Former Prime Minister of Australia Bob Hawke has lived up to his larrikin image by wearing dropping the F-bomb during a live broadcast marking the 30th anniversary of Australia II’s 1983 America’s Cup victory.
His joke has since been criticised for “breaking all the rules of political correctness”, which many would believe is what makes it so funny. In many ways the joke only goes to prove that the larrikin spirit that Australia is so famous for, the inspiration for such Aussie classics as Crocodile Dundee, doesn’t burn as brightly today as it did thirty years ago.
Despite being a Rhodes Scholar and studying at Oxford, Hawke is most fondly remembered as the only Prime Minister to hold the world speed record for drinking beer. He impressively consumed 2 1⁄2 pints (1.4 l) – equivalent to a yard of ale – in 11 seconds.
In his memoirs, Hawke suggested that this single feat may have contributed to his political success more than any other, by endearing him to a voting population with a strong beer culture. I personally would have to agree.
His joke (despite being obviously politically incorrect) is as follows:
A Frenchman an Englishman and an Australian were slogging their way across the Andes, he said. “It’s about 45 bloody degrees,” he began, after describing how the trio had traversed an scorched alpine desert, “they look down. There’s this most beautiful, pristine lagoon. They go scrambling down … and dive in … The natives come and grab ‘em. Take ‘em to the chief. The chief says (and here Hawke slipped into broken English): ‘You have broken the sacred law. This our most sacred site. For this you die. When we kill you we take off skin. Out of skin make canoe. Put canoe on lake. Permanent reminder to all peoples. Never infringe on our most sacred site.’”
Naturally, the chief offers them a last request, and Hawke assumed a Pepe Le Pew accent and an upper class English drawl in which the Frenchman and Englishman asked for knives with which they killed themselves rather than die slowly and painfully.
“Then they go to the Aussie,” Hawke continued. “He says, ‘I want a fork.’ He proceeds to stab himself all over.
“‘There goes your f . . king canoe!’”