Daryl Somers, you’re it.

For not letting a bit of blackface controversy get in the way of crowing about Hey Hey It’s Wednesday‘s stellar ratings.


Here’s Somers in an interview with a Sky News reporter yesterday outside Sam Chisolm’s 70th birthday party:

SOMERS: I am actually in shock because of the ratings figures. All the other stuff.. controversy… that’s all gone in my mind. We dealt with that last night with Harry who obviously took offence at the act…the Jackson Jive… no offence was ever intended by the guys who did the act and certainly not the show.

People are saying it’s a storm in a teacup… but I have the utmost respect for Harry Connick as an artist and as a person and so I thought if he needed and felt he had to express a view on it, I said Harry, that is fine, it was in the commercial break and I said Harry, do you want me to lead you into it? Do you want to do it at the end of your song or before the song?

And he said [in American accent] ‘Well, Daryl you pick the time’, so I got him over to the desk as you saw, and we dealt with it, and when he was leaving he said, [in American accent] ‘If your show, I gotta come back on and do it again. There’s NOTHING like this show in America.’

SKY REPORTER: “There seems to be a view from some that Connick’s reaction was Political Correctness gone mad..”

SOMERS: “No I just think that it’s the cultural diversity of America and Australia… The boys, who are all highly respected, eminent medical people in Sydney, who were the Jackson Jive… as I said, did not mean anything by it, as I said, they were doing it in tribute to Michael Jackson.

And they did that on the show twenty years ago and they did it a few weeks ago at Sydney University in a review and I heard it went down really well and there was no thought that it would be offending anyone.

But as I said I respect Harry and I think he’s right to have that view. And Harry’s thinking, everything’s put on YouTube nowdays, so it would be seen in America. And I’ve heard  that there’s been a reaction in America, and it’s been put on to YouTube, but I think it’s been blown out of proportion over here of course.

SKY REPORTER: There’s also another view that.. you’ve missed the point and it’s not just Americans..but it’s racism in general… that there are plenty of Australians who would be offended…

SOMERS:  Look if there were any Australians who were offended I certainly apologise on behalf of the show and certainly the Jackson Jive apologise… but look it’s you guys that are gonna run this over a few days and get mileage out of it. For most of Australians I think its a storm in a teacup.

Not to diminish this.. but I’m very excited at the ratings of the show. And I’m sorry to Channel Ten.

View our complete Wankley winners’ archive

Get more Crikey, for less

It’s more than a newsletter. It’s where readers expect more – fearless journalism from a truly independent perspective. We don’t pander to anyone’s party biases. We question everything, explore the uncomfortable and dig deeper.

Join us this week for 50% off a year of Crikey.

Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
50% off