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Stan’s Stuff

Laughter is the best medicine and Kiwi Comics are the best

‘Faulty Towers’ nearly fractured my marriage. My wife watched it once and declared, ‘Never again will I watch that stupid man’. But I recognised that stupid man was ‘me’ – not all the time but sometimes. Furtively, I still watch the show in bits and bites being careful not to laugh out loud. I can feel it doing me good.
 |  Stan Stewart  | 

“A day without laughter is a day wasted.” – Charlie Chaplin

In fact I had been hooked on BBC comedy for years. In 1951 I stumbled on ‘The Goon Show’. Quirky off beat, ridiculous and insane, this nonsense tickled my fancy. From then on, I followed all the BBC comedy I could find.

During the 1980s, I was regularly visiting New Zealand and it was then that I was made aware of Billy T James. Billy was adored. He had a unique ability to bring the country together with his humour. For instance, ‘I’m half Maori and half Scot. Half of me wants to go to the pub and get pissed, and the other half doesn’t want to pay for it.” When he died in 1991, the whole country mourned.

I am now of the opinion that Kiwi comedians are the best in the world – my world.

I don’t just enjoy them, I love them.

John Clarke invented Fred Dagg. He didn’t have to tell jokes, just lounging in the shed, leaning on the fence, walking into town would crack us up. And what about that high-class musical performance – “If it weren’t for your gumboots?”

John Clarke moved to Australia where he became a national icon. His sudden death upset millions.

Or what about the Topp Twins?  What about ‘The Flight of the Concordes’ with Brett MacKenzie, Jemaine Clement, Rhys Darby and Kristen Schaal. Along with thousands of others, I ache for more, but we have to be satisfied with what we have.

However, I’ve been wondering if all I’ve said above is just a cover -up.

Maybe in fact I’m just a prude. I know some people would call me that. These days stand-up comedy is a mini-industry. Some of these performers really touch my funny bone; but not all of them.

The last comedian I tuned into was doing gags about the size and shapes of penises.  On a similar tack, I’ve heard comedians make jokes about sticking things up other people’s bottoms etc. And jokes about the sex act (copulation) must be in their millions. The audiences scream with laughter and I assume that after a few wines the couples go off and have many rides in the hay or whatever. Jumping around from bed to bed with whoever I met tonight, sounds like something enjoyable.  But it is not.

Across New Zealand, around one third of families are single-parent families. Most of these have some difficulty coping either financially or emotionally or both.

Today in New Zealand, 81% of youth in prison come from fatherless families. 71% of school dropouts come from fatherless homes. These days, the plight of fatherless families is often on the news.

Poverty, homelessness and toxic life-styles often bring the lone mother and child(ren) into the news but what about the men?

Have they escaped the relationships ‘scot -free’?  Are they living it up? Have they escaped without scars or blemishes? New Zealand has the highest suicide rate for young men amongst the 34 OECD countries.

Making jokes about casual sexual relationships, especially about bizarre, unusual hookups may raise a laugh in a club or theatre but in fact these intimate relationships are no laughing matter.

Well, it’s not for me. New Zealand has a proud tradition of comedy. Our comedians have made us laugh about all the foibles of life and relationships. My plea is that they leave alone the most intimate relationships between man and woman. These relationships have consequences which will carryon well beyond the act whether the sex act is protected. It is something special. It is something sacred. It can change a person’s life direction. There it is, I’ve said it. I’m a card-carrying prude.  But I do like to laugh.

Let Billy T James have the last word.

“Did you hear thieves stole the toilet seats from the police station? The cops say they now have nothing to go on. They are looking into it.”