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When ‘Play School’ meets #Auspol: Playground Politics is the best thing about the election

We spoke to the man behind the only shining light in this hellishly dull and seemingly endless election season.

Comedian Sammy J has become Australia’s latest Internet darling, after his brilliant web-series Playground Politics absolutely blew up.

The series takes everyone’s favourite childhood show, Play School, and gives it a sinister political twist – explaining, in a variety of disarmingly endearing ways, how Average Voter is getting screwed over.

(And yes, it is genuinely concerning that some of the best political analysis in the Australian media is done by a fully grown man singing songs and using hand puppets.)

“I basically had 20 minutes to come up with a concept and was thinking about either this, or the idea of me in a spaceship-cockpit where I’m controlling the brains of politicians”, Sammy told Techly.

“But that didn’t allow for as many songs or bright colours, so I’ll tuck that idea away for next time.

“Plus I have two young daughters so Play School is a daily part of my life at the moment, so it seemed like a very natural space to slide into!”

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The series pumps out one video every day, and no pollie is spared.

A Malcolm Turnbull puppet dances with Lucifer, singing a song that teaches you “How to make a Faustian pact”:

Devil and Sammy in Playground Politics

Have you ever had to compromise your core beliefs in order to placate the hard right of a party who refuses to accept your progressive inclinations? It’s just one step to the left, and fifty steps to the right.”

Bill Shorten and ABC heart-throb (?) Tony Jones got put through the ringer after Monday’s Q&A:

Bill Shorten and Tony Jones on Playground Politics

“Q&A is a show for grown-ups where they talk nonsense, it’s a bit like Peppa The Pig, but with less narrative cohesion”

And then every other MP in the country copped it in my personal favourite, the Art Corner segment.

"Jacqui from Tasmania sent in this portrait, called the Mona Lambie"

“Jacqui from Tasmania sent in this portrait, called the Mona Lambie”

Peter Dutton on Playground Politics

I think this is a drawing of a mother and her baby, it’s hard to tell because he’s drawn it all over the UN Declaration Of Human Rights. We’ll put that away…indefinitely”

Despite targeting every powerful figure in Canberra, the Aussie comedian said he hasn’t received any backlash from the series – well, not that he knows of.

“The reception’s been pretty amazing so far – ABC decided to release the episodes on Facebook directly, which has been huge in terms of views and sharing,” he told us.

“I have no doubt there’s been a backlash too but I’m fairly old fashioned and don’t go seeking out or engaging with the haters.

“In the past I’ve done shows where I’ve worried way too much about what people think. This time I’m just trying to create a really stupid and fun world, and people are welcome to jump on or off the wagon as desired.”

In fact, some pollies are even keen to make a guest appearance:

“I’ve been trying hard to get some real politicians on the show – I think that would be really fun. I sent a lot of invitations beforehand and didn’t get many responses, but now that the show’s had a bit of interest they’re all crawling out of the woodwork.

“I think I’ll start auctioning off spots to the highest bidder. Hopefully you can expect a few cool cameos, and of course some more sweet, sweet craft activities.”

Australians have always had a knack for political satire – the irreverent Shaun Micallef, the mischevious Chaser boys, and the quiet genius of The Hollowmen are the latest to fly the flag.

Sammy J is proof that even though the game’s become infinitely more difficult since onion-skin-enthusiast Tony Abbott got the boot, there’s still plenty more fodder out there in #AusPol land.

You can watch all the episodes of Playground Politics on iView here, or head over to Sammy J’s Facebook page.

About the author

Technically, Riordan writes culture, politics and sport, but 80% of his words are direct quotes stolen from The Simpsons. He promises to tweet more at @riordanl and speaks words for The Zero Thumbs Down Podcast.

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