The Chaser is a satirical media empire which rivals Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation in all fields except power, influence, popularity and profitability.
Founded in 1999 as an independent satirical newspaper produced out of a spare bedroom by editors Charles Firth, Craig Reucassel, Julian Morrow, Dominic Knight (and later joined by the far more talented Andrew Hansen, Chas Licciardello and Chris Taylor) the Chaser team has since gone on to produce Classic™ comedy in just about every corner of Australian media, including print, online, radio, television and Christmas crackers.
Best known for their various ABC TV series’, including CNNNN and The Chaser’s War on Everything, together the team have produced over 15 TV and radio shows, losing a host of comedy awards and lawsuits in the process.
The Chaser are currently involved in a number of active projects, including the production of The Chaser Quarterly, a new series of The Checkout on ABC TV, running the GiantDwarf theatre in Sydney, and answering 500 fan emails a week asking what the extra N in CNNNN was for.
In 2002 and 2003, The Chaser and Andrew Denton produced a series set in the world of the Chaser Nonstop News Network, otherwise known as CNNNN, a satire of cable news channels and Australian television. The second series won the 2004 Most Outstanding Comedy Logie alongside Kath & Kim.
The Chaser’s War On Everything is the team’s best-known series, having screened around the world. It stars Andrew Hansen, Chas Licciardello, Julian Morrow, Craig Reucassel and Julian Morrow, with occasional appearances from Charles Firth and writer Dominic Knight. Filmed in front of a live studio audience, the show consists of a range of sketches, segments and songs, as well as the stunts for which the team is best known. In 2007, the team infiltrated the APEC conference in Sydney, which made headlines around the world.
Having broken ratings records and been showered with awards and praise for their groundbreaking War on Everything series, in 2010 the Chaser team decided it was time for a change of direction with Yes We Canberra, a show that was praised by critics as “revealing a new side to the Chaser” and “certainly not up to the standards of biting satirical wit we have come to expect from the boys.”
Organised to be simulcast on ABC2 alongside the actual royal wedding coverage on the ABC’s main channel, the Chaser’s Royal Wedding Special was fortunately banned at the last minute due to a proclamation from Buckingham Palace, graciously sparing the nation from two hours of improvised comedy.
In a popular and high grossing Hollywood romp, the Chaser take to the silver screen as a middle-American family who are taken on a pan-American roadtrip in an out-sized station wagon by their bumbling father Clark Griswold (Craig Reucassel) who soon learns that their family vacation to Walley World is going to be a lot more trouble than he set out for.
Declaring that they would bring TV to “unexplored new realms” the increasingly creative Chaser Team’s concept of airing a hamster running on a wheel for an hour every week proved a runaway smash hit with audiences, defying early critics’ predictions and gathering the team three AFI awards. A followup season featuring a goldfish swimming in a tank was briefly considered, but stalled due to legal complications related to a similar concept airing on Melbourne’s Channel 31 at the time.
In a show described by fans as “horribly distasteful” and “just plain sick” in 2013 the Chaser broadcast two hours of TV riffing on the speeches at Steve Irwin’s memorial service, paying particular attention to the grieving widow and children. The broadcast was cut by ABC3 halfway through airing due to the high number of complaints, though a limited number of DVD’s are still available for sale from our online store.
Describing any and all places of worship as against his satanist beliefs, in 2014 the Chaser’s Andrew Hanson headed up a three episode special which saw him meet and talk with extremists of varying faiths. Through Andrew’s journey we learn about his many previously unshared views on the state of modern religion, and we trace a journey back through time to the foundation of the Christian Church by a shadowy pagan figue linked to the Russian aristocracy in the year 132. The series famously culminated in Andrew burning down St. Stephen’s Anglican church in Roseville during a Sunday afternoon raffle and bake sale, an action that saw him narrowly avoid a jail sentence for destruction of property and grievous bodily harm. Dominic Knight was not involved in this series due to prior commitments.
In 2016 the Chaser returned to the election special roots with a five episode high concept series in which 150 people all contribute in telling a single joke about a desk.