Brian Edwards Media

Not getting the laughs? No worries, mate – just say f*** and c*** a lot!

My extremely intelligent two-year-old grandson, Johnny Rakai, recently invented his own naughty word – ‘poonana’. For several weeks he went around saying to everyone, ‘You’re a poonana!’ I was not excluded. ‘You’re a poonana, Grandad!’ He would burst out laughing and, for a while, so would we. After a time, of course, it ceased to be funny and we dealt with the situation in that infuriating adult way, by not being shocked and not laughing. Because he is extremely intelligent, Johnny Rakai quickly read the omens and moved on.

Watching last night’s comedy train-wreck Roast of Mike King on Comedy Central I was reminded of Johnny Rakai’s ‘poonana’ – infantile, intended to shock, clever in a two-year-old. I’d prefer to leave the comparison there; anything further would be an insult to my grandson.

If you were fortunate enough to have missed last night’s show, I should tell you that Mike King was ‘roasted’ by Brendan Lovegrove, Michelle A’Court, Jeremy Elwood, Andrew Clay, Dean Butler, Jan Maree and host Willy de Wit.

There were some clever lines, some demonstrations of wit in the programme, but they were few and far between, host, roasters and roastee preferring to rely on peppering everything they said with ‘fuck’, ‘fucking’, ‘cunt’ and jokes about one another’s vaginas, ‘tits’ and ‘cocks’. I didn’t count, but the number of times these words and references were made over the 45 minutes of air time, must have run into the hundreds. This is the template provided by the American version of the show. 

This is not a post about bad language on television. We’re all pretty used to that now. It’s a post about comedy.

Some years ago, in an interview with the brilliant Ben Elton, I raised the question of why stand-up comics, including himself and Billy Connelly, felt the need to keep saying ‘fuck’ and sometimes ‘cunt’ in their performances. Having told me first that his mother was always asking him that question, Elton replied that it wasn’t something he did in everyday life and wasn’t something he really wanted to do on stage. But ‘you just had to do it’. It was something that audiences had come to expect. Without it, the humour lost its edge.

With it, it seems to me, the humour can get buried or, as in the Roast of Mike King, replaced by the profanity. Watching the show last night, it occurred to me that the deluge of  ‘fucks’ and ‘cunts’ and genital references indicated a lack of confidence by the performers in their material. If it isn’t really witty or clever, say ‘fuck’ and ‘cunt’ a lot. The ironic outcome was that those who swore least, were the funniest. At the other end of the scale, Brendan Lovegrove, who managed to get two or more ‘fucks’ into every sentence, was a witless embarrassment, equalled only  by Jan Maree whose schtick is apparently to portray herself  as a slut and point at her vagina.

There were comics on the show whom I know and admire, including Michelle A’Court, Jeremy Elwood and Mike King himself, but really no-one on the programme had the courage to rely on cleverness and wit, unaided by four-letter words.

There is also a distinction to be drawn between ‘comedy’ and ‘telling jokes’. The truly great comics are rarely mere joke-tellers. They have a unique identity, character, persona, call it what you will, that distinguishes them from every other comic. They are funny.  Bill Bailey and Eddie Izard are two classic contemporary examples. They almost never tell jokes.

Most of last night’s performers were joke-tellers, with Mike King himself as New Zealand’s prime example of the genre. It’s a legacy of years performing in pubs and clubs and on open-mike stages, where you’ve got five minutes to win them over or face the consequences. Les Dawson once said of appearing in front of this sort of audience in Glasgow, ‘If they like you, they let you live.’

I’m not angry about this programme, not even offended. It just seems a pity to me that instead of cloning the crassest, least funny show on American television, Comedy Central could have spent the money showcasing our comedic talent on a new genuinely local programme or even on lots more episodes of the excellent – some poonana-ing but not too much – 7 Days.

This effort, ladies and gentlemen, was just an insult to your audience.

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51 Comments:

  1. I know just what you mean when you say the real comedy gets lost amongst the profanity. It’s simply not necessary.
    BTW – I’d be most interested to know what ‘poonana’ means. lol

  2. Real humour does not rely on obscenity. The words have a shock value but once the shock wears off they are mere words. I am not sure whether their constant use says more for the mentality of the user or of the audience.

    It is probably why I am stuck in a time warp of the 1980’s and earlier when great comedy needed no embellishment. It is probably why I find a lot of modern writing tiresome because authors like comedians increasingly feel the need to sprinkle the pages with obscenities.

    It is strange that writers such as Dickens managed an accurate portrayal of life in the slums of London without using the word fuck once. Wodehouse managed to make his readers laugh with not so much as a bloody in his books.

  3. Allow me to join the “me toos”. I didn’t see the Mike King roast but a few months ago saw the Pamela Anderson one screened on Comedy Central. It was appalling – just a swearword-fest, with panel and audience rolling about pretending it was hilarious. Perhaps they were laughing with shock – they certainly can’t have been laughing with amusement, because almost nothing the roasters said was actually witty or funny. The programme ruined me for watching any future such roasts. So if the Mike King event was was anything like that – and it does indeed sound to have been the template – then the Kiwi version must have been dire indeed. What a lost opportunity for NZ comedy.

  4. BTW – I’d be most interested to know what ‘poonana’ means. lol

    Well, after much searching, I found it myself.

  5. “Watching the show last night, it occurred to me that the deluge of ‘fucks’ and ‘cunts’ and genital references indicated a lack of confidence by the performers in their material. If it isn’t really witty or clever, say ‘fuck’ and ‘cunt’ a lot.”

    Now that goes right to the very heart of what I’ve been thinking for a long, long time about a lot of New Zealand stand-up Comedy.

    It became obvious to me about 15 years ago – both from seeing live stand-up and on that weekly TV show. Jan Maree and one other comedienne (whose name I forget) seemed to be the two worst offenders at the time. Not so much a lack of confidence in their material, more a complete lack of material in the first place. And so to camouflage, they gave us this kind of dreary routine of sexual banality, obviously with a view to shocking as many wallflowers and former convent-schoolgirls as possible into highly embarrassed laughter. It just seemed very, very desperate to me.

    Don’t mind the odd use of ‘fuck’ and ‘cunt’ if it’s an intergral facet of the material, but for chrissakes !, not as some sort of desperate substitue for the material itself.

    A good example of the way ‘cunt’ can be used to good effect (albeit in a sit-com rather than stand-up) is the “Beloved Aunt’ episode of Larry David’s ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’. When Cheryl’s aunt dies, her parents ask Larry to write the obituary and place it in the LA Times. But when the paper comes out, an unfortunate typo sees the ‘a’ in ‘aunt’ replaced with a ‘c’. It thus reads: “Devoted Sister, Beloved Cunt…” Cheryl’s outraged family are convinced Larry did it on purpose.

  6. I saw half of it. Brendon Lovegrove having a go at Polytechs was a low point. Perhaps I missed something as I fought off sleep, but comparing Polytech education to some IHC programme was a bit sad.

    And then there’s the live audience…they were so polite…shifting embarrassedly in their seats when they really do just wanted to leave leave…having paid to be there.

    The problem isn’t necessarily the comedians – at least they were up there trying…and dying. The problem was the importance given the whole thing…there just wasn’t enough talent to fit the bill.

  7. Oh dear…

    Urban Dictionary:
    Ponana
    often pronounced: ‘poonanny’ – vagina, or more loosely, young women.
    orig. Jamaican patois
    Her thong was so tight, you coudn’t miss the ponana.

    • Urban Dictionary:Ponana often pronounced: ‘poonanny’ – vagina, or more loosely, young women. orig. Jamaican patois Her thong was so tight, you coudn’t miss the ponana.

      Thanks, The Real Tony, just found it myself. And isn’t there some association with Milley Cyrus. I’m right out of my depth here. Must ask Johnny Rakai.

      • Now here’s the fascinating question – did a two-year-old inadvertently make up a ‘rude word’ that was coincidentally a real ‘rude word’? Or did he hear it somewhere?

        How many Jamaicans are there in Auckland who discuss their poonanas in front of toddlers ?

  8. Lee Mack and David Mitchell can keep an ad-free 30 minutes of comedy going on the BBC on prime time (Would I Lie to You?). Genuinely funny and never a f*** or a c***. For comedians such as they it is unnecessary. I’m sure they could throw it in but they are beyond it. NZ comedy, and comedians, have a way to go?

  9. A few weeks ago I happened to catch a hilarious profanity-free performance by a Welsh stand-up comedian on TV1, 2 or 3 – can’t remember which. I wish I knew his name.

  10. Further to the above, I have now done some googling and found his name: Mark Watson.

  11. I find the character of Chopper on 7 days funny because the profanity fits with his character.Most of the other times I find it doesnt work for me.Eddie Murphy and Richard Pryer were terrible examples of comedy being destroyed by profanity.I note 7 days has lurched more in this direction lately and the really funny bits relie on good humour rather than profanity.With the exception of Chopper.

    • I find the character of Chopper on 7 days funny because the profanity fits with his character.Most of the other times I find it doesnt work for me

      That goes to my point about comedians having a particular persona. So you may well have a point.

  12. I have found that any word with ‘poo’ in it can reduce a child to fits of hysterical giggles.

    ‘Fart’ seems to add to the fun, too.

    Two of mine seemed especially to delight in calling everyone ‘poofart’.

  13. “A few weeks ago I happened to catch a hilarious profanity-free performance by a Welsh stand-up comedian on TV1, 2 or 3 – can’t remember which. I wish I knew his name” Cav39

    Was it Rhod Gilbert on Live at the Apollo? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hwpwMS4dGxk&feature=related

  14. “Now here’s the fascinating question – did a two-year-old inadvertently make up a ‘rude word’ that was coincidentally a real ‘rude word’? Or did he hear it somewhere?

    How many Jamaicans are there in Auckland who discuss their poonanas in front of toddlers ?” JC

    Or perhaps he lives with an ‘Ali G’ Fan….Ali G is one of the characters created by Sasha Baron Cohen that is a micky take of white youths in the UK that think they have jamaican roots and he references ‘Poonani’ usually when he talks about his girlfriend “me Julie, innit” several links on You Tube, which I won’t attach in case of offending ;-)

  15. I am a little curious.
    If the program was really that awful why did you watch for 45 minutes?
    Does your TV not have an off switch.

    • I am a little curious. If the program was really that awful why did you watch for 45 minutes? Does your TV not have an off switch.

      Because, among other things, I’m a media commentator, Alwyn, and this is media website. Doh! I can’t comment on or review programmes I haven’t seen. Though you may know the true story of an English theatre critic, renowned for leaving after the first act of every play, but reviewing the whole thing on that basis. He apparently retired to the pub to write his review and then went home. Hiis career ended when he gave a scathing review to a play only to find his review not printed the following morning. The front page story was about how a fire had broken out at the beginnining of the second act and the theatre had burned to the ground. Fortunately no one was injured.

  16. Good topic Brian. Just noted the Public Address Word of The Year announced this week was “Twatcock.” Maybe that says where we are at right now.

    • Good topic Brian. Just noted the Public Address Word of The Year announced this week was “Twatcock.” Maybe that says where we are at right now.

      Indeed, John. If there’s another Kiwi roast on Comedy Central, I’d really like to issue a challenge to the performers not to say anything stronger than ‘bloody’ during the show, to see whether they got fewer laughs. Of course there may be a four-letter-word quota in their contracts.

  17. Bill Bailey said that he avoids swearing in his stand up because of the law of diminishing returns. NZ comedians would do well to learn that lesson.

    Flight of the Conchords got a lot funnier when they dropped most of the swearing from their act for their radio & tv shows. “flip” is much funnier.

    • Bill Bailey said that he avoids swearing in his stand up because of the law of diminishing returns

      Yes. I expected to receive some comment noting the extensive use of ‘feck’, ‘fecker’ and ‘fecking’ on Judy’s Fascinating Aida post. In fact the word is used in Ireland by men and women alike as commonly as ‘bloody’ and is no more offensive. The original meaning of the word ‘feck’ was to steal or ‘nick’. It may have taken on its current meaning through differing in only one letter from ‘fuck’. I’m not sure. But you can gauge how serious it is from the fact that it regularly appeared in Father Ted, broadcast in prime time.

  18. Beat me to it – was about to say that the supremely funny Flight of the Conchords is fairly!!X*&4! free

  19. “Watching the show last night, it occurred to me that the deluge of ’fucks’ and ‘cunts’ and genital references indicated a lack of confidence by the performers in their material.”

    I am wondering it has as much to do with comedians’ lack of confidence in the audience. I like my comedic humour to be edgy. But perhaps there are too many areas these days that aren’t safe to laugh at. Profane language, especially words like ‘fuck’ and ‘cunt’ until quite recently were not to be heard on TV at all. Rrecently I heard on TV a number of female voices caressing the word ‘minge’ – one I hadn’t heard these 40-odd years…

    Profane language seems safe, even though it sounds… erm… risky.

    Yet their use can be funny. The following exchange occurred in a casual colloquy I overheard nearly 40 years ago between two personages who were to become well-known in this country. If they ever read this, they might recognise themselves.

    He: So-and-so is a cunt.
    She (mildly): I notice you use the female genitalia as your pejorative of choice.
    He: Sorry about that. So-and-so is a prick.

    Although New Zealand comedy is off-and-on funny, the cringe factor is never very distant. But I think the reason I very rarely bother to watch it is that it seems to lack bite somehow. Bland. Safe. Good for a chuckle, maybe. But nothing to raise the ‘gotcha’ roar of a good belly laugh.

    • I am wondering it has as much to do with comedians’ lack of confidence in the audience.

      New Zealand comedy ‘bland’, ‘safe’?

      7 Days has got to be the exception. Just watched tonight’s episode. Very funny indeed and largely four-letter-word free.

  20. Thanks for the heads-up. I’ve never watched it before now.

  21. I’m an omnivore when it comes to comedy. I enjoy pretty much it all from subtle irony to Roger Hall plays, to witty after dinner speakers to the clever crassness of Southpark and the blatant crassness of celebrity roasts.

    Having watched the US comedy central roasts (which did amaze me they were allowed on TV), the Mike King roast was exactly in line with those ones. In fact I wouldn’t be surprised if there was editorial guidance that it was to be similar.

    • Having watched the US comedy central roasts (which did amaze me they were allowed on TV), the Mike King roast was exactly in line with those ones. In fact I wouldn’t be surprised if there was editorial guidance that it was to be similar.

      I haven’t checked this out, but I suspect the New Zealand programme is an exact copy being made under licence. The same is true of New Zealand’s Next Top Model and the New Zealand version of Idol. In each case the producers have to folow the American format to the letter. This may include the extensive use of four-letter-words and genital references which you are comfortable with but I am not.

  22. Good topic Brian. Just noted the Public Address Word of The Year announced this week was “Twatcock.” Maybe that says where we are at right now.

    Oh, get over yourself Drinnan. Or get over me, whatever works.

    The humour was in our reliably liberal readers feeling the need for a robust but non-gendered insult. Tom Beard coined “twatcock” in a discussion of whatever it was Paul Henry had said or done at the time (none of this could have happened without Paul Henry) and a word was born.

    Our readers are fond of neologisms and portmanteau words, but I was still surprised at the way “twatcock” romped home in the vote. And now we’re getting reports of “twatcock” being used in the wild.

    So when I’m old and my mokopuna gather round and ask “Grandpa, what did you do for New Zealand?” I’ll be able to say:

    “I helped facilitate the entry of a new, non-gendered profanity to the local vernacular.”

  23. So glad, Patricia Bartlett isn’t around here today to witness the filth.

  24. i was told, afew years back, that fuck was originally created in , i think he said, in the 1800s as a criminal charge. it was – for unlawful carnal knowledge. don’t know how right that was but sounded plausible.

  25. Ah. Thank you for the response. I hadn’t considered that you were doing it as a duty rather than for pleasure.
    The job of doing TV reviews has always seemd to be a very easy occupation. I hadn’t thought of the possibility of being forced to watch the rubbish that fills so much time on air.
    I think I had better have a break for a nice cup of tea (or whatever it was that David Lange said).
    Or a lie down anyway.

    • Ah. Thank you for the response. I hadn’t considered that you were doing it as a duty rather than for pleasure.

      I don’t watch television ‘as a duty’. It happens to be part of my occupation as a media consultant and media commentator. Fortunately I love watching televisioin. In the case of The Mike Knig Roast, I watched because it was a new programme and because I love comedy. Turned out to be not much fun. I guess them’s the breaks!

  26. was told, afew years back, that fuck was originally created in , i think he said, in the 1800s as a criminal charge. it was – for unlawful carnal knowledge. don’t know how right that was but sounded plausible.

    No!

    fuck (v.)
    until recently a difficult word to trace, in part because it was taboo to the editors of the original OED when the “F” volume was compiled, 1893-97. Written form only attested from early 16c. OED 2nd edition cites 1503, in the form fukkit; earliest appearance of current spelling is 1535 — “Bischops … may fuck thair fill and be vnmaryit” [Sir David Lyndesay, “Ane Satyre of the Thrie Estaits”], but presumably it is a much more ancient word than that, simply one that wasn’t written in the kind of texts that have survived from O.E. and M.E. Buck cites proper name John le Fucker from 1278. The word apparently is hinted at in a scurrilous 15c. poem, titled “Flen flyys,” written in bastard Latin and M.E. The relevant line reads:
    Non sunt in celi
    quia fuccant uuiuys of heli
    “They [the monks] are not in heaven because they fuck the wives of [the town of] Ely.” Fuccant is pseudo-Latin, and in the original it is written in cipher. The earliest examples of the word otherwise are from Scottish, which suggests a Scandinavian origin, perhaps from a word akin to Norwegian dialectal fukka “copulate,” or Swedish dialectal focka “copulate, strike, push,” and fock “penis.” Another theory traces it to M.E. fyke, fike “move restlessly, fidget,” which also meant “dally, flirt,” and probably is from a general North Sea Germanic word; cf. M.Du. fokken, Ger. ficken “fuck,” earlier “make quick movements to and fro, flick,” still earlier “itch, scratch;” the vulgar sense attested from 16c. This would parallel in sense the usual M.E. slang term for “have sexual intercourse,” swive, from O.E. swifan “to move lightly over, sweep” (see swivel). But OED remarks these “cannot be shown to be related” to the English word. Chronology and phonology rule out Shipley’s attempt to derive it from M.E. firk “to press hard, beat.”

    French foutre and Italian fottere look like the English word but are unrelated, derived rather from L. futuere, which is perhaps from PIE base *bhau(t)- “knock, strike off,” extended via a figurative use “from the sexual application of violent action” [Shipley; cf. the sexual slang use of bang, etc.]. Popular and Internet derivations from acronyms (and the “pluck yew” fable) are merely ingenious trifling. The O.E. word was hæman, from ham “dwelling, home,” with a sense of “take home, co-habit.” Fuck was outlawed in print in England (by the Obscene Publications Act, 1857) and the U.S. (by the Comstock Act, 1873). As a noun, it dates from 1670s. The word may have been shunned in print, but it continued in conversation, especially among soldiers during WWI.
    It became so common that an effective way for the soldier to express this emotion was to omit this word. Thus if a sergeant said, ‘Get your —-ing rifles!’ it was understood as a matter of routine. But if he said ‘Get your rifles!’ there was an immediate implication of urgency and danger. [John Brophy, “Songs and Slang of the British Soldier: 1914-1918,” pub. 1930]
    The legal barriers broke down in the 20th century, with the “Ulysses” decision (U.S., 1933) and “Lady Chatterley’s Lover” (U.S., 1959; U.K., 1960). Johnson excluded the word, and fuck wasn’t in a single English language dictionary from 1795 to 1965. “The Penguin Dictionary” broke the taboo in the latter year. Houghton Mifflin followed, in 1969, with “The American Heritage Dictionary,” but it also published a “Clean Green” edition without the word, to assure itself access to the lucrative public high school market.

    The abbreviation F (or eff) probably began as euphemistic, but by 1943 it was being used as a cuss word, too. In 1948, the publishers of “The Naked and the Dead” persuaded Norman Mailer to use the euphemism fug instead. When Mailer later was introduced to Dorothy Parker, she greeted him with, “So you’re the man who can’t spell ‘fuck’ ” [The quip sometimes is attributed to Tallulah Bankhead]. Hemingway used muck in “For whom the Bell Tolls” (1940). The major breakthrough in publication was James Jones’ “From Here to Eternity” (1950), with 50 fucks (down from 258 in the original manuscript). Egyptian legal agreements from the 23rd Dynasty (749-21 B.C.E.) frequently include the phrase, “If you do not obey this decree, may a donkey copulate with you!” [Reinhold Aman, “Maledicta,” Summer 1977]. Fuck-all “nothing” first recorded 1960.

    Verbal phrase fuck up “to ruin, spoil, destroy” first attested c.1916. A widespread group of Slavic words (cf. Pol. pierdolić) can mean both “fornicate” and “make a mistake.” Fuck off attested from 1929; as a command to depart, by 1944. Flying fuck originally meant “have sex on horseback” and is first attested c.1800 in broadside ballad “New Feats of Horsemanship.” For the unkillable urban legend that this word is an acronym of some sort (a fiction traceable on the Internet to 1995 but probably predating that) see here, and also here. Related: Fucked; fucking. Agent noun fucker attested from 1590s in literal sense; by 1893 as a term of abuse (or admiration).
    DUCK F-CK-R. The man who has the care of the poultry on board a ſhip of war. [“Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue,” 1796]

  27. well- fuccant me!
    thanks leopold.

  28. I agree. Way too much profanity which ditracts from the real humour.

    After seeing a couple of funny films with Eddie Murphy in them, I got a video out ages ago of his stand up show. I think it was the first time id ever heard the word ‘mother fucker’. I watched it for five minutes further and heard that word more than any other. It was repulsive and Ive never bothered with anything Eddie Murphy since!

    • After seeing a couple of funny films with Eddie Murphy in them, I got a video out ages ago of his stand up show. I think it was the first time id ever heard the word ‘mother fucker’.

      This whole area is interesting and involves quite subtle distinctions, generally affected by the context and by the user. As it happens, I think ‘motherfucker’ is a wonderful term of abuse, given its literal meaning. I can’t imagine myself using it, though I can imagine myself telling someone to ‘fuck off’ or using ‘fucking’ as an adjective. That may reflect the view that ‘motherfucker’ belongs to black American vernacular and falls uneasily from the lips of white people.

  29. That may reflect the view that ‘motherfucker’ belongs to black American vernacular and falls uneasily from the lips of white people.

    It does refer to incest, which is a bit icky.

    That’s why you’ll often see it contracted to “mofo”. Prince, bless his heart, uses the euphemism “mamma-jamma”, which means the same thing.

    Also, Melvyn Bragg covers the evolution of “anglo-saxon” swear words rather well in The Adventure of English TV series.

  30. Why on earth would you watch what you KNOW is going to be train wreck? Eveything the seriously UNfunny Mike King and his cohorts have ever done foreshadowed that it would be so.

    • Why on earth would you watch what you KNOW is going to be train wreck? Eveything the seriously UNfunny Mike King and his cohorts have ever done foreshadowed that it would be so.

      I didn’t ‘know’ that. There were at least three very funny people among the roasters.

  31. Gulp! No offense to you personally Russell – I thought “twatcock” was selected by Public Address readers. I was just venturing the opinion that when it gets to a good middle class site like Public Address chooses “twatcock” as its word of the year, sexualised insults have become part of mainstream media discourse. I wish you luck – the word twatcock may yet become a part of the local vernacular. When you are talking to your grandkids it might even be regarded as a taonga.

  32. “That may reflect the view that ‘motherfucker’ belongs to black American vernacular and falls uneasily from the lips of white people.”

    Hence the Joke

    Scene – Public School somewhere in urban America
    A teacher asks her class what noise does a Pig make?

    Tyrone puts up his hand and immediately blurts out: “Freeze Motherfucker”

  33. I think you are right about the Mike King Roast trying to consciously imitate the American-style roast….I watched the Joan Rivers Roast on Comedy Central today and was appalled by what I was hearing, which went well beyond a surfeit of ‘fuck’s and ‘cunt’s (although it was arguably still MUCH funnier than the Mike King Roast). One of the ‘jokes’ was directed at a black comedienne who has apparently publicly spoken to the media about her father molesting her as a child. The ‘roaster’ said, “You were so ugly as a kid, your daddy used to fantastise about your sister! He was embarassed to have such low standards as a molesterer!” Other jokes that truly crossed the line of good taste included references to blacks being slaves. I thought to myself, what’s next, jokes about the victims of the Holocaust and others who died in WW2? I appreciate that sometimes it’s the sacred cows that yield the best comedic material, but I think you need to tread very carefully, and the humour needs to be ocming from the right person. For example, black comedians can use the word ‘nigger’, but white comedians probably shouldn’t. The great tragedy was that the wonderful Joan Rivers herself barely had a chance to speak until the very end.

    I do genuinely enjoy 7 Days, which is modelled on the British comedy series ‘Have I Got News For You’. I love the fact that they make jokes about politics and other contemporary topics that everyone is talking about in their own living room. After living in England for three years, I’m convinced that British comedians are the funniest in the entire world thanks to their extensive vocabularies, imaginative use of metaphors and similes, and willingness to discuss unexpected topics in a refreshing way. Michael McIntyre, Jack Dee, Russell Stewart, Russell Brand, to name just a few. Live at the Apollo is fantastic, and I really enjoyed the Royal Variety Show 2010 as well.

    By contrast, NZ comedians are still very infantile and tend to rely on lame, predictable jokes about smoking weed, having sex, body parts, and how everyone who lives outside Auckland is supposedly an inbreed or how their town is really boring. No, you’re boring.

    Some of my favourite NZ comedians tell amusing stories from their childhood, or make ironic observations about New Zealand society. For example, I will always remember hearing Raybon Khan talking about Asian drivers saying, ‘Sometimes when I’m driving, I look in the rear-view mirror and see myself, and then I break out in a sweat and have to pull over!’ He was obviously challenging racial sterotypes, and got a big laugh of recognition from the audience. If it doesn’t make you guffaw and wish your jaws would stop aching, then it just ain’t funny enough!

    I wish Billy T could rise from the dead and show them all how it’s done, may he rest in peace. I bet he would have a few things to say about Hone Harawira’s famous use of ‘White MOFOs’ as well!

  34. I agree on Seven Days. A bit of gratuitous swearing.
    But we watched a taped episode the other day and had four generations of the family chuckling away.

  35. That black vernacular word Motherfucker really offends me. I’m blackish so it must be my age that makes me go icck. What’s the historical background to it?

    Tell you what really maakes me shudder. People say, oooh, I really can’t stand ‘that word’ (take your pick) and then they proceed to utter some vile racist slur against… (take your pick).

    BE: The ‘historical background’, I assume, is that it has merely developed as the most insulting thing you can say to another person, which it is probably why it (understandably) offends you, Denise. Good comment, but I deleted your last sentence which is just a step too far for us.