An American stand-up comedian’s staging of a grisly celebration of the shark killing of Auckland man Adam Strange at Muriwai Beach last month has offended Kiwis.
The Jeselnik Offensive hosted by Anthony Jeselnik had pictures of Adam Strange posted on the set as he staged a “Shark Party” on the pay network Comedy Central.
Muriwai Volunteer Lifeguard Service chairman Tim Jago said members had initially hoped the video would disappear unnoticed.
“It is absolutely disgusting and abhorrent,” Jago said. “We had hoped that if nothing was said about it it would simply disappear without ever seeing the light of day.”
But it had been found and was attracting heavy media interest.
“There is no humour at all in it.”
Jago said if the item had been trying to make a point about exploitation of sharks, then picking on Strange was the wrong way to go.
“Mr Strange and family and friends are all sea people; they know about sharks and their place in the ocean. They would never have exploited sharks.”
Strange’s death also inspired a limp version at satire on a New Zealand website that managed to link it to the rugby side, the Sharks.
But it is Jeselnik, 34, who showed no restraint at all, noting that a great white shark had attacked a man in New Zealand.
“Was he killed,” he said to his laughing audience, “you bet your sweet arse he was killed, and he had a family and everything.”
He then launches into music and dance sequence featuring leggy women in shark suits.
Jeselnik says sharks usually eat seals and did not like human flesh: “That is why tonight is so special.”
More sharks are killed by people, he says, and adds that when “a shark kills a man you’ve got to give thanks”.
With a picture of Adam Strange on the screen, Jeselnik then goes on: “Let’s not forget the man who made this all possible – smile you son-of-a-bitch.” The poster is expanded to show that this year sharks have killed one person, while people have killed 17 million sharks.
The dance sequence continued with some seeming eroticism between Jeselnik and a shark woman, and a bleeding surfer.
Jeselnik then moved onto an item about President Barack Obama being gay before dealing with porn in the car and elderly people.
The Jeselnik Offensive does not screen in New Zealand, but Jeselnik has a strong following in the United States.
The little-known New Zealand website The Civilian has also found humour in the death, saying that the multinational rugby body Sanzar had suspended South African team the Sharks after the attack.
“Today’s suspension came after a week and a half where police failed to determine which two sharks were responsible for the attack.” It said rival teams playing the Sharks were influenced by a “crippling fear” of “being mauled to death”.
The site suggests that one of the Shark team members was responsible for the attack and provided the name of a Black African player.