One of the runaway success stories of Australian television is a subversive comedy show called The Chaser’s War on Everything. This very funny show takes constant potshots at every conceivable social and political norm, often drawing attention to the many stupid and inconsistent things we do. During 2007 the show aired every Wednesday night on ABC TV, and was also podcast via www.abc.net.au/chaser
My son Alex is a huge fan of the Chaser, and one of his favourite sketches was one in which the show’s host, Chris Taylor, rants about how annoying those waiters are that interrupt your meal to ask you if you’d like any cracked pepper. The sketch goes on to look at a variety of interesting situations in which a pepper-toting waiter might interrupt to offer his wares… if you’ve not seen it, here is the clip…
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So the other day I took Linda and the kids for lunch in Coogee. As we strolled down the sidewalk past all the funky little restaurants and bars, both Alex and Kate noticed that the Chaser’s Chris Taylor just happened to be sitting at a window-side table with some friends having a drink. “Dad, that’s the guy from The Chaser!” said Kate excitedly.
We kept walking and ended up sitting at a nice little restaurant a few doors down. Once seated however, my 15 year old son Alex started musing on the idea of how funny it would be for a waiter to offer Chris Taylor cracked pepper. Never one to pass an opportunity to make people laugh, Alex decided to borrow a pepper mill from our restaurant and, you guessed it, go next door to offer Taylor some cracked pepper of his own. I followed him up the street as he wandered into the restaurant with the pepper mill behind his back, walked up to Taylor and interrupted him with “cracked pepper sir?” I was standing on the sidewalk with Kate, intending to capture all this with my mobile phone’s video camera but was laughing so hard all I got to do was watch it unfold. Taylor was a good sport, and just smiled at Alex and said “No thanks”, to which Alex responded with “Are you sure sir?” Perhaps you just had to be there, but it was very funny.
The thing that amazed me the most was to see just how brazen Alex can be when he needs to be. He is normally a pretty quiet and introverted kid, but he had absolutely no trouble wandering up to this well known TV personality and turning the tables on him. I know it’s not exactly a paparazzi moment, but it was pretty funny.
Of course, trying to decide what to include in Alex’s Christmas stocking this year was easy… yes, he got his very own pepper mill. Cracked pepper, Santa?