After five years on The AM Show, Mark Richardson is stepping down. Stewart Sowman-Lund looks back at all the times the broadcaster gave someone or something a proper slamming on live TV.
If there’s one thing Mark Richardson is good at, it’s slamming. A quick search through the Newshub archives reveals the wide assortment of topics that have faced the AM Show broadcaster’s wrath. He doesn’t just “hit out” at his targets. He never “takes a swipe”. He would certainly never just “criticise”. No, Richardson is a slammer through and through.
Since the mid-2000s, the former Black Cap has built a career out of this anger, whether it be on The Crowd Goes Wild, the Block NZ or that one time he had to do stand-up comedy for charity (suspiciously, there is no footage of this). But no show has given Richardson such a widely viewed platform to fume about literally any topic than The AM Show.
After joining the Three breakfast show in 2017 as a sports newsreader, Richardson has made numerous headlines for his controversial opinions on anything but sport. From that time he criticised Jacinda Ardern for having a child, through to his defences of Donald Trump, Mark Richardson has become a one man headline-generating machine. But later this year those headlines will cease when he and colleague Amanda Gillies leave The AM Show in December.
In honour of his five years on the show, and his long history of slamming, I’ve trawled the web to piece together a timeline of the highest-quality Richardson slams during his AM Show tenure.
March 6, 2018: Mark Richardson slams sanctimonious media sheep
We start in 2018. This is the first documented evidence I can find of Richardson’s love of the slam, but I’m not convinced it’s legitimately the first. It’s a strong entry though: Richardson slammed the New Zealand media for being “sanctimonious sheep”. At first glance this seems like a self-slam considering Richardson co-hosts a daily television news programme. But no! “I’m not a journo and I’m not part of the media,” said Richardson.
Likewise, I’m not a withered husk eating as much level three takeout as I can find.
April 24, 2018: Mark Richardson slams a column about Clarke Gayford
One thing that hasn’t changed since 2018 is that stories about the PM’s partner Clarke Gayford still mean big news. But in 2018, one particularly controversial piece took the nation by storm: a column by Deborah Hill Cone intriguingly titled: “Why does Clarke Gayford bug me?”
Richardson – judge, jury and executioner – quickly slammed it as “dross”.
May 8, 2018: Mark Richardson slams Hillary Clinton slamming Donald Trump
This is some Inception-level slammage! Richardson slamming Hillary Clinton for slamming Donald Trump. This hardcore slam came two years into Trump’s term as president but sure, go after Clinton why don’t you.
July 24, 2019: Mark Richardson slams stores that bow to outrage
In mid-2019, Richardson was outraged at a US department store for “bowing to outrage on social media” after it stopped selling plates that had been criticised for fat shaming.
“Stop buckling to outrage,” slammed Richardson, outraged.
August 1, 2019: Mark Richardson slams All Black Sonny Bill Williams
Finally, Richardson does some sports slamming. This seems… completely appropriate.
August 27, 2019: Mark Richardson slams KFC’s vegan options
Richardson found a partner-in-slam in Duncan Garner when he targeted KFC for launching new vegan options. The ex-host of The AM Show was equally outraged. “That’ll be the end of them,” said Garner. “They should be proudly chicken and say ‘we are all into our meat’.” About a year later, Garner went vegan but presumably stuck to his morals and never visited KFC. As Richardson said: “You’re KFC for goodness sake! You’re Kentucky. Fried. Chicken. Show some courage.”
February 18, 2020: Mark Richardson slams ‘woke’ people ‘generalising’ Kiwis as racist
“Bugger it, I’m going to speak about this,” said Richardson in February of last year, leading to a collective intake of breath from both Amanda Gillies and the entire viewership of The AM Show. “I refuse to be bullied by the very woke media that we have at the moment. I’ve been told I’m racist all the time.” I think I’ll just leave that one.
May 7, 2020: Mark Richardson slams the government
I’m surprised it took until last year for Richardson to direct his slam energy at the government. Richardson has been a vocal political commentator during his time reading the sports news, but in May 2020 he delivered his most vicious slam – and managed to put himself forward for prime minister at the same time. “I might not actually stand in front of the media and smile and be nice, but I can guarantee you I’d run my team and have a better team,” he said.
I’m not saying it’s suspicious timing that Richardson’s leaving The AM Show when National are so desperately seeking a new leader but… I’ll leave it at that.
May 27, 2020: Mark Richardson slams the National Party (under Todd Muller)
An impartial slammist, we ? love ? to ? see ? it!
May 27, 2021: Mark Richardson slams the Blood Moon
Exactly one year later: Richardson’s first slam of 2021. And he took his anger intergalactic, targeting the moon. “Like a half-sucked Oddfellow,” said Richardson of the Blood Moon.
In an exclusive for The Spinoff, the Blood Moon slammed back. “I suppose what I would say to Mr Richardson is that you may be a former test cricketer, the host of a beloved home renovation television programme and a leading New Zealand slammer. But I am the Blood Moon.”
With just a few months left before signing off from The AM Show for good, I wonder whether Richardson can possibly slam any higher than the moon itself. Is resignation the ultimate slam? Or will he be forced to slam himself? I know I’ll be tuning in to find out.