Poor Harry Connick, Jr. After performing on a live reunion special for the long-running Australian TV show Hey Hey It’s Saturday last night, the cro0ner (and former frequent guest) politely agreed to judge the show’s goofy talent competition, Red Faces. Too bad no one told him that one of the acts would be the “Jackson Jive”—six dancing men in blackface that were apparently quite popular on the show 20 years ago. Understandably, Connick was less than amused, giving them a zero out of ten and noting that the show would be yanked from the air in America. Really, we’d like to think it wouldn’t have made the air in 1989 either.
Host Daryl Somers apologized later in the show, noting “I know that to your countrymen, that’s an insult to have a blackface routine like that on the show.” Connick responded, “I just wanted to say on behalf of my country, 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. I know it was in good fun, and the last thing I want to do is take this show to a down level—because you know how much I love this show and this country—but I feel like I’m at home here, and if I knew that was going to be part of the show, I probably—I definitely wouldn’t have done it.”
Sadly, it looks like Australian viewers don’t get what the fuss was about, with blog commenters and twitterers debating whether Connick was “too politically correct.” Watch the clip after the jump, if you can stomach it.
Seriously, this happened in October of 2009. Yesterday. Thanks for speaking up, Harry.
[Photos: Getty Images/Daily Telegraph]