that leaves you in the dark. After a while I sincerely wished I knew who the hell people like Kevin Rudd, John Howard, Obama, and Julia Gillard are.

The Chaser’s work covers nearly the entire gamut of skepticism from alternative medicine to psychics to media scare mongering to faux journalism to cults to self help propaganda to just reminding us that commercials aren’t real. There is no issue too big, no matter too trivial, and almost no place off limits for these guys. They are the poster boys for guerrilla skepticism. They should live in the hearts and minds of every skeptic who accuses every other skeptic of being an armchair skeptic… Whatever the fuck that means… hold on…

So I put it to you again; if you happen to know of any skeptical organization that gives credit where credit is due tell them to give the Chaser a no spending limit, 0 APR, frequent flyer miles, super duper… Just give them credit, ok, Jesus Christ!

I mean, not only are these guys producing their own brand of badass skepticism, they even produced fellow comedian Lawrence Leung’s Unbelievable; an amazing series that I will get to in the coming weeks.

It must also be said that what puts these guys on the map beyond their dedication to skepticism, and probably what makes their skepticism so potent, is their comedy. Not just the fact that they’re comedians, but the way they do comedy. Their satire is unflinchingly committed. You see, most comedians will break character, most forms of comedy will give a wink, a disclaimer, or god help us a ‘Trigger warning’, but these guys hold fast the entire time; even when they’re part of other people’s programs. They are not asking “will the audience get this joke?” or “will the audience understand that this is in fact a joke?”; they are asking “what is the logical consequence to this line of thinking?”, “What is the absurdest/satirical conclusion to that which we find stupid, silly, redundant, and/or fallacious?”, and “can we play that just as straight as our mainstream media colleagues?” …Who don’t seem to be aware that their profession is a joke.

In a time when some people have decided that certain topics should never be joked about, and that comedy can even harm people, I’m glad that the Chaser is out there to push the envelope, to bring gorilla skepticism to the masses, to do comedy for the sake of comedy. You’re never going to see these titans of satire apologizing for a fucking joke… oh…

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