Fact Check

Is 'The Front Fell Off' Video Real?

A circulated video clip claims to show an Australian politician being interviewed about an oil tanker spill.

Published May 30, 2012

Updated Jul 6, 2022
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - CIRCA 1990: John Morrison Clarke (29 July 1948 – 9 April 2017) New Zealand-born comedian, writer and satirist who lived and worked in Australia from the late 1970s on 1990 in Melbourne, Australia. He was a highly regarded actor and writer whose work appeared on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) in both radio and television and also in print. (Photo by Impressions/Getty Images) ( Impressions/Getty Images)
Image Via Impressions/Getty Images
Claim:
Video clip shows an Australian politician being interviewed about an oil tanker spill.

Origin

For years, a widely shared satirical clip of a fictitious interview colloquially dubbed as "the front end fell off video" has been circulated online as authentic.

Even knowing nothing about the origins of this video clip purportedly showing an Australian MP's hilariously inept attempts at reassuring a news interviewer about the safety of tankers in the wake of a large oil spill, attentive viewers should be able to discern that it's probably not on the level. The rhythm and flow of the conversation and camera work is too neat and crisp — unlike typical free-form interviews, the subjects don't interrupt or talk over each other, and the director always seems to know exactly when to cut from one speaker to the other, signs that the event was scripted (or, at the very least, heavily edited).

THE FRONT FELL OF

On August 19th 2007, an oil tanker off the coast of Australia split in two, dumping 20,000 tons of crude oil. Senator Collins, a member of the Australian Parliament, appeared on a TV news program to reassure the Australian public.

This actual interview is so funny, you' swear it was a 'Saturday Live' skit.

just proves... Once a politician, always aoliticn!

Enjoy!

Indeed, this "interview" appears very much like a Saturday Night Live skit because it is in fact a comedy sketch from the early 1990s, the parts of the politician and interviewer being played by Australian television comedy duo John Clarke and Brian Dawe as they discuss an oil spill that occurred in 1991 when the Greek tanker Kirki lost its bow off the coast of Western Australia.

Clarke and Dawe's stock in trade is presenting satirical takes on current events, often in the form of mock interviews in which Clarke assumes the role of a beleaguered politician (or other prominent public figure) attempting to explain away some blunder while being grilled by interviewer Dawe.


Sources

Wight, Pam.   "Principal Won't Lose Job Over Flag-Flipping."

Whittier Daily News.   7 April 2006.

Updates

Update [Aug. 27, 2008]

Update [July 6, 2022]: Updated formatting, SEO/social.

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.

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