TV satirist John Clarke dead at 68

BREAKING: Comedian and satirist John Clarke has died suddenly, aged 68.

The family of satirist John Clarke, who died on the weekend while bushwalking have issued a statement via the ABC.

On the show, Clarke would take great delight in skewering hapless bureaucrats charged with putting on the 2000 Sydney Olympic games.

Mr Clarke, 68, died of natural causes while hiking in the Grampians National Park in Victoria on Sunday.

Clarke first became known in the 1970s for playing the laconic farmer Fred Dagg, clad in gumboots and singlet and speaking of his seven sons, all named "Trev".

Along with Bryan Dawe, he became a household name after writing and performing satirical interviews on Channel Nine's A Current Affair and later the ABC's 7.30 program.

The man who revolutionised comedy on both sides of the Tasman, John Clarke, will be sadly missed by Kiwis and Aussies alike, says the Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little.

Clarke was born in Palmerston North in 1948 and moved to Australia in the 1970s.

Reacting to his sudden death, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull - a frequent Clarke target - remarked: "We'll wait a long time to find another John Clarke. His Fred Dagg costume is now in the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, but he continues to give real meaning to the words of the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche - we should call every truth false that is not accompanied by a laugh".

Clarke was praised by the ABC who said in a statement that he and Dawe offered insightful and cutting satirical commentary on issues of national importance for three decades.

New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English tweeted his sadness at Clarke's death. His humour captured the experience of life in NZ and Australia, ' he said.

John Clarke was the first person I remember being described as having a "dry wit".

Dagg's instant success turned into TV specials and a short film, Dagg Day Afternoon (which Clarke made with Goodbye Pork Pie director Geoff Murphy), a nationwide tour, books, and even singles - most famously, We Don't Know How Lucky We Are.

One of the most beloved satirists and comedians in Australia has sadly left us.

  • Rogelio Becker