Thursday, 30 October 2014

#EverySingleFuckingDaySexism

It's 2014 but I think it was said best back in 1971 by the late Marvin Gaye: "What the fuck is going on?".

I liked the last couple of years. They were fun. Everyone seemed so excited by feminism. Bridget Christie made it funny and terrifying and it felt like something important was happening as we gathered together to laugh at how horrible the world we exist in is. I mean, that hasn't happened in comedy in a really long time. A comedian tackling a huge subject - a huge, terrible, frightening subject - and made people laugh at how ridiculous "normal" life is and perhaps how ridiculous, terrible and frightening we are too. It wasn't just Bridget that brought this to our attention, of course. There was EverydaySexism, there was Caitlin Moran (who I don't like because I think she's unfunny and often wrong but at least I think she's an unfunny wrong person and not an unfunny wrong woman and she got people talking about feminism so she's completely necessary. Maybe I do like her? Well, that's a revelation already), there was Twitter and Facebook and Instagram and every single person in the world coming together to post articles, share opinions, point fingers at inequality and, more importantly, celebrate equality. The last couple of years have felt positive. It felt like we were getting somewhere. So why is this year so very, very awful?

Obviously, I get it. I'm not that stupid. If something happens that people like then sooner or later there has to be a backlash. We did it with Bros, Pictionary and New Zealand so why not do it with decency and respect?

But it doesn't feel like a backlash. It feels more like a people's rights movement. People uniting and rising up to make sure other people have fewer and fewer rights as human beings. Were we too happy and too positive? Is that why Dapper Laughs came along to show us that respect was boring and probably queer or something? Is that why so many people immediately took to him? Is that why so many comedians that I work with support and defend Dapper Laughs? We wallowed in our selflessness and therefore something had to be done about it. We liked feminism too much for some people and we made an uncomfortable noise about it with our happiness so The Others had to fight back. I mean, it's freedom of speech, isn't it? Dapper's not doing any harm, is he? And if you don't like it then you've every right to say so. And The Others have every right to call you a slut and threaten to rape you. It's freedom of speech.

I've always thought of comedy as a very progressive place to work in. Luckily, it generally is. But there is definitely a rise in rape jokes just as their is a rise in women not being seen as equals on a bill. A venue dropping a woman from the comedy bill because "there are too many women" already performing is probably the funniest comedy story I've heard this year. Yes, it's horrible but, my God, that is some proud, proud sexism you're getting right there. No shame. Head held high. Say it loud! I'm a cunt and I'm proud!

And that's my big question: Why aren't people more ashamed of themselves? I'm ashamed of all my many, many faults. I'm unhealthy, I get angry at the most insignificant things (noise, litter, Kasabian) and I'm 46 with an in-order-of-broadcast complete Doctor Who DVD collection. I'm horrified at myself but, you know, at least I don't openly hate women. Unlike comedians (and others but it's the comedians that I feel most upset by) online who post their sexism with the same "normality" that we use to post pictures of our dinner. What I wouldn't give to see a photo of spaghetti hoops on Facebook again. Over the last few weeks I've spent far too much time arguing with comedians posting "Fucking feminism again" and "You shouldn't be on a panel show just because you're a woman". I don't want to argue with these people. There was a time when you might see one or two posts like that a week. Now it's every day. So, I guess, recently I snapped. In two weeks there hasn't been a day without arguing, capitalising the word cunt and blocking idiots.

It seems obvious (not to everyone, clearly) but... FEMINISM IS NOT ABOUT WOMEN GETTING MORE THAN MEN. IT'S ABOUT US BEING EQUAL.

God, I just never wanted to get into these boring and horrible arguments but in the last two weeks I've argued with comedians posting "I'm sick of people saying 'Violence against women'. What about the violence against men?" and "I'm on Dapper Laugh's side" and... it goes on. Luckily, one of these comedians describes himself as "The Dark Knight of Comedy" so his opinion on any subject is significantly less than worthless.

Sometimes I actually regret inventing online anger, especially when I see what some people have done with it.

Complaining about the worthiness of Malala Yousafzai's Nobel win (seriously, if you haven't seen these idiots online, then please look them up now. "How is getting shot and then still campaigning for rights peaceful?" Brilliant!), Gamergate supporters and the NotAllMen bullshit. It's EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. And for those people who think Dapper Laughs and his cheeky, misogynistic antics are harmless then please check out Shoshana Roberts film of her walking down streets in New York and the subsequent rape threats she received on Twitter. #SheKnows you're a dick.

I'm trying not to think about all this and not get upset by it, despite it being a constant in our online (and therefore real) lives. Believe it or not, I don't like being angry. Andrew Lawrence's stupidity made me sigh and laugh in equal measure. He's an idiot. After all the support of Dapper, the "What about violence against men?"and the general "fucking feminism again"... I still didn't blog about it. I stopped blogging. Why have all that grumpiness all the time? But then I saw Sofie Hagen's recent Facebook post about her experience on the comedy circuit. A compere saying "Ladies and gentlemen, give it up one more time for Sofie Hagen. I would never rape her" made me want to punch him. I don't know who he is but I hate him. But if there's one good thing that's come from all of this, it's got me thinking of things I've said in the past and I'm ashamed. I've not said anything that awful but I'm not innocent either.

And maybe a few other people could change their attitudes too. At a recent gig, a woman entered the dressing room to give an act some food. When she left, the comedian said "Who ordered the escort?". Then I overheard another comedian say to the showmanager "Yeah, but you're supposed to be hot. I'm not saying I'd kick you out of bed because I wouldn't but a woman should wear heels".

Why aren't people more ashamed of themselves?

A backlash against decency and respect. But it doesn't feel the same as it did with Bros. We accepted When Will I Be Famous and I Owe You Nothing. Everything about them was on the up. Then we heard Cat Among The Pigeons and we called time. We united to end something before it went too far. You know what though? I'm starting to think reactions to Bros and reactions to feminism are very different things. People got bored with Bros but this feels like... fear.

What's to be scared of? I can't answer. I can't answer that.

I'm not expecting anyone to read this really, I'm certainly not expecting anyone who disagrees with my very obvious point will read it. If they do, they'll no doubt say it's whiny, unfunny and boring. But that's their fault, not mine.




www.twitter.com/michaellegge

Monday, 14 July 2014

Michael's Bones.

I feel sick.
I’ve just spent all day listening to the new Morrissey album. To call it eagerly awaited would be a gross understatement. This was supposed to be the album that I had waited for all my adult life. This was supposed to be the one that saved me. This was supposed to be the album that set me free, that made me cry “Jesus wept” from the very top of Twitter, the one that made me realise I’ve given Morrissey way too many chances and I’d finally be free from fat guitars, plodding drums and making excuses for his constant “eccentricity”. This album was supposed to be the one I threw in the bin and then I could grow up. This album was supposed to be shit.
But once again, Morrissey has let me down. And it starts so promisingly. World Peace Is None of Your Business is Morrissey’s best album since Your Arsenal but it’s also a completely godawful song. When it was released as a download single, I was overjoyed. It sounded like Morrissey had turned to me and said “You’re free to go”. Somehow, once again, a B-side from a band that should never exist had made it on to an actual Morrissey album. Well, I’ve stood by him through all five terrible photocopies of Vauxhall and I and clearly he didn’t want me anymore. I could run and frolic through pretty meadows for the rest of my life and leave Moz and his song to repeat themselves to death. Thank you. Then the second track on the album came along and I fell for him again. Just when I thought I was out, he pulls me back in.
The thing is, this sounds like Morrissey actually being creative again. Clearly that book did him the world of good. Maybe he read it and thought “Flip. This bloke sounds awful” and decided to be nothing like him? Or maybe he’s just great and, this time, he’s decided to show it.
The flamenco guitars on When Last I Spoke to Carol from his last album are back and, once again, they’re a highlight. Earth Is The Loneliest Planet is basically a depressing La Isla Bonita and I can think of nothing more joyous, while Kiss Me A Lot is proudly Glorious Esteban. Obviously there’s more than enough traditional Morrissey defiance for us long-termers, “I’d never kill or eat an animal. Well, what do you think I am? A man?”, but it’s the Spanish-styled songs that speed the album along with something close to being upbeat. Just to make things worse, Morrissey keeps the very best for last. Did any of us think he’d write something as good as Oboe Concerto again? Damn him. I’m lumped with him again.
Luckily there are a couple of glimpses of a time when I can move on. The title track and Istanbul are both terrible and Kick The Bride Down The Aisle won’t be making it on to any of Bridget Christie’s compilation tapes any time soon but other than that it’s an incredible piece of work that ensures further arrested development for me for years to come. Will he ever let me grow up? Thank God I have George Lucas and Steven Moffat doing their best for me.





www.twitter.com/michaellegge

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

But Why Are The Kids Crying?




Once in every lifetime comes a love like this.

Rightly, there have been many tributes to Rik Mayall in the hours following his death so let me be brief. When I was 13 years old I decided that I didn't want to ever work for a living. Why would anyone want to be responsible and live a life decently when you could shout, pull faces and annoy people? I mean, if I could do that when I grew up instead of actually, you know, growing up then I think there's a chance that I could be happy. And the one and only reason that the idea even entered my head is solely down to Rik Mayall.

The first time that Rik and I ever hung out was in my living room in 1981. He was on TV and I was on the floor in front of him, a position I have never left. A brand new sketch show had started on BBC 2. It was called A Kick Up The Eighties, it starred Richard Stilgoe and it was completely and utterly awful. Yet everyone in my school talked about it the next day like they'd just witnessed the second coming of a V-flicking Christ. It was one of the worst comedies on television yet to miss a single episode would have been agony. I assume. I never, ever missed it. Why? Because of the rush and excitement of the silhouette of Kevin Turvey, an investigative journalist who would research any subject with pain staking detail, if it wasn't for the fact he was easily distracted. "My name is Kevin Turvey but you can call me Kevin Turvey", he said in that exotically nasal voice. "Alright, alright. Settle down".

It is the one and only time anyone has had me at hello. Everything that appeared on my TV screen in those few minutes were brand new. Those eyes, that voice, those hands. No one in television had eyes, voices or hands before Kevin Turvey. I grew up in 70's/80's Northern Ireland and for the very first time, I didn't feel safe in my own home. Someone had broken into the dust of television and shouted "RIGHT. I'M IN. LET'S BREAK EVERYTHING!"

I think I'm in love.

A million years later, I saw a trailer for The Young Ones, a brand new BBC sitcom. I thought it looked shit. I hated punks, didn't really know what hippies were and I'd absolutely no idea why these young men were all still living with their dad. But wait... Kevin Turvey's in it! Well, it's bound to be good.

It wasn't good. It was much more than that. It was the single most important thing in my life. It was wild, anarchic, surreal and gloriously stupid. A sitcom that destroys its "sit" in the very first episode. And I didn't just watch every episode, I devoured them. I memorised them. I loved them. I had no idea where this programme had come from but I did know that their disgusting, sick-and-snot-filled house was my home. And the star was Kevin Turvey. I didn't even care that Kevin was playing a new character called Rick because Kevin Turvey is great in everything. He's my new hero and I want to know all about him. The Young Ones is everything I've ever wanted. And therefore, The Young Ones got banned in our house.

Not for long. Just a few episodes. I'd called my Dad a "complete and utter bastard" once too often and so The Young Ones had to be switched off. Of course, Dad couldn't keep to his threat because in the Legge household, comedy isn't just comedy. It's romance. My Dad first noticed my Mum when he heard her doing Goons impressions and, 56 years later, he's still married to the funniest person he knows. Maybe Dad thought that I should watch The Young Ones because maybe someone will someday fall in love with me after hearing me saying "Neil, Neil, orange peel" repeatedly. I don't see why they wouldn't.

It seems too much of a corny thing to say that I wish I could say thanks to Rik Mayall for all he's given me but it's true. In the same way that The Beatles fans feel their lives were changed by music, my life is all the better for having The Dangerous Brothers, The Comic Strip Presents, Happy Familes, Filthy, Rich & Catflap, Blackadder, The New Statesman, The Bad News Album and Bottom. Let's face it, what is Pointless Anger, Righteous Ire if it isn't Robin Ince and I trying to steal Bottom and get away with it? When I found out that Rik had died yesterday, I was glad I was with Robin. I think when someone as important to you as Rik Mayall dies, you need to be with someone who loved him too. Or maybe you could just look on Twitter and Facebook and all forms of online media. Or you could turn on the TV or read a newspaper. It turns out that Rik Mayall was loved by everyone. We all felt a loss and we all celebrated his life. Everyone quoted him, everyone posted clips of him and... oh, Greg Davies... you beautiful, beautiful man. Imagine writing a sitcom and the sitcom gets made and you star in the sitcom and RIK MAYALL IS YOUR DAD!

I don't need to tell you which bits of Rik Mayall's work you should see because you already know. But if I was forced to, I'd say get a time machine and go back to 1991 and see Rik and Ade Edmondson performing Waiting For Godot, still the best production of the greatest play I've ever seen. Or just watch Mr Jolly Lives Next Door, my favourite comedy of all time.




www.twitter.com/michaellegge  
LikeLike ·  · 

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Some Kind of Monster.

Your heroes should never meet you. You'll only let them down. And by that I mean that my heroes should never meet me. I will definitely let them down. Mind you, they've got no one to blame but themselves. I mean, what is Morrissey doing coming round my house for tea? He knows I'm bound to ask him why he wears leather shoes or ask why his band are terrible. And Peter Davison. Why would he ever go out of his way to meet me when it's guaranteed that I'll shout and cum on him? And Seamus Heaney. Why would he ever get his agent to ring my agent to organise meeting me in an upscale West London restaurant (his treat, of course) when he knows fully well I talk with my mouth full and I'm bound to ask him why he's dead? It makes no sense whatsoever. These heroes are just wasting their time meeting the likes of me. And just in case you think I'm being self-deprecating, know this: when De La Soul met me, I forgot to talk. When Robyn Hitchcock met me, I got so excited I completely ruined his solo acoustic gig. And... proud face ...I've been told to fuck off by all three members of R.E.M.

But not all my idols have been horribly let down by their worshipper. I met Metallica when I was 18 years old. It was in a club in Oakland, California during a show by the band Armored Saint. I really liked Armored Saint but they were nothing compared to Metallica. And there they were. Just standing around like they were ordinary human beings. I stared at singer James Hetfield for what felt like hours, like he was Molly Ringwald. And finally, like Andrew McCarthy, I got the courage to just go over there and speak to her. I mean him.

He was lovely. Not only was he very friendly but he was genuinely decent. When drummer Lars Ulrich didn't want a fan anywhere near the band, James asked me to sit with them. And when I couldn't get any alcohol because I was under 21, James sneaked me a beer. It was a brief meeting but a beautiful one. I was a fan then and I'm still a fan today. There's barely a week goes by that I don't listen to a Metallica album in full, I still happily wear my awful-looking Metallica t-shirt and my favourite film of last year was easily Metallica: Through The Never. And one of the reasons I'm still a fan is down to James Hetfield. He's funny, he's utterly charming and he has one of the truly great singing voices in rock. I mean, he's close to Nick Cave. He's THAT good.

But... hey, all good things must come to an end. Sooner or later, your heroes just turn out to be shit. Ben Elton wrote The Young Ones and a song for George W. Bush's inauguration. George Lucas created Star Wars and its prequels. And James Hetfield wrote Master of Puppets and now he's narrated a TV show called The Hunt, a reality programme focusing on men tracking down and killing a Kodiak bear. What a prick.

I can't joke about it. Firstly, I'm not very good at jokes. Secondly, I'll never understand why anyone would want to hurt anything. The idea of being so impressed by something that you have to kill it makes no sense. It can't even make sense to the hunter. So why do they do it? I think Dolly Parton is utterly incredible but the idea of having her severed head mounted in my living room makes me feel like I've taken fan worship too far. Plus, it would end all the things she does brilliantly. And I'd go to jail and shit. Anyway, the third reason I can't joke about it is I actually feel hurt. Someone I admire is doing the very thing that I'm against. It's weird but I really do want James Hetfield from Metallica to promise he'll stop all this, say sorry to me and then just hold me. I'll have a cry on him and then I'll forgive him. But he HAS to promise.

I found out about this on Sunday but I started reading more and more about it yesterday. None of it made me feel better. It's not like I didn't know that people hunted bears, I just always assumed that the people I had picked for my team wouldn't ever do that. I stopped reading about it and closed my laptop. Metallica's next record just won't sound that good now. But you can't mope, I suppose. You have to get out of the house and give yourself a shake. It was a lovely day yesterday. A nice walk will help.

And it did. I decided to get some unhunted and unmurdered broccoli from Tesco and, as I walked down the street, I saw a kitten. It was tiny, black and white and it was adorable.

It got my attention, not from it's adorability but because it was digging a hole in a garden. I've never seen a cat dig a hole before. That's more a dog thing, really. This tiny little ball of fluff and eyes using its soft white paws to dig a hole... look, I know James Hetfield would have just kicked it's fucking head in but it made the sun rise and shine brightly in my heart. It was beautiful. I just stood there watching this little kitten dig and dig and dig. It's tiny paws nowhere near powerful enough to make much of a dent in the soil but, with its eyes wide and his front legs frantic, it wasn't for the lack of trying. I must have stood there, outside an ordinary house on an ordinary Lewisham street, for three minutes. I didn't know why the kitten was digging but I was gripped. A tiny, industrious and curious kitten padding at the earth with all his might. Then it stopped.

It stopped because it had finished digging its hole.

Then, it lay down in the hole it had just made, under a plant, and curled up to go to sleep.

THAT KITTEN MADE A BED! Right in front of me. A tiny, ickle, adorable kitten made a wee, tiny bed for itself and lay down to sleep. I saw the whole thing and it was just magical. Oh, I'm well aware how sweary and aggressive I can be but, believe me, I swoon over an animal being amazing just as easily as I raise my devil horn hands to a great heavy metal riff. The little kitten closed its eyes and settled down under the plant and it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen in my life.

Then a man who lived in the house came out and asked why I was looking in his garden.

I laughed and explained everything, even pointing to the kitten. "That must have looked really weird from your living room...a man just standing there staring at your garden...but your kitten was just lovely", I beamed.

"Yeah, well, it's not your cat, it's mine. Fuck off", he said.

I won't lie, I hate you. All of you people. You're rude, smelly, ugly and you kill animals. Or at the very least, tell people to fuck off when they look at your kitten. I spent most of yesterday with Jerk. We didn't argue or get fed up with each other or try to kill one another. Maybe she's actually my hero? And I had that moment with that kitten. And nothing else matters.

BOOM! Ended on a Metallica lyric. Well proud.






Saturday, 10 May 2014

The New Zealand Comedy Festival - Sue Chef.

When you've only got a month in a foreign country, and you're working every night there, you have to spend your time wisely. That's why a comedians outing was planned yesterday. All of us got up early and travelled to Waiheke, a tropical island about 40 minutes away from Auckland. It has golden beaches, beautiful vineyards and is quite rightly thought of as paradise.

I say all of us went. I didn't. I went to see the film Chef instead.

That was a huge mistake. It was a mistake to say no to paradise, it was a mistake to go to watch Chef and it was a mistake that anyone at all let that film ever get made. Imagine a more schmaltzy Love Actually, a less funny Keith Lemon: The Film and a more offensive Nigel Farage statement and you're about halfway to the godawful, manipulative headache that is Chef. If Chef was a human being it would be Rupert Murdoch. So much bullshit, self satisfaction and money. If Chef had a friend, that friend would kill himself rather than be seen in public with it. If Chef was an animal, vegans everywhere would applaud it's slaughter. I said no to paradise and yes to Chef. What the fuck was I thinking? It's like the time I said no to seeing The Smiths and yes to seeing Nik Kershaw all over again. I'm a fucking idiot. Look, in case you're thinking of seeing Chef, let me just tell you about it...

Jon Favreau, THE MAN WHO MADE IRON MAN, plays a chef who quits his job at a popular restaurant because his boss won't let him create imaginatively in the kitchen. His boss knows he's brilliant but he just wants him to make the same boring, popular meals. After getting one bad online review, the chef realises that he must stand by his principles so he quits this stifling, frustrating, tedious job and goes off to make sandwiches in a van. No. You're right. It makes no fucking sense at all. He's an artist who wants to be taken seriously so, TO PROVE HIMSELF TO THE WORLD, fucks off to make really boring beef and cheese sandwiches. That's like Picasso saying fuck you to the art world and going off to do caricatures in Covent Garden. IT MAKES NO FUCKING SENSE. And that is the very least of this film's problems.

It's all about a man who got hurt from a bad review and now wants to run away and take all his toys with him. Jon Favreau doesn't just star in this film, it's also written, produced and directed by him. Instead of reading the reviews Iron Man 2 got, taking them on board and making a good film again, Jon Favreau has decided to basically make awful beef and cheese sandwiches. And these are incredibly cheesey sandwiches. Not only is the chef a tormented artist but he's also a divorcee and a dad who has never had time to get to know his son. Favreau has mistaken these things as layers. Failing at your job, your marriage and your one and only actual responsibility doesn't mean you have layers, it just means you're shit at everything. Still, the chef does get lucky. Despite being pretty repugnant looking, shit at everything, obnoxious, unfunny and a man who mistakes being a cunt for being right all the time, two of the most beautiful women you're ever likely to see are in love with him. That's right. Writer, producer and director Jon Favreau made the artistic decision to have Scarlett Johansson and that woman from Modern Family want to bang him. Again, that's nowhere near the most offensive thing in the film. Chef is so clearly bankrolled by Twitter that I wanted to troll it and then block it. At one scene the chef and the son he doesn't know are sitting together discussing Twitter. "I have an account", says the 8 year old boy. "Can you set one up for me?" says the chef AND THEN WE ARE TOLD, BY THE FILM, EXACTLY HOW TO SET UP A TWITTER ACCOUNT. "Is it like texting?", asks the chef. THEN THE SON EXPLAINS WHAT TWITTER IS. Favreau then steals from Sherlock and has his tweets appear over his head every time he writes one. You even hear the proper tweet noise when he presses send. Another mistake I regret making was staying to the end of the film. If I'd just walked out then I could have just lived the rest of my life assuming that the chef's sandwich business had failed, he'd died of starvation and his unloved son spent every day pissing on his dad's grave. But no, I stayed and, to my horror, found out that people love boring sandwiches and the chef's business was a massive success. Suddenly there are hundreds of people queued up outside his sandwich van, all totally psyched about buying a fucking sandwich. "How did they even know we were here?", asks the chef AND HIS SON THEN EXPLAINS HOW YOU ADD PHOTOS AND MAP LINKS TO YOUR TWEETS.

THAT. HAPPENED. In a FILM.

And it never ends. To get the Cuban feel of the film right, Favreau chose the first Now That's What I Call A Tourist In Cuba music compilation he could find and threw it at the soundtrack. Tony Stark is in it - NOT ROBERT DOWNEY JR - it's definitely Tony Stark. And Favreau has written, produced and directed his own idea of a best friend into the film. A man who constantly agrees with chef, tells him he loves him every ten seconds and high fives every clearly stupid decision he makes or line he says. If you had a friend like that you'd have him sectioned. BUT...I guess that's what happens when your ego is huge and the words of a blogger can hurt you. A successful filmmaker, THE MAN WHO MADE IRON MAN, who would even read an online review let alone give a fuck what it said and THIS is how it effects him? He doesn't just laugh and think "I'm Jon fucking Favreau, the brilliant filmmaker who made Iron Man. I made a great film before, I can do it again". Instead, he cries and asks the internet for money and makes this? When Tony Stark is kidnapped and stuck in a cave in Iron Man, his fellow prisoner says to him "So...you are a man who has everything...and nothing". Tony listens, dusts himself off and makes something incredible.

I'm just saying.

By the way, apparently paradise was quite good, by all accounts. But I chose Chef instead. And while those other comedians all have their memories of that paradise, I left that film with nothing. Nothing.

Nothing except the full information on how to correctly tweet Jon Favreau and tell him Chef was crap.






Wednesday, 7 May 2014

The New Zealand Comedy Festival - All Shall Pass.

What the fuck is wrong with New Zealand? I've always wanted to go there. It looks so beautiful in all the films made there (all 5 of them) and it's so far away that it feels impossible to ever go there. But, as unlikely as it seems, I'm there now. And is the scenery as beautiful as it looks in all the films (all 5 films)? Yes, it does. Flying over the north island of New Zealand felt exactly as it should. So green and lush, exotic and inspiring, kind mother hills and evil stepfather mountains. Beauty that is hard to take in because it looks endless, so much of it that it just can't be real. And yet, there it is. Nature raising an eyebrow at everyone at the Weta Workshop and asking what silly little CGI thing have they made up today? I looked out the window of the plane and I saw the most beautiful country in the world and it was breathtaking. And, as I'm asthmatic, that was New Zealand's first insult to me. The second insult was meeting the people. What the fuck is wrong with New Zealanders?

It's not like I haven't met nice people before. I've easily met maybe 7 nice people who aren't from New Zealand. I've met people with manners and warmth and kindness. People who say "after you" and look pleased to see you and they're not covered in shit and sick. But EVERYONE is nice is New Zealand. EVERYONE. So nice. So suspiciously, terrifyingly nice. OK, that's not fair. I shouldn't tar all New Zealanders with the same brush. People in Wellington are cunts but I'm talking about the people of Auckland here. I've yet to meet a normal, everyday, couldn't-give-a-fuck-about-you person in this place. And it's got to the point were I'm afraid to leave my hotel room. Of course, I HAVE to leave my hotel room because at 11am every morning someone knocks on the door to ask how I am and if they can do anything for me. EVERY FUCKING DAY. Then I leave the hotel and the staff say goodbye to me and wish me a nice day and I go to get some caffeine and the caffeine salesman asks if I'm well and then recommends things to do in Auckland and then I go to a vegan shop and they say "it's great to see you again" when I know it can't be and they invite me to their house for dinner. I mean...FOR FUCK'S SAKE. I'm just trying to lead my grey, solitary life and these Hobbit fuckers won't leave me alone. Why is someone who works in a shop happy to see ME and why are they inviting me for dinner? If that happened in Lewisham, I'd have them arrested, if they weren't already being arrested. I went into a shop in Auckland on my second day and bought a Diet Coke. The shopkeeper said "How are you?". I assumed it must be the jetlag and just carried on counting out change. Then I heard "How are you?" again. I looked up and he wasn't on his phone like a normal shopkeeper, and it wasn't jetlag, he was saying "How are you?" to me. Obviously, I wanted to knock him out for being so personal but I looked at his friendly face and I found myself smiling and saying "I'm good, thank you". GET THIS: I even said "And you?". It was FUCKING AMAZING. I mean, I didn't hear his answer because I was so proud of myself for being great but it was a truly lovely moment. Then...and if you're not already shocked by the behaviour of Aucklanders, then check this out...he said "Is there anything not available in the shop that you'd like to see on the shelves?".

What?

He...he actually wants me to come back? And he's willing to stock more items that might interest customers?

I grabbed my Diet Coke, threw money at him, pushed him over and ran. WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON HERE? What sort of Stepford Wives country have I woken up in? What do these people want? These people who have been trained...OR PROGRAMMED...yeah, probably programmed...to show fondness in their eyes and appear to actually care. They smile and they help and they offer friendship. Listen to this...on the night of our first gig here, John Gordillo asked several people what New Zealand's equivalent of UKIP is. Every single one asked what UKIP was.

John explained that they were a far right political party. Every single one said "Ah. The Tories are right wing here".

John said, "Right. And they're racist, yeah?". Every single one said "What do you mean?"

THEY DON'T HAVE RACISM HERE. That's what New Zealanders (except for Wellington cunts) are like. THEY DON'T HAVE RACISM. One guy even said "Well...what would be the point of that?". Poor John Gordillo. He was only asking a question. It's not like he's got any material on UKIP, he just wanted to go to a meeting of like minded people but John Gordillo will now have to wait until he gets home because the creepy, suspicious people of New Zealand DON'T HAVE RACISM. I mean, for fuck's sake. We've had racism since the 70's. How backward is this place?

This is genuinely what it's like here. Everyone is nice at all times, people feel the need to unite the community while welcoming new people from overseas and there is no racism. It's terrifying. Every single day I walk the streets and all I see is nice people. Friendly people who say hello in the street. THEY JUST SAY HELLO. Like hello is any of their fucking business. And then...I found him.

I was sitting on a bench, exhausted from saying hello back to people all day, when a man stepped out of his workplace and lit a cigarette. Thank fuck for that, I thought. At least they smoke. At least they've got SOMETHING. Then, when he finished his cigarette, he threw the butt on the ground.

No. 

Not in Auckland. That's not how we do things here. 

I stared at him. He looked back. I stared longer. He stepped over to his cigarette butt. I stared longer. He stood on his cigarette butt as if to hide it. I stared even longer. He picked up the butt and threw it in the bin.

Then he looked over at me and smiled and I smiled back. He said hello and I said hello back to him. Everything back to normal. Everything lovely again. Everything nice. Really nice.

Fuck. I think I'm becoming one of them. But it still doesn't answer the question: why are these people so friendly? Why are they THIS lovely? Maybe I'm thinking too much into it. Maybe they're just nice because they're actually nice. But, I mean, they're REALLY nice. They're kind. Generous. Charitable. You know, like Jimmy Savile.





www.twitter.com/michaellegge

Thursday, 24 April 2014

The New Zealand Comedy Festival - A Flying Start.

Not enough credit is ever given to the geniuses Orville and Wilbur Wright for their ground-breaking and pioneering achievements in utter laziness. On December 17th 1903, these two humble men used the straight forward medium of aviation to secure laziness was a thing that could become almost mandatory for us all in the future. It’s hard to believe that, before the Wright brothers, people couldn’t afford a fat lazy arse due to travel being so insistent on US doing the travelling. The Wright brothers famous “fuck that” speech in the Gettysburg Address changed all that. Orville Wright impregnated Wilbur Wright’s brain with an idea, ultrasound pictures of flight were posted and “liked” and soon the Air-O-Plane was born.
Planes aren’t just about getting from London to somewhere, they’re about science demanding you sit down and drink while it takes you wherever you want to go. Planes are nothing short of a miracle.
I’m writing this in Auckland, New Zealand. I got here after a 28 hour plane journey. It was the perfect way, not just to travel, but to live. I got on board and I was told where to sit. So keen were the cabin staff on me sitting down and not using an ounce of precious energy that they insisted I actually strap myself into the seat. If the caring stewards feared that I might accidentally get up and start moving about, then they were wrong. I spent 28 hours on a plane. Sat down. Drinking beer and wine and eating almost permanently (TIP: always chose a vegan meal. It’s always far better and you get your meal first. You’re welcome). Dear reader, I watched SEVEN films. SEVEN. And one of them was The Wolf of Wall Street and that’s three hours long. That’s over a 10th of the flight already nailed.
Some dickholes cycle to their destination. That’s the kind of archaic, backward, spitting-in-the-face-of-science that makes me sick. What the fuck do these people get out of THAT experience? Exhaustion? Sweat? Unnecessary health? That’s bullshit. And they don’t even get to watch Saving Mr Banks. Why would you do that to yourself? I’m sorry but if you’re so against science and you ride a bike anywhere then you shouldn’t ever be allowed medicine or hospitals. You made your choice. You helmet wearing prick.
And I made mine: 28 hours of not moving. Watching seven films, 3 episodes of Futurama, eating and eating and eating…and at the end of it, I felt great. Yes, I was tired and my back really hurt but no pain, no gain. Which brings me to my point…the last flight I went on was from Estonia and on that flight…I saw the worst thing I’ve ever seen.
God knows what horror the victims of a plane crash see in their final moments but I definitely know that I’ve seen worse. Planes TELL us to sit down and do fuck all but some people just don’t listen. Some people get up as soon as the seatbelt sign goes off. They want to go to the toilet or stand up or change seat. Some people even want to walk about! What are they? Jenny Agutter? (They’re never Jenny Agutter) These people just walk about the plane being terrified of dying of DVT. As opposed to what? I mean, you ARE going to die so what difference does it actually make if it’s from DVT or not? What would you like to die from? Being twatted by a rainbow? Being skewered by the horn of a unicorn? Getting AIDS from Oliver Postgate? Look. You’re going to die so sit the fuck down and die in peace like the rest of us. Anyway, the point is that I was on a plane and I saw the worst thing that anyone has ever seen.
Let’s just think about that for a minute: the WORST thing ever. I want you to imagine what the worst thing ever could be. Just take a second. Have a think. What is the worst thing ever? Well…
When the seatbelt sign switched off, a man unbuckled his seat belt, got up and started doing push ups in the aisle.
Sleep well, everyone.

Hey! I’m in New Zealand. Come see me and lots of other comedians: http://www.comedyfestival.co.nz/