It should be really simple, but somehow, in the year 2019, we still have problems with blackface.
I mean, racism is still a massive, ongoing problem in this country, and we need to work through it. But how have we not been able to take the basic first step of “stop doing blackface”?
I haven't seen his new show. I can't judge it yet but Chris Lilley's twitter page still sports pictures of his blackface characters.— Jordan Raskopoulos (@JordanRasko) April 11, 2019
I'm pretty sure the dude hasn't grown. pic.twitter.com/8iNWiLQeKD
put this shit back in 2005 where it belongs https://t.co/YJMMn6AcE0— Nicola ER (@nick_e_louder) April 11, 2019
Can someone tell me why the fuck Chris Lilley has been given yet *another* show? Didn’t we cancel him like seven years ago?— What. (@sncrlynotsorry) April 11, 2019
There is a little more nuance to his new character, however. On Lunatics, Chris plays six different characters, one of whom is Jana, a “lesbian pet psychic to the stars” from South Africa.
Her look is meant to evoke Rachel Dolezal and other ‘transracial’ stereotypes. Which, sure, a satirical look at that could be funny. It could even be helpful.
But is Lilley really the person to do it?
I thought so too, and it looks it, but they haven't mentioned that in the promo stuff.— Josh Taylor (@joshgnosis) April 10, 2019
Is it possible to satirise the phenomenon of trans-racialism (Rachel Dolezal) without accusation of blackface? Do we need a black comedian portraying a white woman portraying a black woman? Maybe all too dicey stay away don't touch, but curious for people's thoughts.— Paul Karp (@Paul_Karp) April 11, 2019
That's a good point. Covering yourself with the figleaf of pseudo-irony when you just did the same bad thing without that cover seems unsustainable.— Paul Karp (@Paul_Karp) April 11, 2019
No. No he is not.
I’m not saying Lilley is entirely without talent. He is capable of hilarious characters and brilliant satire. His popularity in the 2000s wasn’t a fluke. He was genuinely funny.
But he lacks finesse and a sense of self-reflection. A white man trying to bring a satirical message about a white woman pretending to be black is several layers too deep to get anything useful from the performance.
His message is muddied and further distances itself with the increased racial tension in recent times.
It really seems like Chris hasn’t grown beyond brownface or donning a skirt to make his points.
I also used to defend Chris Lilley for doing brownface and blackface, I am fully admitting that, but I've grown as a person and realised that it's never okay and makes a mockery of multiple marginalised groups.— Nicola ER (@nick_e_louder) April 11, 2019
What the fuck! Chris Lilley is doing another black face show??? Who keeps giving him money to do this shit!— Leah (egg a nazi today) jaclyn (@LeahJaclyn) April 11, 2019
Chris Lilley doing black face again is shocking to ya’ll? Have you seen literally any of his other work? Like.. what did you expect— local artisan (@_matthewlawson) April 11, 2019
how is chris lilley still doing blackface at his big age in 2019— putting the hot in thot since ‘94 (@jydnlgh) April 11, 2019
Satan: You get to be on TV forever, but you have to do blackface in every show, to the ever-increasing disgust of the audience— pixelatedboat aka “mr tweets” (@pixelatedboat) April 11, 2019
Chris Lilley: Sure, sounds good!
“Correcting some confusion – in the new show Lunatics, Chris Lilley is not portraying a woman of colour.”
“When the series is released you will see that Jana is a white woman with huge 70s style curly hair.”
Which, sure, you could maybe see that. But considering his history, the leaks and just seeing the character, you’d have a hard time believing it.