Remember the time when Americans could laugh at themselves? Now there’s Australian TV

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By Karen Hagestad Cacy, Fairfax Free Citizen, Aug. 13, 2017

COLORADO SPRING, Colorado – There’s prostitution. There’s booze and drugs aplenty. There’s organized crime mixed with decaying local government. Australia’s hit television series, “Rake,” takes American viewers back in time when personal insults weren’t called “bullying,” and when language was so free-wheeling as to cry out for censorship, if only on the basis of good taste.

Rake: Comic relief from down under.

In short, the four seasons of “Rake” now available for viewing in America provide long overdue good old-fashioned, no-holds barred, unadulterated, anything goes, comedy. There are no undertones or overtones of politics here. There’s no superior humor at the expense of the so-called “illiterate masses.” Anyone in his or her right mind (and there are fewer and fewer Americans in such a state lately) will be able to laugh themselves off the couch and onto the floor. The neighbors will wonder what’s going on as the howls of pure enjoyment emanate from your living room.

Thanks to the political correctness cops in this country, everything these days is off limits in the humor department. Ethnic jokes? Gone. Comedy that mocks a person’s physical shortcomings? No way, Jose. Humor that skewers corrupt government officials? Shielded by sanctimonious platitudes that have been poll-tested for the requisite grayness.

When presidential candidate Donald J. Trump joked in a speech that perhaps Hillary Clinton’s missing emails could be obtained from the Russians, not only did that intentional laugh line fall on deaf ears, it also was served up as almighty truth, and prima facie evidence the candidate was “in bed with the Russians.” It is not even a stretch to suggest that the warped and serious accusation of treason the joke caused began an entire political industry in finding further smoking gun evidence of Trump’s Russia connections.

In an early fit of seriousness, the seekers found that the President’s attorney-general-elect had actually (enter shocked sounds here) attended a reception where there were, yes, Russians. And then-senator Sessions had met with (gasp) the Russian ambassador in his office.

The only thing the Russia investigation has proven thus far is that comedy in America is dead.

But thanks to Australian television, those Americans not caught up in the treason soap opera can gain respite, if only temporarily, by following the shenanigans of one Cleaver Greene. Played by Richard Roxburgh, this Aussie barrister is deeply narcissistic and borderline insane.

Operating as a defense attorney for the down-trodden and truly criminal, Cleave manages to put everything into perspective as he wheels and deals with corrupt government officials to get his clients off. As another character states, “This state is rancid, it’s poison at every level.”

In year three of the series, our lovable “rake” finally is tripped up by the system he’s been manipulating for so long. They lock him up as an accessory to a murder. Never mind about that: what you need to know for the full flavor of “Rake” is that upon arriving in prison, Cleave finds himself surrounded by all manner of white collar government lawyers and former officials who themselves have miss-stepped somehow in their own zones of corruption.

It’s business as usual inside prison. Does Cleaver get out of prison? Is President Donald Trump a treasonous bastard? Will Hillary Clinton’s emails every see the light of day? Will Vladimir Putin join the Bedminster Golf Club in New Jersey?

Tune in next week, folks. There’s the Aussie “Rake” and our own rakes. Which might you prefer?!

“Cacy at Bat” Karen Cacy, of Colorado Springs, is a former Washington speechwrite. Her novels, “Death by President,” “Return to Ismailia,” “Dinner at Mr. B’s,” and “Summer at Pebble Beach,” are available on She’s also the author of the play, “SAY UNCLE!”