Hey Hey sketch dubbed 'racist'

The Hey Hey! It's Saturday reunion is at the centre of a furore after a Red Faces sketch backfired.

The sketch saw six men impersonating Michael Jackson and the Jackson Five with their faces painted black singing "Can You Feel It?". As part of the show's nostalgia, the act had been performed on the show during its original run.

In 2009, it has attracted a much different reaction.

Sitting on the panel was visiting New Orleans musician Harry Connick Jr, who took issue with the performance.

A shocked Connick Jr scored the act 0 and said, "Man if they turned up lookin’ like that in the United States..."

“You’re right actually,” replied Daryl Somers.

“It would be like Hey Hey, there's no more show,” said Connick Jr.

Later in the show Somers apologised to Connick Jr.

"It didn't occur to me afterwards. I think we may have offended you with that act,” said Somers. "And I deeply apologise on behalf of all of us. I know that your countrymen ... that’s an insult to have a black face routine. So I do apologise to you."

"Thanks Daryl," replied Harry Connick Jr "and I just want to say on behalf of my country, I know it was done humorously, but we've spent so much time trying not to make black people look like buffoons, that when we see something like that we take it really to heart. And I know it was in good fun and the last thing I want to do is to take this show to a down level, because you know how much I love this show and this country ... I feel like I'm at home here.

"If I knew it was going to be part of the show I definitely wouldn't have done it," he said.

While many viewers have enjoyed the nostalgic return of Hey Hey others insist its humour is dated and blokey.

Meanwhile, US media is already reacting to the sketch, after videos have popped up on YouTube.


New York Magazine called it "pretty awful".

Defamer said: "So, in 20 years, we've gone from this offensive form of comedy being wildly popular to being still popular with the masses, even though some people know better. In America, blackface is one of those things that you can only show if you're talking about how awful it is because, well, it is pretty awful."

Chicago Now added: "Shame on the host and the other judges for trying to act like this performance was acceptable in any part of the world. I seriously had to look at the calendar to see if I had somehow gone on a really bad time travel a la HG Wells."

Even in the UK The Guardian noted, "Seemingly oblivious to the point being made, the host cheerily points out that this is a comeback of sorts -- the Jackson Jive in fact performed this act on the show 20 years ago."

Hey Hey! It's Saturday's second reunion rated 2.3m viewers -- more than the first.

What did you think of the Jackson Jive sketch? Comment below or discuss it in the Hey Hey forum -- and vote in the poll!

Comments (19)
Submit
Sort: Latest | Popular
Oct 13, 2009
Have the poor, mistreated, downtrodden black American people failed to point out that they are the most racist people on this earth!! What about black only beauty pageants and the send up that Harry Connick Jn himself done in 1996 of a black man of god. Whoopi and the rest of those people who look for any opportunity to promote themselves, should fix their own back yard before joining the myriad of miss- informed idiots. Instead of calling Australia a racist country just because Harry Connick Jn, who was paid to appear on Hey Hey, knowing what was on the show's itinerary, was "upset" at the Jackson jive skit. The sooner Harry goes back to his country, the better!
Reply
Flag
Oct 12, 2009
Harry proved one thing. He is a dickhead.
Reply
Flag
Oct 11, 2009
A nation of hypocrites - that's the USA. Being told we are racist by the white Americans is the equivalent of being lectured to on financial integrity and ethics by Enron executives.
Checkout the hit US comedy "30 Rock", Season 1, Episode 18. African American Tracy Morgan's character Tracy Jordan does a skit as Thomas Jefferson in ......wait for it...... WHITEFACE.
America laughed. So it seems that because of their national guilt for their horrendous treatment of the African Americans - the world now has to suffer their evangelistic screeching and moral outrage. As I said - HYPOCRITES.
Reply
Flag
Oct 11, 2009
i think that the way we are scared to do anything that might bee deemed racist is counter productive to the cause. Read what i think about it, you might agree http://davetharave.blogspot.com/
Reply
Flag
Oct 10, 2009
I can honestly say to Harry, you may have thought that we insulted you, but in one sweet shot you insulted our whole country.



This is such an overreaction considering the intent of the act.
Reply
Flag
Oct 10, 2009
add a comment
Reply
Flag
Oct 10, 2009
People are seriously overreacting.
Have you read some of the comments on things like youtube, we Australians are being called things like racist.
It gets worse then that… there are comments like we are all racist wanker, pricks and are country is a dump.
Seriously. that skit wasn’t to offend people. Why can’t people understand that it wasn’t us that did it…
There are plenty of things on American TV that we would/could be offended by, but you don’t see many of us causing a riot over it because most of us know that it wasn’t exactly them who broadcasted it. I just wish people would have a think before saying those offensive things.
Reply
Flag
Oct 09, 2009
Oh My God! It is a JOKE!!! Get over it, it's not suppose to be a racist thing, it is just suppose to be a stupid joke!!! Move on!!
Reply
Flag
Oct 09, 2009
Im sick to death of racism controversy. We are all humans, perhaps if people ignore all the racist jargon and get on with being the human race we will all be better off. Get over it all, accept the joke for what it was, a send up of their earlier routine. Grow Up World, move forward, stop looking back at the stupidity of our past as a race. Live together in harmony. Ps it might help if hollywood stopped making racist movies too. Any movie with anything remotley racist should be banned immediatley, as most of the world seems to learn how to behave via the media.
Reply
Flag
Oct 09, 2009
does the panel of the view realise that the skit was performed by indian nationals and not aussies
Reply
Flag
Oct 09, 2009
hi i would just like 2 say in a nice way that we are not racist and yes there might be people who are just like your country.THINGS HAVE CHANGED ALOT and thats what we need 2 learn i am only 21yr old and have been right around Australia and we are not racist, we are the most excepting there is, when our goverment said sorry 2 our people most of australia said "thank god" "its about time" because 4 most of us we had nothing 2do with the way they where treated and had wished it never happen, all those years ago and 4 the people who did they where wrong!what im trying 2 say is that we dont have the same problem u have in the U.S black or white we are over it and we all live 2gether just fine never better, i dont understand why the whole world has 2 make this so hard for everyone 2 move on, yes u harry, i hope next week we see an aborignal on stage making fun of us because we are all friends so it dont matter,thankyou.
Reply
Flag
Oct 09, 2009
I think Harry Connick Jr. is full of himself lighten up buddy. Why does everything have to come back to being black. Even Michael Jackson said Black or White its alright. I don't look Abama as being black or white just as the president of the United States. It was so good to have a laugh. People are getting tooooo ridiculous. Go Jackson Jive. I am sure Michael Jacson would have had a laugh at it also.
Reply
Flag
Oct 09, 2009
to all those who are commenting on us supposed "racist aussies" come live here with some of the things we do. we are not racist, as racism is a one way discrimination, i have been called every white so and so under the sun in the town i live, i have them steal things daily and spit at throw things at and threaten people around me. i do not judge by colour i judge by behaviour. i cant call them black anything but they roam streets calling us white s***s everyday. the government hand them their life on a platter while we work 50 hour weeks to try and own half what they are handed. dont give me stolen generation bull**** from other countries especially americans whose cops belt up your african americans on a daily basis. how dare harry connick and certain hosts of the view call us all racist when they themselves have the prjudice of looking down on others believing they are better. thats discrimination and prejudice by labelling us all the same especially on a topic you know nothing about. keep your yankee ways in your own country and we will keep our aussie ways here. harry connick jnr hates our we ways.. we hate him win win stay away
More+
Reply
Flag
Oct 09, 2009
Myabe its different because Michael Jackson isn't alive anymore but I think some of these people really need to get over it! Was there this same 'outrage' 20 years ago when the 'act' was originally done on Red Faces?!
Reply
Flag
Oct 09, 2009
Piperpruelover4, going by your name you were on the wrong station you should have been on sbs! If you didn't like the show the first time why then did you watch it this time. It's people like you that just like to cause problems, I mean who in their right mind would watch something they don't like. Go and live in America with Harry it seems your humor is where there's is, .........? True Ausie
Mandy Hazelhurst
Reply
Flag
Oct 09, 2009
My score for Harry is - 10, don't score highly on racist people or trouble makers.Go home Harry!

Unhappy Ausie
Mandy Hazelhurst.
Reply
Flag
Oct 09, 2009
I hope Harry has left this country, we do not need someone who is, no one! to be stirring up racist trouble. It has taken man to long to come to terms with racism and to stamp it out. It's a shame it's always the Americans that open their mouths and put some one down for what they do really well themselves. The view commented on how we treat the aborigines! how dare they!how about what they did to the indians and to anyone with different color or beliefs,they should hang their heads down and stop picking on everything that the rest of the world does.I want to know how do I sue Harry and his management for calling me racist, it's not on, sick of Americans thinking they are god. Without their money they are the same as me.Harry is the reason racism still stands, Harry is the reason why people get killed, I say send him home boycott anything he's in, we don't want him here. America should look in their own dirty laundry instead of every one elses. I would no way buy or support anyone that creates such a trauma to what the world not just America but the world has tried to stop.Shame on Harry send him back to his own kind. Ausies are good people and I get a bit tired of Americans trying to put us down.America you are the racist, how about Al Jolson " Mammy".I really do want to know how to sue them I am not racist I did not see the skit as racist I saw a tribute. Who is Harry To be threatening us like that, who is he to threaten our ausie show like that! Who the bloody hell is he. Very upset Ausie
Mandy Hazelhurst
More+
Reply
Flag
Oct 08, 2009
I've seen a *lot* of people saying, and entire Facebook and petition sites demanding, that HHIS should be brought back permanently, but I think this incident sort of demonstrates that it's a creature whose time has passed. They also ignore several things:

1. The reason the reunions were so popular is that absence makes the heart grow fonder. It's all reminiscing and fond memories, and a walk down memory lane with the rose coloured Wayfarers on. Daryl and Ernie Carroll themselves will tell you that they got to pull out the same old schtick they were using for 20, eg: the "5 more makes 11" thing, everything from John Blackman, and that weird moment when Ernie forgot an old routine so Ossie looked a bit stumped. It worked years ago, but do we really want the same jokes going around for another 10-20 years? Hey, pull my finger...

2. Seriously, do those guys even still *want* to do it? Ernie is now 80 years old, and he stopped doing Ossie in the last few years of the show. They've moved on, and so has the world. Like any reunion, it might be good to get back together after a decade or two, but do you really mean it when you tell your old high school friends "we should totally get together and do something...."

I don't see why there can't be a show like HHIS in 2009, but I do mean *like*, not HHIS itself. Comedy, stunts, variety, performances.... And the thing is, we *do* have a show like HHIS in 2009. It's called Rove. Rove is the new Daryl, Pete is the new Ossie, Corinne, Carrie and the new chick are the Jacki, Livinia, etc,
More+
Reply
Flag
Oct 08, 2009
Hey Hey It's Saturday should never have been brought back, it wasn't even good the first time around.
Reply
Flag

Like TV.com on Facebook