The following is an excerpt from Best Australian Comedy Writing, out today with Affirm Press. For the second year, editor and comedian Luke Ryan has searched the nation for the best comedy writing – collecting gems that have been published far and wide, and mining new comedy gold from our funniest writers. Featuring memoir, satire, fiction, scripts, sketches, prose and much more from comedy legends and rising stars, this is Best Australian Comedy Writing.

The following originally aired on ABC TV’s 7:30 on 23 December 2015.

Image: The Australian

Image: The Australian

CLARKE: Welcome back, and let’s just bring you up to date with what’s happened here in Canberra, where Menzies won the toss this morning in ideal conditions and elected to bat on what looked like a pretty good batting wicket.

DAWE: Yes, indeed, and they were helped by some pretty ordinary bowling in that first session.

CLARKE: They certainly were, Bryan.

DAWE: We saw a brilliant 126 from Menzies himself. He played beautifully.

CLARKE: In the form of his life. Quite good support from Holt, who unfortunately threw his wicket away.

DAWE: Yes. Shouldn’t have gone out.

CLARKE: No, he should never have gone out. He was on 35, and they might regret that. We then saw a sparkling half-century from Gorton before he was run out.

DAWE: Yes, that was interesting. That looked like Fraser’s call from up here.

CLARKE: It did, Bryan. We’re on a bit of an angle, but there was certainly some confusion. It took the bowlers a while to get rid of Fraser.

DAWE: It wasn’t until they brought Hawke on that Fraser looked in any trouble at all, really.

CLARKE: Yes. Very good spell from Hawke. He troubled all the batsmen.

DAWE: He did. Howard was there for what? Two hours for 7?

CLARKE: Yes, two hours for 7. The tail didn’t wag much and they were all out for 377. So the ALP needed 378 for victory, and what a story this has been. We saw Calwell and Whitlam come out to open, and very first ball Gorton got one to nip back and Calwell was out without playing a shot.

DAWE: And what about Whitlam? What a knock.

CLARKE: Yes, Whitlam. An astonishing performance. I reckon that’ll become a famous innings. Would not be surprised at all if we remember this as a very famous knock indeed.

DAWE: It was magnificent.

CLARKE: He took one of the best bowling attacks ever seen in this country, Bryan, and he carted them all over the ground.

DAWE: He literally took the bowling apart.

CLARKE: He did. He scored his first 50 off 16 deliveries. He got a hundred from 41 balls. I don’t think they knew what to do about him.

DAWE: Controversial dismissal, though.

CLARKE: He was out under very controversial circumstances indeed. Looking to sweep a ball down leg side, Fraser caught the ball and the slips cordon all went up.

DAWE: But there was nothing on Snicko.

CLARKE: I don’t even think it hit his pads, and he was given out. They went upstairs, of course.

DAWE: Upstairs again! They’ve really got to stop doing this.

CLARKE: Umpire Kerr called for drinks at that point.

DAWE: Twice.

CLARKE: And Whitlam was given out. Then we saw Hawke come in, and what a majestic 94 that was.

DAWE: You have to say, great support from Keating.

CLARKE: Oh, very good support from Keating, who got 78 on his own.

DAWE: And then the collapse.

CLARKE: Complete collapse. We saw Beazley go out to a terrible shot.

DAWE: No feet movement whatsoever.

CLARKE: No suggestion of footwork. We saw Crean go out first ball. Latham skittled by the very next delivery without even offering a shot.

DAWE: Howard on a hat-trick.

CLARKE: Then we saw a workmanlike 36 from Rudd, who was run out, then recalled, made 2 more and then was given out to a very good ball from Shorten.

DAWE: Wasn’t it Abbott?

CLARKE: No, if you have a look at the replay it came off Shorten. So we’ve now got Gillard out there on 26 and chasing 377, the ALP are 372 for 9. We’ve got Shorten coming to the wicket now, and Turnbull’s decided to have a bowl himself.

DAWE: This will be interesting. How many do they need?

CLARKE: They need 6 runs from this final over.

DAWE: What’s Abbott doing?

CLARKE: What is Abbott doing? He’s stamping on the ball.

DAWE: Oh no.

CLARKE: This is childish.

DAWE: He won’t give Turnbull the ball. Oh, this is unfortunate.

CLARKE: What a shame. This is not good for cricket. We might have a bit of a delay here, Bryan. What’ll we do?

DAWE: There’s a seagull down at deep fine leg.

CLARKE: So there is. What’s he eating?

DAWE: It looks like a chip.

CLARKE: A seagull. Eating a chip. At deep fine leg. Is that the first time that’s happened?

DAWE: I think that’s the first time that’s happened on this ground.

CLARKE: Jack? Has this happened before?



Liberal Leaders XI

Menzies run out 126
Holt run out 33
Gorton run out 37
McMahon b Whitlam 0
Fraser b Hawke 76
Sneddon c&b Hawke 1
Peacock c Keating b Hawke 3
Hewson c&b Keating 2
Howard b Rudd 45
Abbott ht wit 0
Turnbull not out 44
Extras 10
Total 377

ALP Leaders XI

Caldwell b Gorton 0
Whitlam c Fraser b Barwick 111
Hayden run out 18
Hawke run out 94
Keating b Howard 78
Beazley b Howard 3
Crean 0
Latham 0
Rudd run out 36
Gillard not out 26
Shorten not out 0
Extras 6
372 for 9

ALP requiring 6 runs from the final over for victory. Shorten on strike.

Best Australian Comedy Writing is available now at Readings.