Top insiders tell New Idea that the heavy criticism and bad headlines currently plaguing Daryl’s career “could spell trouble for the show” and have caused angst for Channel Seven, who worked hard to reinstate him as host alongside Sonia Kruger.
“The world has changed so much since Daryl was a regular on-screen, and so has the audience’s appetite for inappropriate gags,” muses the insider, adding, “It’s impossible to predict what someone can and cannot get away with these days.”
Ahead of the show’s blockbuster return, widespread criticism has rocked Daryl, with some of Hey Hey’s most controversial and racist moments resurfacing.
A backlash ensued after the presenter recently blamed “cancel culture” and “political correctness” for seemingly killing off TV comedy.
“You probably could not get away with half the stuff you could on Hey Hey,” said Daryl, adding, “A lot of comics can’t work much because what would have been just tongue-in-cheek previously, now can easily get them into trouble.”
The comments prompted Australian singer and former Hey Hey star Kamahl Kamalesvaran to bravely admit he had experienced “humiliation” during his time on the once-beloved series.
“There were a number of instances where I felt humiliated, but I didn’t want to raise any objections or protest about it. I kept smiling and pretending all was OK,” Kamahl, 86, said of the show’s skits – which once included his face being covered in white powder.
Last week, Daryl responded to the controversy via a statement. “I have always considered Kamahl a friend and supporter of the show, so I deeply regret any hurt felt by him as a result of anything that took place on the program in the past.. Past episodes of the show, which first aired from 1971 to 1999, also featured several offensive blackface sketches."
In one show, Daryl himself donned a wig and darkened makeup in an attempt to imitate Kamahl. In a 2009 special reunion episode, a blackface performance imitating The Jackson 5 on talent segment ‘Red Faces’ appalled visiting guest judge, Harry Connick Jr and the world.
The US musician and actor slammed the skit, saying, “I know it was done humorously, but we’ve spent so much time trying to not make black people look like buffoons that when we see something like that we take it really to heart.”
With much to prove, insiders say Daryl will “rise above everything”, insisting his future on TV will come down to one thing: “the audience”.
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