US comedian mocks shark attack victim
Wednesday 13 Mar 2013 1:20 p.m.
By 3 News online staff
An American comedian has caused outrage after his TV show featured a sketch poking fun at a man who died in a shark attack at Muriwai Beach last month.
Adam Strange, 46, was killed on the afternoon of February 27 after being attacked first by a bronze whaler, then a white pointer shark.
The 'Shark Party' sketch was uploaded to YouTube yesterday by The Jeselnik Offensive, a show on US network Comedy Central that claims to offer a "dark and twisted point of view" to each week's "must-see 'train wreck' news", and "rip the veil of sanctity from off-limit topics".
The sketch has drawn a number of comments from offended New Zealanders and shocked Muriwai locals.
In it, host Anthony Jeselnik tells the audience about Mr Strange's death.
"Was he killed? You bet your sweet ass he was killed," he says as the audience laughs, "and he had a family and everything."
He then hosts a 'Shark Party' in the studio, featuring female dancers dressed as sharks, and talks about how excited he is.
"Sharks don't even like the taste of people, but that's why tonight is so special."
A surfer with a fake shark wound then joins the dancers, before one of the women dressed as a shark gives him a lap dance.
The sketch ends with Mr Strange's face brought up on a large TV screen.
"Let's not forget the man who made all this possible," says Jeselnik. "Smile, you son of a bitch."
The video is accompanied by comments from a number of outraged viewers.
"I knew Adam and his family and know the suffering his wife and babies are going through," writes Linda Aubrey. "He was a great young man and a terrific father and husband and anyone that would use the death of another human being like this (calling it humorous) is a sick individual. Those laughing are just as bad if not worse. Great job you idiots. Goal achieved. I'm offended."
"I feel physically ill, I can not believe this, I hope his poor wife and kids don't ever hear or see this," writes Claire Borchard.
"I hope you poor sick people who made this never lose someone in your life as tragic as this, and then have some complete idiots broadcast a joke about it less than 2 weeks after."
Tim Jago, surf lifeguard at Muriwai, told the New Zealand Herald locals were "disgusted".
"The fact that it's in incredibly poor taste isn't in question. I couldn't find where the humour was in it for a start, so it was pretty lame in that respect," he told the paper.
"I guess the thought that ran through my mind was if a New Zealand comedy act tried to make fun out of something like a high school shooting in America, they'd be on our backs and condemning us straight away."
Some on YouTube were quick to turn the joke back on the American comedian.
"In New Zealand we commemorate 9/11 each year by baking a big apple crumble," writes 'mangodennis'.
"This is almost as funny as the time those planes hit that building," writes Luke McAlpine.