The Chaser's Member Says Jalal Brothers Shouldn't Face Charges For Prank

27 February 2016 | 10:54 am | Staff Writer

Julian Morrow speaks out.

They're no strangers to controversy when it comes to comedy and Julian Morrow of Aussie satirical group The Chaser, best know for the ABC program, The Chaser's War on Everything, has defended the teen pranksters who were charged by police this week after they dressed in religious clothing and faked a series of drive-by shootings. 

As Fairfax reports, the Jalal brothers were charged by police with public nuisance, possessing a prohibited weapon and behaving in an offensive manner in a public place on Thursday, however Morrow has slammed police's actions. 

"There's a big difference between saying 'I didn't find that funny' and 'That was a criminal offence'," Morrow said.

"We're lucky to live in a country that is democratic and liberal, but we live in a time when the bar is constantly being lowered on what's a criminal offence, especially when it's even technically related to 'terrorism', and that's bad.

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"While I haven't seen the video they've been charged about, I'm certainly suspicious of the self-righteous outrage against these guys, and I definitely don't think they should be charged with a criminal offence. Some of it makes me feel uncomfortable, some of it makes me feel suspicious that it's not real, but lots of comedy lives in that grey area."

The trio's copious amounts of videos posted on YouTube include bomb pranks, public disturbances and kidnapping hoaxes and Morrow says that it is wrong that their stunts can't be defended as satire because their jokes have no "point".

"Any rule that says satire is 'allowed' but only in a narrow way that's approved by the powers that be or that most people approve of is a bad rule that's anti-free speech and inconsistent with important core principles of our society," Morrow said.

"The idea that lawyers or judges should be allowed to curb free speech by insisting that jokes should be, say, 'reasonable' and 'proportionate' or 'appropriate in the circumstances', that is fucked."

The Chaser's pulled off a number of risky stunts on their show that ran from 2006-2009, which included selling fake merchandise at an NRL game, hosting a fictional 'Make a Realistic Wish Foundation' and the famous APEC skit in 2007, which saw some of the group get arrested for disrupting the APEC Leaders Summit in Sydney, after Morrow entered the high security area with group member Chas Licciardello, who was dressed as Osama Bin Laden.

Morrow conceded that in these current times the joke would never have been approved. 

"The ABC wouldn't approve it, but I don't know that we'd do it," Morrow said.

"But now people do get shot on sight. The context is importantly different, and these kids are probably less aware of that."