The day after being roasted by comedian Tom Gleeson, Cairns is fighting back.
The reef-meets-rainforest Queensland city was the focus of a fake travel segment filmed by Gleeson for Wednesday night’s episode of The Weekly with Charlie Pickering.
“Unless you want to visit somewhere with the same weather as a human armpit, don’t come here,” Gleeson warned ABC viewers.
He sledged Cairns as a “tropical s–––hole”, calling it the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef “in the same way that marijuana is a gateway to meth”.
The reef itself – the largest living thing on earth, and normally sacrosanct – copped it as Gleeson tried his hand at snorkelling. “Everything’s f–––ing dead,” he said.
The best thing about Cairns, he joked, is that “flights depart regularly from capital cities all over Australia, but if you’re lucky your plane will be diverted to somewhere much better”.
— Tom Gleeson (@nonstoptom) July 11, 2018
The jokes fell flat for the people of Cairns.
Gleeson was just annoyed that “he couldn’t enjoy the beautiful Far North weather because he’s a ranga”, suggested The Cairns Post in a thundering opinion piece.
The newspaper slammed the comedian’s “sarcastic, sensationalist drivel”, saying it was clear Gleeson had to “scrounge hard for material these days”.
Calling the claims about the reef’s death “tried but wholly untrue codswallop”, the Post bitingly told Gleeson he’s not as funny as The Weekly’s host, Charlie Pickering.
“After all, remember that scraping-of-the-barrel Hard Chat segment that got Grant Denyer a gold Logie for his axed show?” the Post sniped.
The paper also took umbrage at Pickering’s description of Cairns’ “gorgeous” Esplanade lagoon as “the biggest urinal” in town.
Comedian Tom Gleeson has started using his five minutes of fame on @ABCTV show @theweeklytv Weekly to ‘expose’ the “s*&^holes” of Australia….and reckons #Cairns is one of them…
We had something to say about that: https://t.co/ODcOUJJLdY
— Cairns Post (@TheCairnsPost) July 11, 2018
Readers were quick to point out that the very premise of humour may have been lost on Post journalist Alicia Nally – who also appeared unaware that Gleeson has been a known comedian for years when she described him as experiencing “five minutes of fame”.
During his 18-year career as a comedian, Gleeson, 44, has been nominated three times for the the Helpmann Award for Best Comedy Performer and has appeared on The Weekly with Charlie Pickering for three years.
Gleeson was unabashed by the Post’s roast of his skit to the point that he shared it on Twitter.
When in Cairns, he sat down with the ‘”unofficial mayor” and Advance Cairns chairman Trent Twomey, who talked up his town and its attractions but also had a crack at the city’s mayor Bob Manning.
When Gleeson told him Mr Manning was “too gutless” to talk to him, Mr Twomey said, “It is midday, mate. Most granddads have a sleep at midday.”
Whether Mr Twomey knew the skit would take such aim at Cairns when he agreed to participate is unclear.
An Advance Cairns staffer told The New Daily that Mr Twomey, a local pharmacist, is out of the country for a month.
None of the organisation’s other staffers were available for comment.
The New Daily also called the Cairns council for comment.
In its opinion piece, the Post appeared to send a veiled warning that Gleeson might not be welcome back as a visitor, saying he won’t “be booking any more shows” at local entertainment venue the Tanks Arts Centre “anytime soon.”