You’ve got to hand it to the Deputy PM, he does a pretty good WC Fields with practically no theatrical training.
Sure, parliament is theatre, but a NIDA admission would elude most of them.
Barnaby Joyce, on the other hand, makes it look easy — especially when he is channelling a movie star whose schtick is playing a drunk.
Probably due to cultural cringe, the Australian media largely ignored Barnaby’s bravura performance in last Wednesday’s Question Time and left it to the UK’s Daily Mail to write a glowing review:
‘Barnaby Joyce slurred his words and struggled to make sense during a bizarre performance in Parliament in Question Time on Wednesday.’
The only local review, from True Crime News Weekly, which has long been following Barnaby’s star:
‘During Question Time at Federal Parliament on Wednesday 4 August, a ruddy-looking, red-faced Joyce put on an intoxicated performance for the ages in the House of Representatives.’
Barnaby is not only an under-recognised acting talent, he is also a knowledgeable film buff, as the Daily Mail recorded:
‘Mr Joyce struggled to get his words out and repeatedly slurred and stuttered, saying: "Now, I, I, I li-, I like going to the movies and I can't, can't but re-, I can't but always remember Howard Hughes, Howard Hughes, The Aviator”.’
Our Deputy Prime Minister is all class. Gold Class, you might say.
Regrettably, however, you just can’t please everyone!
One or two curmudgeons complained La Joyce’s performance verged too far into realist noir, going so far as to write to theatre manager Tony Smith to express their belief the Great Barnaby was taking method acting too far.
Oh, mon dieu!
Trouper Smith has been in the theatre caper a while and has seen a lot of bad acting in his days — enough to make a grown man call it quits at the next election, maybe?
One of Tony's staffers, the suitably huffy Claudine Wedgwood-Gills, told one of the beastly curmudgeons, author Daniel Best:
‘You assert the Deputy Prime Minister was drunk on the floor of the chamber yesterday during question time. I watched proceedings at the time and made no such conclusion.’
According to Smith and his troupe, no one else in the audience complained either, so Barnaby must have been acting.
Investigations editor Ross Jones is a licensed private enquiry agent and the author of 'Ashbygate: The Plot to Destroy Australia's Speaker'. You can follow Ross on Twitter @RPZJones.
- Barnaby Joyce's sympathy for Biloela family a short-term deterrent
- CARTOONS: Backbench begone! Barnaby's back in!
- Barnaby's back — and so are the climate wars
- Barnaby Joyce's 14 greatest achievements
- Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce is perfect for Morrison Government's ethical vacuum
Support independent journalism Subscribe to IA.