Bizarre video: Australia’s leader jokes about zombie, K-Pop, the apocalypse

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard released this 50-second clip in which she appears to address the nation, formally warning that the end of the world is nigh and that the Mayan calendar supposedly predicting the world's end on Dec. 21 "is true."

"My dear remaining fellow Australians. The end of world is coming. It wasn't Y2K, it wasn't even the carbon price. It turns out that the Mayan calendar is true," she says in the mock address, which was reportedly filmed to promote an Australian morning radio show known for its silliness.

"Whether the final blow comes from flesh-eating zombies, demonic hell-beasts or the total triumph of K-Pop, if you know one thing about me, it is this: I will always fight for you to the very end," she says. (K-pop is a reference to the Korean pop music increasingly popular in Western countries.) She adds, "at least this means I won't have to do Q&A again," referring to what Reuters calls "an Australian TV show where politicians usually have to face tough questions from the audience."

Yes, some reporters called up the prime minister's office for comment on the video, and Gillard's spokespeople kept the joke going. "What Australian doesn't mind a laugh from time to time," one told the Australian Herald Sun. "Anyway, the world's going to end tomorrow so shouldn't you be writing about that?"

It's hard to imagine the American head-of-state, or just about any other world leader, doing a similar, mock-press-conference, end-of-the-world routine. Australian comedy is known for its dry irreverence, a sometimes jarring combination if you're not used to it.

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Max Fisher · December 6, 2012

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