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Hero image for Arts All Blacks announcement by John Clarke

Arts All Blacks announcement by John Clarke

Television (Excerpts) – 2006

John respected and admired people from widely varying fields. There are tributes to sporting champions (All Blacks, swimmers, runners and golfers) which underline that they were heroes to him for much more than their ability at sport, mostly for decency and a sense of proportion. When you add similar appreciations for Seamus Heaney, WH Auden, Jane Austen and other authors you have the sense of a well-rounded man.
– Arts All Black Roger Hall, in a review of John Clarke's last book Tinkering, The Spinoff, 22 February 2018
Clarke understood that New Zealand life was a crucible in which burnt both the sparks of Rugby and The Arts. Clarke brilliantly highlighted the two sides of this bung old coin of a country in his 1995 announcement of a World Cup All Blacks side comprised of artistic practitioners ... the sketch burbled to prominence again in 2012 after Toby Manhire noted the introduction in a leaflet for the New Zealand Literary Heritage Trail written by the then prime minister, John Key. In his endorsement Key made a strange back swipe indicating that our "… literary heroes may never challenge the glory and respect given to our All Blacks …" A sentiment clearly written by someone who’d never heard of Clarke’s Arts-based squad.
– Writer Jose Barbosa on John Clarke's All Black team, The Spinoff, 10 April 2017
...in my head at that time was that very particular sound that I used to hear when I was a kid: of the team being announced after the trials under the stand in sepulchral tones, in an echoey kind of venue, as if it were the most important thing in the history of the universe.
– John Clarke on being inspired by memories of All Black team announcements as a child
They've got this very fond very emotional attachment to him, but because it was pre-YouTube, pre-internet, it's this thing that sits in our minds that isn't necessarily accurate.
– Comedy veteran Paul Horan on memories of John Clarke's comedy in an internet age, The Sunday Star-Times, 18 August 2019