Clarke and his partner, Bryan Dawe, made up the Clarke and Dawe spoof-interview team, which had a long run on the ABC. They performed their "The Front Fell Off" oil spill sketch back in 1991. When a video of it was circulated online more than 15 years later, the sketch perplexed and amused millions of people, prompting Snopes to clarify that the pair were parodying reaction to an actual oil spill by a Greek tanker — which had indeed "lost its bow off the coast of Western Australia," as a government site notes.
In 2010, the pair took on BP's U.S. oil spill for another sketch in which Clarke's character noted, "The first thing to do in an event like that is to underestimate the problem."
Long before his turn as an Internet star, Clarke was a star in the comedy scenes in Australia and New Zealand. He wrote books and scripts; he recorded songs; he conjured up the sport of "farnarkeling" and covered it doggedly.
From the ABC:
"He came to attention in his native New Zealand in the 1970s when he created the iconic character, Fred Dagg, a country bloke dressed in a black singlet, shorts and gumboots.
"He co-wrote the multi-award winning mockumentary The Games, about the Sydney Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games, which aired in 1999 and 2000."
The character of Fred Dagg remains beloved and admired. Upon learning of Clarke's death, Jemaine Clement of the comedy duo The Conchords shared an early mockumentary segment featuring Dagg and his "approximately half a dozen" sons — all of whom were named Trevor.
"So subtle and hilarious," Clement wrote.