There’s a new late-night TV act that leaves Leno, Letterman, Conan and certainly Vizard for dead; a comedy duo unmatched, dare we say, since the glory days of Laurel and Hardy. It’s the Clive and Tony show.

There was Clive Palmer again last night, beaming in from sunny Papeete with a lei around his neck — “Ia ora na from Tahiti Nui,” the big man said, grinning — to continue his now regular Lateline chatter with the man he describes as “Australia’s number one journalist”, Tony Jones. Talk about chemistry.

Tony, ever the straight man, rebuffs the praise and tries valiantly to ask the tough questions. But Clive is too busy clowning around. Which seat is he going to run in? “The seat of Kennedy and maybe the seat of Fairfax.” Right, so why Kennedy all of a sudden? “Many polls, they’ve had me as the most popular north Queenslander.” Huh. What happened to taking on Wayne Swan in Lilley? “I listened to what Tony Abbott said. He said, ‘Clive, don’t stand for Lilley. I don’t want you to stand for Lilley.’ And of course I didn’t stand for Lilley because I respect my leader.” Right. So will you toe the LNP line? “I’m prepared to influence the national debate and the debate in the Liberal Party.” Aren’t you just going to buy your way into Parliament? “Can you deny my rights as a citizen of Australia just because I’ve been successful in life, it hasn’t been my fault.” No, I suppose not.

Then there was this claim: “I know that Tony Abbott said some things about door knocking being important and it is. I’ve door knocked on more than four million doors since 1969.” We reckon he would have had to hit 191 doors a day, 365 days a year, to amass that tally.

Comedy gold.

There’s only one thing better than the Clive and Tony show — the delicious prospect of Palmer taking on Kennedy King Bob Katter at the next election. We can’t wait.

Peter Fray

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