By dan

Making climate change sexy…media sexy

This post originally appeared on Mumbrella.

There are some other great articles about what we did at COP 21’s Fossil of the Day.

Buzzfeed’s Meet The People Trolling The Fuck Out Of The Paris Climate Talks”
The Guardian’s Live Blog + “Australia wins ‘fossil of the day’ for Julie Bishop’s coal speech at Paris climate talks”
The Fossil of the Day Award Is the Best Part of the Paris Climate Summit”


There are two phrases that put people to sleep faster than “anthropogenic climate change”, the others are “Look at this picture of my kids” and “I think I have a rash”. For the last couple of weeks I had the challenge to make climate change sexy for the world’s media.


But that was the challenge faced each night by myself and the team from Woody at the COP climate conference in Paris. We were tasked with putting a Fossil Of The Day on stage in the middle of the conference centre. We presented to a live audience of media, conference delegates and bored security a diet jokes, and sketches to entertain and make sense of the negotiations that happened nightly in that conference centre, but with the intent to shame governments who were making complete arses of themselves.

The conundrum of course is that the importance of the COP21 Paris Agreement was inverse to how heinously boring Climate Change is. My job; distil the buckets of bullshit down to manageable bite size nuggets of bullshit.

The COP climate conferences are essentially the Olympics for policy wonks. Every night during the negotiations the members of the Climate Action Network  would be dispatched to observe the talks first hand.  CAN is an organisation of 950 NGOs from 110 countries, they’re full of the most hardened climate literate junkies.

Some of these people had been at the talks for over 20 years, they mostly spoke in English, however the language they speak is cluttered with so many acronyms to the untrained ear it sounds like they’re all learning the alphabet for the first time.

They’d honorably stay up all night, observe negotiations bicker over the bare minimum they’d be willing to do to prevent the end of civilisation, semantics, syntax, and the placement of punctuation. Hollywood has us believe that the end of the world will end with a huge explosion, but if this agreement goes wrong, the world will end with a 23 year long protracted argument about the definition of “differentiation”.

During the CAN Daily meeting, around 300 members gathered to share the intel on the negotiations from the night before, and would nominate who would win the Fossil each day. At this point 30 minutes of debate, arguing, and sometimes tears would ensue. Members would then vote on the merit of the Fossil nomination, a highly tedious democratic process that makes dictatorships look appealing.

I would then have roughly 2 hours for the CAN members to break down the issue for me, point by point, then I would translate it to something a normal person could understand and write 10-15 minutes of jokes to go with it. Writing in Google Docs to allow contributors to chime in at the same time, and with a Slack window open ordering quick turn around graphics from the Woody production team.

We then would then put on a show; try to make it loud, funny and visually interesting, just something big and shiny enough for a tv journalist to turn into a 90 second news package.

And unlike the jokes I’ve cracked throughout the most of my career the effect was immediately tangible. After receiving a fossil on the first day of the COP, Belgium changed their position on signing onto the EU targets after receiving 48 hours of negative media coverage based on the shame of being awarded a Fossil Of The Day.

Argentina received a Fossil for promoting the new ambitious 1.5° target, but at the same time, during that day’s parliament was voting on the nationalisation of coal assets. The vote failed under the pressure from the opposition, after press from the Fossil of The Day reached Buenos Aires, the nationalisation didn’t go through, the coal assets will probably be stranded and the country committed to more aggressive funding for renewables.

Even Saudi Arabia, a country with a press as free as a bird trapped in cage, in quicksand, in a dungeon, received the Fossil of The Day three days in a row. Rumor has it Saudi negotiators got a call from a frustrated King Salman, who basically said “look I’ve been reading BuzzFeed tone it down a notch”. When it comes to the Saudi’s that’s a radical progressive shift in policy.

Very rarely do you get an opportunity to do Kardashian jokes that have such an immediate effect on public policy. The COP is such a walled ecosystem of politics, lobbyists, and NGOs, and “civil society” it’s understandable that the information coming out of it is dense and perplexing, it was an absolute privilege to take that two weeks of bullshit in Paris and make it palatable to audiences around the world.

I once did a gig with Rod Quantock who when asked why he does so many joke about climate change said “because if I don’t, there’ll be nothing else to make jokes about.”

By dan

Certified influencer….

Surprised to find out today that I was name checked in The Age’s Green Guide list of the most influential people in the Australian TV industry.

It was cool to be mentioned as one of The Digital Disruptors along with my friends and peers, Kate McLennan, Kate McCartney, (The Katering Show)  Nick Boshier and Christiaan Van Vuuren (Bondi Hipsters).

To be honest I don’t think we’re as influential as The Age’s Green Guide makes out…. But it’s cool to be on the list with friends who I admire for their creativity and work ethic. It’s an endless hustle and what unifies all of us is the desire to make something great for the digital audience, and the digital audience is us.


“Meanwhile content creators make the shows that tickle their fancy, as Christiaan Van Vuuren and Nick Boshier did with Bondi Hipsters, ditto serial cage-rattler and freelance presenter Dan Ilic, Kate McCartney and Kate McLennan in the cooking-show parody The Katering Show and multi-platform pioneer Nathan Mayfield at Hoodlum. “

By dan

What I’ve learned about publishing internet video while at AJ+ so far…

I’ve been at my gig at AJ+ English for about three months, and I’ve had the opportunity to run at some great stories. Making video for a digital audience is slightly different than if I were crafting comedy for TV. I’ve learned a few things.

  • Start with your biggest laugh first. Generally in TV you gradually build up to your biggest laugh in order to get out to the studio with a fuzzy feeling, or create a sense of narrative over a long period of time. However with online it doesn’t matter. You want your audience to laugh at the top, so they’ll stick with you till the end. If you give them lots of carrot to begin with, they’ll hang round despite varying carrot size. (How was that metaphor?)
  • Big text is your friend. When crafting online content setting the game of the joke within the first 4-5 seconds of the video with text is really important, especially in a Facebook environment where now most of the video is consumed on mobile. This is because Facebook auto plays videos now with the video on mute, so regardless of whether they can hear the sound or not, audiences should be able to stick with your video. Same goes for subtitling all your video content. Basically; MOAR TEXT!
  • Engage: This is a fancy digital marketing word for “talk” if you’re putting out content, talk with your audience, make jokes with them. I love talking with the audience, more often than not they’re funnier than I am, so the comments section it’s a great place to extend the conversation, and build on the jokes. I like the idea that the game is set in the video and the audience can then play with you.
  • Feed The Trolls: If someone is ripping you or your video apart… have a crack at them in a funny way if you can, and you feel justified…why? because it’s fun.
  • Mobile First!: I almost forgot about this one… Consider your audience… and your audience is mostly consuming video on a mobile device.

Join AJ+ through our social feeds FACEBOOK TWITTER MEDIUM INSTAGRAM

Here are some of my favourite pieces I’ve created so far:

Apple Car:

My Country’s Not That Racist But…. Australia


The best worst Fox News response to Charlie Hebdo

Who is sucking dry California without a permit?

HSBC’s top tax tips

GreekStarter – Greece Launches a KickStarter to pay off their debt

A Knight sells the new Holy War to Conservatives at CPAC

How big are the NFL’s Balls? I visit the Super Bowl media day to ask tough questions.

By dan

That’s a wrap for A Rational Fear (for now)

Over the last three years, myself and a motley crew of comedians have created a powerhouse brand of satirical comedy. It started off as a pub show in Kings Cross; where it quickly went from being a podcast, to Sydney radio program, to a national radio program, to selling out the opera house, to raising crowd funding $50000 for a three month digital video season, to forming a partnership with the Guardian Australia, and broadcast segments on SBS.

It’s been a real joy to created and work on. Giving new and brilliant talent a platform and a voice had been the most rewarding part.

A Rational Fear will now fallow for a few months until it returns in 2015.

Here are some great moments:


A Rational Fear Pozible Report Back Video

Kids at a music festival solve big problems

Make it racist.

You’ll Fracking Love it.

A Rational Fear Live #17

Blokes Questions

laws that don’t apply to Beragaroo:

By dan

In Australia “Stupid Funny” Is Illegal

Next year I will officially have been a “comedian” for ten
years and in that time I have found there is a rarer or more simple
comedy treat than swapping the faces of two people in a photo,
especially if they’re of mix genre or race or whatever. The more
diverse the better. This is the cleanest and simplest negation. The
fundamental building block of a joke. My favourite of recent times
was a promotional still for the James Bond film Skyfall. Judi
Dench’s sour intensity was swapped with Daniel Craig’s blue steel
of avant garde perplexity. Hilarity ensues. People emailed it,
posted it, shared it, zipped, unzipped it, liked it, tweeted it,
and perhaps even maybe… just maybe…Google+ed it. Why? Because
that sh*t cray. It’s a man dressed as a woman, and a woman dressed
as a man. Get it? There’s nothing to “get” really. It’s pure
incongruence, much like a dog on a skateboard, or a newsreader
holding a ream of copy paper during a broadcast. It’s not
satirical. It doesn’t “say” anything in particular. It’s just
funny. Because it is. As my friend Andrew says there is nothing
funnier than a man in a dress. Unfortunately for those who dislike
The Footy Show, technically Andrew is right. That’s why some people
watch in vain to see the slighted sliver of ball sack from the
rising edge of a man in a mini skirt. Why not? Strangely it’s the
most cerebral thing on that program. Luckily for the creator of
that Bond image, its origin was probably from outside of Australia.
Most likely from one of the creative petri dish forums of the
internet, like a Reddit, a 4Chan, a Something Awful or something
else where like-minded creative people spend their days mashing up
culture to tell stories and mostly make each other laugh. And
sometimes, when the laughs are good enough, we mere mainstream
browser bashers get a tatse of the humour that rises to the top.
Like in a good writer’s room of a TV show, it’s the battle of ideas
in these forums that generates some of the funniest bits of humour
on the net. There’s no profit motive, there’s no business plan,
there’s only ideas designed to titillate an audience of keyboard
culture makers. The origin isn’t important for no other reason than
the complexity of the copyright laws of that nation.Under
Australia’s fair dealing laws there is nothing to stop the creator
of that image from being chased by lawyers threatening nasty legal
proceedings Charged for the creation of pointless comedy is
something I know a bit about. People have wanted to sue me over the
years for my jokes. I’ve received cease and desist letters for a
parody of Tourism Campaigns. I’ve had my parodies I’ve made of the
ads of TV Industry Bodies taken down (then after investigation
reinstated.). I’ve suffered the full brunt of the Australian media
for daring to suggest that their handing of the Beaconsfield Mine
disaster was less than appropriate. At times it felt like the whole
world is out to get me for a harmless joke. Thankfully Australia’s
Fair Dealing laws protect the kind of work that I make. Under fair
dealing for satire and parody, as long as the jokes I do stick it
to the man, I can use a reasonable amount of whatever I like to do
so. However to make a simple joke that doesn’t really say anything,
like putting Dench’s face on Craig’s body, the law says I can’t be
that stupid. I say. The law is a little bit bullshit. Sometimes,
believe it or not, comedians have to be stupid. But not just us
comedians, but anyone who is fluent in photoshop and shares their
stories over the internets. For much of the 20th century
storytelling has been commodified. Ever since the wax cylinder came
into being, companies have been packaging and selling stories.
Films, records, books, television, if it can be shrink wrapped and
distributed it can be sold. As technology advanced so did the
storytelling, eventually the professionalisation of storytelling
meant that amateur story tellers were outclassed by their well
equipped professional overlords with their cinemascopes,
explosions, beautiful chins, watertanks, computer generated
graphics, botox and cocaine habits. Gradually storytelling culture
became a sophisticated money making system of distribution chains
and consumers. Entrenched for a hundred years, the art of telling a
story, over that time was co-opted into a business. That’s the way
it works in any industry, company makes product, tells customers
about it, customer wants product, company sells product. Its
channels are defined and myopic. But now thanks to democratisation
of technology and platforms for sharing, the ability for anyone
with the tools and skills to tell stories is now flattening out.
Everyone carries a HD camera in their pocket, the distance from
storyteller to an audience is as short as it has ever been since
the campfire was invented. Before the last hundred years of
commodification the storyteller was a culture of the amateur, not
to be defined in opposition to someone who is a professional, but
defined as someone who engages in the love of an art. Believe it or
not before culture became commodified in the 1800’s with the wax
cylinder, people used to tell stories to each other, people used to
sing to each other, people used to gather in public places and
debate, share ideas, comment, criticise, and yes even troll each
other. Campfire yarns, music, theatre, plays, skits, jokes, ideas
were all once transient works to be remixed and spun by the
storyteller. An original idea is a misnomer, every idea is built
upon hundreds of others. What we are seeing, thanks to the
internet, is a return to the culture of people telling their own
stories, and sharing their own songs. The campfire is now global.
Over two generations have now grown up with this as the normal way
of things. They make stories as well as consume stories. And it’s
competitive, they want to share their idea the fastest, they want
their idea to be the best, they want their concept to spread, which
means building on the work of others, transforming the ideas of
others, twisting the narratives, chopping a head off here, pasting
a hat on there, putting text at the bottom, drawing a cock at the
top.. all in a veracious and intellectual way.

class=”size-medium wp-image-1010″ alt=”Only one of these jokes is
okay under Fair Use”
width=”300″ height=”256″ /> Only one of these jokes is
okay under Fair Use

This kind of story telling in
Australia isn’t legal but it happens anyway. Why? Because no one
knows it illegal, and no one cares. It’s simply the language of the
internet. Two generations of people have grown up with the internet
and laws have yet to catch up and serve them in the right way. The
digital divide isn’t about nations, it’s about generations. Young
people are more closely connected to other young people in the
countries where they live, when compared to older people in the
countries where they live. And the digital divide between young and
old is growing. Fair Dealing criminalises digital culture, thus
Fair Dealing discriminates against two generations of young people
and therefore Fair Dealing is anything but fair. Fair Use however
is totes good. I’d create a LOLcat to demonstrate, but that would
just be stupid, and in this country thanks to Fair Dealing, stupid
is illegal.   For more information on Fair Use
check out <a
Magazine’s campaign for Fair Use: <a
And I just LOVE <a
Lessig’s work in this area:

By dan

GetUp 2013: Three Videos I’m Heaps proud of

This past election season I had the great opportunity to
work with the sharp brains and bleeding hearts at GetUp!. GetUp!
are a fantastic non partisan lobby group who fight for progressive
change in Australian politics. Since
2006 I’ve been creating communications that cut through and educate
the electorate on policy often using the sharpest most pointed
It’s been a wonderful synergy. This year I took a
more hands on role in content creation. Two days a week I
worked on strategy, writing, directing, and producing bits of
content throughout the election campaign with my producer, Peter
Slee, at Motion Picture Company.

Often the brief would land in our inbox 3
days before it was to air or be published. That kind of turn around
is really exciting, but also terrifying, and compromises always get
made to get the final product over the line in time, but the work
is truly fulfilling. Working with such a passionate, beautiful
bunch of people who are slaving their guts out to make our country
better everyday is a privilege. Here are three of my favourite
spots I worked on for Electapoolooza 2013.

Bad Designs –
Manus Island

(Write/Direct/VO) When Kevin announced the
expansion of Manus Island, I was with one of the GetUp team in the
car listening to the announcement on the radio. We made a few dark
jokes about how only way this policy could be more palatable is if had been on Grand Designs. Two weeks
later we delivered this sketch. (I’m particularly proud of my Kevin
McCloud Impression… and I know.. the word Bespoke is missing)

Game Of Seats

(Write/Direct) The brief here
was to create a spot about how to vote and inform people about the
senate. It’s a notoriously difficult subject to do properly, and
get the information across in a short space of time without boring
people to suicide. We tried many different scripts, from simple
explainers, to nude sketches, to hip hop raps, to Game of Thrones
hip hop raps. We finally settled on this Game Of Thrones inspired
sketch. It
came out about two weeks before Juice Media’s Rap News
Theirs blew up due to the Assange factor. I
was totes jellz. This was an epic production, we shot in a 70’s
besser block castle on the sunshine coast, that on first glance
looked hokey, but one screen came up a treat. We started rolling at
9am and finished at 6pm, and delivered the edit to GetUp two days
later. Big thanks go to our wonderful cast, production designer,
and team at Motion Picture Company.

Progressive Australia

(Direct) This spot was
made with real Getup members to remind the membership base what
GetUp does and why they do it. After we made this super
positive spot, Labor put out a spot about two weeks later that
looked very similar that was all negative. Bravo.

By dan


Over the last few weeks I’ve been creating stories for The Feed on SBS2 around the circus of electapoolooza 2013.

Here there are as a triptych so you can elect your balls away….




(And before you all go banging on about it… 1) yes it is very Brooker. 2) Yes in middle australia the dark patch on my face swaps sides… why? because i’m unco and can’t do left right things in mirror.. so I flopped the shot for you nufties. 3) Apparently you can vote below the line.. and above the line just incase you stuff up below the line… don’t take my word for it here’s Antony Green “If you want to be ultra safe, fill in below the line and the fill in one of the above the line squares. The below the line vote takes priority, but if proves to be informal, the ballot paper will revert to the above the line option.”)

By dan

My Favourite 10 “Can Of Worms” sketches

It’s been an enormous privilege to work on Channel Ten’s Can Of Worms over the last couple of years.  Can of Worms was a talk show where three famous Australians talk about tricky faux pas and explore social issues.

My role on the show was to take these topic to the street and try them out with the general public in the form of prank style sketch.

Here are a few of my favourite moments.



Yes… I know there are 12 here.. but I couldn’t resist!



By dan

Y2Gay to play the LA Comedy Festival!!

If you’re in LA November 4th, swing along to the LA Comedy Festival!!

Y2Gay will be screening in the Shorts Programme 10 at 4pm


Los Feliz 3 Cinemas
1822 N. Vermont Ave.


(Any Aussie comedians in the vicinity of the screening, if you could represent our little film that’d be great…. if you could do a Q And A and film it on your mobile… that’ll also be hilarious!)

By dan

Honing my Jones

The poor parrot, lately he’s been out of his cage causing a racket. Alan Jones has been a powerful force in Australian media for a very long time. It’s been said that his influence can make or break Prime Ministers.

However lately he seems to be losing that golden touch. Traditional media in all forms is becoming flatter, and broadcasting is becoming narrower. I secretly love The Parrot, I think he’s a terrific, strange and repugnant character who claims to be the voice of the battler. He’s one man who is very much in touch with everyday people, he sees them out the window of his chauffeur driven merc , swiftly walks past them on the way to his private lift at his office, peers down at them with binoculars from his penthouse apartment above Sydney’s toaster. I’m sure he even hears stories about battlers from David his butler.

That’s why I love Alan, he’s a guy that’s missing something from his life, so he fills it with the fantastic (and fabulous) Here are several impressions I’ve done of Alan Jones over the years… from the latest to the very first. He’s beautiful character.

Alan Jones has at least ONE advertiser left on his show…. Alan Jones (Thanks to Charlie Pickering for this idea)

Alan Jones makes a heartfelt apology to the Prime Minister:

Alan Jones in Annie The Musical (Hamster Wheel ABCTV)

I can’t find this clip online.. but I’ll see if I can dig it up somewhere else… Written by Chris Taylor, it was a sketch about Jone’s incorrect figures on climate change. Classic Chaser.

Dan Ilic doing Alan Jones at Digital Eskimo’s Do Gooder Launch 

Do Gooder – Dan Ilic does Alan Jones from Do Gooder on Vimeo.

Alan Jones talks climate denial with HG Nelson (Steaming Toad)

Alan Jones does a cameo in I’m A Climate Scientist
Probably my favourite sketch I wrote and directed for Hungry Beast

Ever noticed how John Michael Howson and Alan Jones sound the same?

Alan Jones vs The Worm (Fairfax Media)

Alan Jones calls the date for the 2007 Election (Fairfax Digital)
This was the very first go at it… so the writing is a bit dodgy… and man.. I am seriously fat… why did no one tell me?

A great pic from the set of I’m A Climate Scientist

1 2 3
Making climate change sexy…media sexy
Certified influencer….
What I’ve learned about publishing internet video while at AJ+ so far…
That’s a wrap for A Rational Fear (for now)
In Australia “Stupid Funny” Is Illegal
GetUp 2013: Three Videos I’m Heaps proud of
My Favourite 10 “Can Of Worms” sketches
Y2Gay to play the LA Comedy Festival!!
Honing my Jones