Kamahl gracefully hit back at a white Hey Hey It’s Saturday star after questioning the singer for waiting 37 years to say he was the target of racism on the show.
During a sketch on the variety show in 1984, Kandiah ‘Kamahl’ Kamalesvaran’s face was covered in white powder by a stage hand before host John Blackman shouted off screen, ‘You’re a real white now, Kamahl, you know that. ? ‘
The Malaysian-born singer said in an interview on Saturday that he felt ‘humiliated’ by the ‘offensive’ skit, prompting Blackman to hurry up and say he would have stopped making ‘further’ racist ‘comments’ like this at the time.
But on Sunday, Kamahl responded to the 73-year-old, saying he didn’t respond to the incident nearly four decades ago because “ it’s all about timing. ”
Kandiah ‘Kamahl’ Kamalesvaran (pictured) is an Australian singer who was born in Malaysia to Tamil Hindu parents
In a scene on Hey Hey It’s Saturday, a stage hand threw white powder in Kamahl’s face before voiceover artist John Blackman shouted ‘you’re a real white man now’ (pictured)
“John Blackman wants to know why I did not file any complaints at the time,” he wrote on Twitter.
Blackman, you know from all people it’s all about timing. There is a time for everything. Why are so many people so unkind? ‘
In his interview on Saturday, the 86-year-old said The Guardian: “There were some instances where I felt humiliated, but I didn’t want to object or protest.”
“I kept smiling and pretending everything was okay.”
He said the 1984 sketch was one of the worst examples of the show, which ran on Nine from 1971 to 1999, and said, “I thought that was quite insulting.”
John Blackman (pictured) took to Facebook to ask why Kamahl hadn’t expressed concerns with him about the comment at the time
“John Blackman wants to know why I did not file any complaints at the time,” Kamahl wrote on Twitter
“Friends of mine in America have seen that and to this day they can’t believe anyone would treat an artist with such disdain.”
After the interview, Blackman used Facebook to lash out at Kamahl.
“Thank goodness Kamahl, 37 and you are still” humiliated, “Blackman wrote.
‘You knew where my booth was!
“If you felt so sad about my ‘joke,’ you should have marched up to it, had a quiet word in my ear, and I would have refrained from making any further ‘racist’ comments forever.”
While the former voiceover artist admitted he sometimes ‘cringe at what we got away with’ when looking back on old episodes, he doubled down on his comments in a fiery tweet on Monday.
Pictured: A scene on Hey Hey It’s Saturday where Kamahl was doused in white powder. On Saturday, the singer said the sketch left him ‘humiliated’
John Blackman worked on the show for 28 years, from 1971 to 1999 (cast shown)
Kamahl joins the Cancel Culture Club – retroactive strikes [Hey Hey It’s Saturday], ‘Blackman wrote.
He compared firing HHIS to “shooting Bambi or fish in a barrel,” saying, “Good man, Kamahl.”
When asked if he thought Hey Hey could come back, Kamahl cautiously told The Guardian that he was in favor of ‘smart’ and ‘witty’ humor, but ‘if it’s c ** p, we might be able to do without’.
His comments came days after Daryl Somers, who returns to the small screen to host Dancing With The Stars All-Stars, sparked controversy when he said Hey Hey wouldn’t survive the current cancellation culture climate.
“ You probably couldn’t get away with half of the things you could do on Hey Hey right now because of the political correctness and the cancellation culture, ” he told News Corp.
“It’s a shame, because showbiz doesn’t get much of a chance.”
A comment was also made about Kamahl having to smile so that ‘we can see him’ (photo) during the show
In one scene, Daryl Somers wore blackface while impersonating Malaysian-born singer Kamahl
The show made regular use of cartoons and drawings, one of which depicted Kamahl with a bone through his nose
Going back to the comments, Kamahl said he believed some people were missing the point when using the term “ cancel culture. ”
“They’re just trying to limit unnecessarily vulgar or crude terminology or jokes or whatever,” he said.
Kamahl accepted that his profile had been helped by appearing on shows like Hey Hey, and admitted that he needed the fame to build his career and popularity – although he didn’t realize what a ‘minefield’ it would be.
“There were some instances where I felt humiliated, but I didn’t want to object or protest,” he said.
He explained that he coped with it by smiling and “pretending everything was okay,” without wanting to ruin his own career.
“You were born and raised in Sydney?” In another episode, Somers (right) appeared to be fooling a third generation Sino-Australian audience member (center) when he introduced her to the camera
In one segment, Kamahl’s face was covered in white chalk dust as he sang – in one of many examples of controversial sketches
A montage of some of the most controversial Hey Hey jokes featuring Kamahl was shared on social media this week, drawing comments mainly in support of the singer.
A particularly scandalous joke saw the lighting department ask Kamahl to smile so that ‘we can see him’.
Another extraordinary clip since the re-release shows a much younger Somers wearing a blackface pretending to be Kamahl.
Somers darkened his skin with makeup and wore a wig while performing on stage with the singer.
Somers is now set to host Seven’s reboot of Dancing with the Stars, after hosting the original seven seasons from 2004 to 2007. Shown with Sonia Kruger
Other jokes depicted cartoon versions of him with a bone through his nose, and as a pair of bright white teeth against a black background.
In one scene, an off-screen voice was pondering whether his new album might turn ‘black’ instead of gold.
A clip showed Somers laughing at a third generation Sino-Australian audience member when he introduced her to the camera.
“I’m originally from Sydney,” the woman said.
Somers then asked, ‘You were born and raised in Sydney? I thought you were saying your background is abroad somewhere. So no one in the family speaks Chinese? ‘
Kamahl did not blame host Somers, suggesting that he did not blame him, saying he was a ‘bystander’ who did not ‘encourage or stop’ the jokes.
Footage has surfaced of Daryl Somers’ most shocking moments on the classic variety show Hey Hey It’s Saturday, which ran in its first run for 28 years
Somers told the Daily Telegraph he was not happy with the shift of public taste to more ‘politically correct’ jokes, but accepted that the world is changing.
“ A lot of comics can’t work much because what would have been just ironic before can easily get them into trouble, ” he said.
‘I can’t say I’m in love with it, but it’s a changing world we live in and you just have to work around things.’
Hey Hey It’s Saturday ran on The Nine Network for 28 years from 1971 to 1999, before returning for special episodes in 2009.
In 2010, a new 20-episode season went into service, but the variety show did not return in 2011.
During its run, Hey Hey It’s Saturday had quite a bit of controversy.
Last year, TV veteran Somers was called up to perform Louis Armstrong’s What a Wonderful World in blackface on the 1980s show.
Another incident in 2009 involved a comedy troupe dressed as the Jackson Five in blackface for Hey Hey’s regular Red Faces talent show segment.
American singer Harry Connick Jr. was a guest judge on the program and gave the performance a score of zero, saying he would never have appeared on the show had he known it was going to be blackface.
Somers apologized to Harry at the end of the live segment, saying, ‘We may have offended you with that act and I apologize deeply on behalf of all of us.
“Knowing that to your countrymen, it’s an insult to have such a blackface routine on the show, so I apologize.”