Those planning the upcoming Annapolis conference should be worrying about more than just the agenda. After all, if a certain group of cheeky lads from Australia has its way, the talks could end up scuttled or its organizers deeply embarrassed, all for the sake of a gag.
Think we're exaggerating? Ask the organizers of the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) conference in September, where members of The Chaser troupe - who'll stop at nothing to create mayhem for their TV show The Chaser's War on Everything - were arrested for driving a false motorcade through Sydney, breaching the security zone for the conference.
In fact, according to the Web, when US Vice President Dick Cheney came to visit Australia this year, the Chaser team was on the list of anarchists and terrorists who posed a threat to the vice president.
Wow - quite a resume, fellas. Now YES has brought the inspired zaniness to its line-up, offering the satirical shots across the bow at just about anything on YES Stars 3 Mondays at 22:00.
An initial sampling of the series, which grew out of The Chaser (an Onion-like newspaper and stage show left us with mixed feelings. On the one hand, it's clear The Chaser is willing to take on any and all it deems worthy of lampooning. On the other, sometimes they go a bit - well, maybe more than a bit - too far.
So while having two team members turn up at the airport wearing nothing but the ridiculous plastic bags passengers must now place everything in these days was zany enough for laughs, an attempt to prove that a commercial featuring a Chihuahua placed in a handbag atop a Ford wasn't exactly accurate was just, well, gross.
But even if they occasionally bark up the wrong tree, The Chaser team is frequently inspired. Case in point: trying to determine "what have we learned from history," or in this case, "Would anyone let a Trojan Horse through their gates today?"
Well, yes, actually. Watching the grey Trojan Horse the team built being dragged around Sydney on a trolley behind a van was quite amusing in itself, but watching guard after guard allowing the thing in was hysterical. Relax, though - at least Army Headquarters said no, although the Turkish consulate waved it through.
Like its American cousin, Saturday Night Live, The Chaser has its own made-up advertisements, too, ranging from the purely gross "Mega Cheese Pizza," which comes with enough cheese to choke a mouse, to one for a male version of Hooters, whose hosts are "more than equipped to provide a truly generous dining experience." And that's what we could write about in a family newspaper.
One of our favorite skits features "Secrets of the Municipal Cemeteries of Australia," introduced like one of those National Geographic mummy visits, but with the archeologist digging in a currently used facility.
"This housewife was interred as many as three years ago," he says, holding up a skull before being assaulted by a security guard.
Wild and wooly is certainly the atmosphere, as when a Chaser team picked up an unsuspecting Japanese couple at the airport arriving for a business trip, drove them into town in a rickety van and took them to a local hostel, decked out with Hyatt Hotel signs to make it seem like the real thing. Ever the gentlemen, at least the Chaser team remembered to bow to their guests afterwards.
While it's certainly not everyone's cup of tea, Australians or fans of Mad TV or other such satire programs should welcome the show's arrival on our shores. As for us, we're securing the perimeter of our office and ordering in a Mega Cheese Pizza. With the launch of The Chaser's War on Everything, nothing is safe.