RIP Fred Dagg – John Clarke has died 68


Oh no- John Clarke has died  – his wit and satire was the best comedy ever to leave NZ.

He was able to decipher the bullshit spin of the elites to people who suffered the most from their machinations. He highlighted the madness our leaders tried to get us to swallow and he championed holding the pricks to account by making us see the insanity of their empty words and promises.

He left NZ in the end because TVNZ were too gutless and spineless to allow him to do what he wanted to do. Another footnote in the history of how our supposed Public Broadcaster has betrayed the best and brightest amongst us.

His passing leaves us with a deep sense of dread, how are we to speak truth to power without him?

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It’s a darker, far sadder day today.



  1. John Clarke … “We don’t know how lucky we are ….” A great Kiwi icon.

    Well done Fred. RIP John. You have left some wonderful memories for us to continue to enjoy.

    Condolences to the Trevs and Trevs’ mate Bruce.

    Black singlet and gumboots forever.

  2. “He left NZ in the end because TVNZ were too gutless and spineless to allow him to do what he wanted to do. Another footnote in the history of how our supposed Public Broadcaster has betrayed the best and brightest amongst us.”
    He left NZ because those in charge of PSB never understood the concept and were more concerned about self-preservation and arse licking to their political masters than they were abouit what they were appointed to do. And that’s still the case.
    Unfortunately even those committed to those quaint old notions of things like a 4th Estate and a Public Sphere (such as CBB and others) appear to have imbibed a little bit of the cool aid (such as a population of only 4 million can’t afford the “luxury”).

    If they took a step back and worked on the principle that public money (all that which funds NZoA, TMP, RNZ, MforC&H, and all that which comes in from TVNZ advertising and Kordia commercial services) they’d realise there are sufficient funds (with a single beauracracy) to support a National, a Concert, a The Wireless(or youth oriented radio), a One (Public Sphere of political orientation), a Two (reflecting our social ‘Heartland’), a Three (supporting our Kids – a la Kidzone), and minority access channels/frequencies.
    It doesn’t seem to have dawned on all the disparate bureaucratic entities (perhaps because of self-preservation and attitude) involved that they could actually be part of the problem, and shouldn’t therefore be involved in ANYWAY in the solution). No doubt they’ll protest the loudest – be it Ralstons or even Edwards and Moras – or a host of many other of the boring old cumudgeon smelly farts. Oh oh oh, I paid my dues, I’m the voice of experience. Crap! – to most of it.
    It’s a damn shame Sir Fred Dagg never had the opportunity to return and point out the bleeding obvious

    • Well said.

      NZ is run by gutless liars, of course. And opportunists who couldn’t give a shit about the commons or the future.

  3. Yep. That’s a disaster. On a lighter note; dougie meyers is frying on the barbi in hell. Should balance things up in the Universe I reckon.

  4. +100…great Post and great comments!

    He was super smart and super funny. He loved New Zealand …a great Kiwi icon and Taonga

  5. Classic Fred Dagg “if it weren’t for your gumboots where would you be”…

    John Clarke was an iconic kiwi when it still meant something to be iconic.

    Very funny and wonderfully clever and another loss to our artistic talent.

    Travel well John.

  6. Thanks Fred, you left NZ at the right time. I can only wonder how you would have tackled Johnny, ‘does a runner’ Key if you had stayed in NZ. Your jokes live on.

  7. A long time ago in Wellington, John Clarke lived down the road from me. I remember when he set off in the mornings the local kids would shout out to him, “Fred Dagg, Fred Dagg!”, and he would shout back, “Fuck off!”.
    That still makes me laugh.

  8. What is worse than the passing of iconic people like Murray Ball and John Clarke is that there is nobody to replace them.
    You simply can’t get people like that anymore because they can’t work in a country that lacks the collective intelligence to understand true comedy and satire.
    And that is the status of Muddle Nu Ziland now.

  9. Rest well John Clark we lost a real human here that should have been a Prime minister some day, one which we sorely need at these dark times.

  10. He was a brilliant character who helped NZ forge its identity at a time we were loosening the apron strings from mother Britain. I grew up listening and laughing to his witty commentary on NZ.

    He’ll be greatly missed. His unique voice silenced forever.

  11. Fred Dag represented a time of the happy go lucky cow cocky farmer. They have largely disappeared now with the more corporate money laden farmer being there replacement. Its an end of an era and Neo Liberalism had a lot to do with it…

  12. RIP John Clarke, a truly great NZer who led the way in satire and parody, his place in history is ensured.

  13. All I can say is, Bugger!

    John, you were a part of my life growing up in 70s New Zealand and gave us our first impression of our own culture, as opposed to something imported from Mother England.

    Thank you for your gift of humour and insights.

    You will be missed.

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