Chas Licciardello in 2007
|Birth name||Charles John Licciardello|
|Born||10 May 1977|
|Medium||Print, television, radio and stage|
|Years active||1999 – present|
|Notable works and roles|
Chas John Licciardello (born 10 May 1977) is an Australian comedian and member of satirical team The Chaser. Licciardello has appeared as a regular of CNNNN, The Chaser's War on Everything and The Hamster Wheel.
Chas attended Sydney Grammar School where he produced and edited The Tiger, a small satirical school magazine, with fellow Chaser writers Charles Firth and Dominic Knight. He graduated from the University of Sydney with a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Science majoring in physics and computer science. He met his wife, Dr Jocelyn Laurence, in a physics laboratory. He also met Craig Reucassel, Andrew Hansen and Julian Morrow at the University of Sydney through the Arts Revue, Honi Soit, and campus politics.
Licciardello is a member of the comedy crew, The Chaser. His television career began in 2001, when he appeared on The Chaser Decides. This show satirised the then-upcoming Australian Federal Elections. He also appeared on these spin-off series, in 2004 and 2007.
He then appeared on the CNNNN program, for two seasons, airing in 2002 and 2003.
Licciardello's popularity with Australian television viewers, and the media, along with the other members of The Chaser team, rose in 2006. He appeared on The Chaser's War on Everything, for three seasons, airing in 2006, 2007 and 2009.
In 2012, Licciardello co-hosted Planet America on ABC News 24. This show focused on the American political story, leading towards the Presidential Elections that were held in November 2012. In early 2016 Licciardello resumed his hosting duties of "Planet America", in the lead up to the 2016 U.S. Presidential and Congressional Elections in November 2016.
On 14 July 2006, Licciardello attended a National Rugby League football match between the Canterbury Bulldogs and the St George Illawarra Dragons as part of a stunt for The Chaser's War on Everything that was meant to satirise the then-recent violent actions of Bulldogs fans. Dressed in a Bulldogs' jersey and beanie, he attempted to sell a "Bulldogs supporters' kit" containing fake knives, knuckledusters, and balaclavas in the team's colours. Licciardello was arrested by New South Wales Police and charged with Offensive Conduct. Licciardello explained that the skit "poked fun at the misbehaviour of Bulldogs fans" knowing that "a lot of people thought it was funny."
Licciardello was quick to dispute his charges on the show. The following Friday, he appeared on The Chaser's War on Everything in a cage before referring to the NSW Premier, Morris Iemma's own joke regarding residents of crime-riddled suburbs wearing balaclavas. Iemma had described the Bulldogs stunt as "grossly irresponsible behaviour."
On 29 August 2006, in Kogarah Local Court, Licciardello pleaded not guilty to the charge. The matter was adjourned until 12 October. On 22 January 2007, magistrate Joanne Keogh said she would view an unedited video of the incident, totalling 50 minutes, to decide Licciardello's fate. Licciardello gave no evidence in the matter, letting The Chaser team's film speak for him. He was subsequently found not guilty as the magistrate found that "while his behaviour could be perceived as silly conduct, it was not offensive."
The decision was hailed a "victory for free speech". Licciardello was in the best of humour after the decision, and was reported as saying he would "appeal to the Supreme Court, the High Court, to the UN, the Jedi High Council and the Snickometer" before being reminded he had won the case.
One of the most controversial stunts in which Licciardello was involved was the APEC stunt in 2007. Fellow Chaser Julian Morrow claimed that he and Licciardello aimed to get a majority of their members arrested amidst the high security surrounding the APEC Australia 2007 summit in Sydney, adding jokingly that they also aimed to get Licciardello shot.
Footage aired on The Chaser's War on Everything on 12 September 2007 showed the fake "motorcade" consisting of two SUVs, a black Holden limousine flying a Canadian flag on the bonnet, four "runners" (one of whom was Morrow) carrying hand-held video cameras and two motorcycles. They passed through two security checkpoints without being stopped by police or asked for identification; at one point, the footage showed Morrow offering to present identification to a police officer, however he was waved through without this occurring. The motorcade reached a point 10 metres outside the hotel where U.S. President George W. Bush was staying. Police only realised that the motorcade was a hoax when Licciardello, dressed as Osama bin Laden, voluntarily stepped out of the limousine.
Following the incident, Licciardello and Morrow were detained and questioned by NSW Police on 6 September 2007 outside the InterContinental Hotel, and were charged under the APEC Meeting (Police Powers) Act 2007. The charges were dropped in April 2008. They were dropped because his lawyers stated that he was waved through the blockades and he had to do what the police said.
During the Chaser recess, Licciardello appeared on the panel of My Favourite Album an ABC TV special, showcasing Australia's top ten albums as voted by the public. He also filled in on Triple M's drive time slot during the summer of 2007 with fellow Chaser colleague Dominic Knight with their show Chas and Dom from 'The Chaser'.
On 25 May 2008 Licciardello and Craig Reucassel were guests on channel Ten's Rove. Their interview concluded with the '20 Bucks in 20 Seconds' segment. When Rove McManus asked the only question that is asked to every guest, "Who would you turn gay for?", Chas responded in annoyance that everyone answered "I'd turn gay for you, Rove" but that nobody ever followed up on it. He then leapt on Rove and French kissed him, before licking Rove on the face.
In 2009, for a stunt featured in the series finale of The Chaser's War on Everything, he received heavy dosages of botox, lip injections and spray tanning on the left side of his body so as to bear a similarity to Daniel Craig. The amount of botox was so heavy that it lasted when he made his appearance on The 7 pm Project, over 3 months after the botox was injected into the right side of his face. Licciardello is currently the Script Comedy Consultant for the ABC topical news show Hungry Beast and continues to work with the other Chasers on The Hamster Wheel.
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