TRUE OPINION: ‘Cancelled’ a decade ago for being a misogynist, satirist and stand-up comedian Kieran Butler says it’s about time the Aussie Left actually stood up to symbols of power rather than wasting its time on a lost journey for moral purity. Just like Grace Tame.

Ten years ago, I gave the green light to a fellow named Angelo D’Costa to stage a comedy debate about taboo topics in comedy at my insignificant Open Mic comedy room at Station 59. He suggested the title “There’s nothing funny about Cancer” or “There’s nothing funny about the Holocaust” or “There’s nothing funny about Rape”. We chose the latter because it was topical at the time.

A poster for the debate went viral. Myself, the debate participants and the venue owner were subjected to a good old-fashioned canceling. An invitation to our critics to air their grievances in place of the cancelled debate went pear shaped, and before you could say ‘Louis CK’, a proper mainstream and social media lynching was at full throttle. It made news on international comedy websites. Clementine Ford got involved. We even ended up on the SBS talkshow Insight two years later.

As a result, I became a pariah of Australian comedy. I was told I had been banned and blacklisted at festivals around the world. The director of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival banned the word “rape” at the 2013 MICF in response, and attended a not-so-secret meeting; the sole purpose of which was to cancel my non-existent “comedy career”. Rod Quantock once told me that you must always use air quotes around those words.

I am still considered the worst misogynist in Australian comedy.

Shortly afterward, in 2013, a group of women in Open Mic comedy initiated, curated and performed an all-women Open Mic comedy night at Station 59. According to them, my room was the safest in Melbourne for women starting out in comedy. Standing in solidarity with my room was a lovely gesture I was eternally grateful for. More importantly, it broke new ground. Professional all-women line-ups are not rare, but they were uncommon at the Open Mic level. Now, they are a regular occurrence.

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By 2014, that night had evolved into #yesallwomen Open Mic Comedy. I organised the line-ups, but the women did the rest. It ran monthly until 2017, when comedy wound up at Station 59. Eurydice Dixon was a #yesallwomen regular. She did a lot of her best work on those nights. She really was fucking good. That is not hyperbole. After her untimely passing, I became the Chair of a not-for-profit called Awkward Giraffe at the request of her father. Awkward Giraffe re-birthed #yesallwomen at Highlander Bar in 2019.

Covid shut us down for 2020, but I worked hard to restart #yesallwomen in April 2021 during the MICF. A new group of outstanding comedians got on board, and late last year I turned over the running of it to the entire group and empowered them to seek greener pastures. Comedy is always hard, but by all reports, it is going from strength to strength. The women have a tangible ownership over the concept.

I am still considered the worst misogynist in Australian comedy.

That I was canceled before it was cool is something I now wear as a badge of honor, but that is largely immaterial. The first thing to consider is that fate often dictates an outcome from a singular event that is impossible to predict. The second is that the truth is always subjective. Besides, lies are the new truth.

By any metric, Scott Morrison is a liar. That is verifiable. There is video evidence. A French President confirmed it. Morrison lies about things he doesn’t need to lie about.  He is a pathological liar.

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Grace Tame knows this. She has been up close and personal. I have no idea whether Tame knows about Morrison’s lies regarding the 2014 death of Reza Berati in his refugee concentration camp, but when he said he did not know about the rape of Brittany Higgins until February 2021, Tame would at least have come to know he was lying.

Morrison covered it up to win an election. He no doubt offered Higgins something in return for keeping quiet. My guess is he lied about that too, and Higgins went public when he reneged on the deal. It is an educated guess. It is how politics works. You take a hit for the party, and expect to get rewarded. For the record, Higgins claims Tame gave her the courage to come forward. Both of those things can be true contemporaneously.

There is a question Morrison has still not been asked by the pithy excuse for a press gallery we have in Canberra: Prime Minister, would you let Christian Porter go debating with your daughter? None of them have the moral fortitude to do it. Neither does Anthony Albanese. Tame has more courage in one of her eyelashes than all of them put together. The idea they have been scribbling their idiotic words in either her defence, or her prosecution, is laughable. They are not fit to polish her high-heeled shoes.

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Various opinionistas proved my well-worn point that Australians would take six months to forget about the rape. That Murdochian cretin, Peter van Onselen, completely forgot how Tame came to be Australian Of The Year – which is a rubbish title to be saddled with when you really think about it. Australia really is quite f*cked. I’m glad it will never happen to me.

Former AOTY recipient, Rosie Batty, went as far to say Tame should have given Morrison points for trying. Like a fucking seven-year-old at Little Athletics!

The Australian Left loves canceling a soft target like me. It’s pathetic really. I couldn’t care less about any of it. I wouldn’t be here writing this if all that madness had not happened. It made me take more risks with my “comedy career”. Taking down a white, male, middle-aged comedian nobody has heard of is hardly an achievement.

Having a crack at a c*nt of a Prime Minister, who covered up an actual rape for personal gain, is pure gangsta as the kids would say. Huzzah!

PS – Make sure you check out a Yes All Women comedy show in Melbourne if there’s one nearby. As my mate Tony Magnuson often says: “You’ll get a laugh out of this”.

About Kieran Butler 33 Articles
Kieran Butler is a comedian, musician and satirist. He is best known in Australia for his pop-parody musical "Ben Cousins: a rock opera" and has received critical acclaim at the Edinburgh Fringe for "Che Guevara on the Fringe" (**** The Scotsman) and his sold-out "Australia is Fucked" trilogy. More info at

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