Friday, January 27, 2006

Anybody up for some reflective glory? How about helping out your old mate Nutgroist (you remember him: the ex-blogger)? Can I interest anyone in helping me write this fucking joke?

It came to me today and i know it's not the greatest gag in the world but it's the way I don't tell 'em that counts.

So, in short, setup is:

Working class kids - obesity epidemic - government measures - Atkins Diet

And the punchline:

Separate the Wheat from the Chav

obviously there are a few yada-yadas thrown in for good measure but you get the gist. Good. Because that's all i get too.

So, it's the all-new interactive joke-polishing challenge, whereby you funny few get to put this into a workable form without any remuneration but for couple of quids worth of thanks and more cack-handed clunky writing like this is.

So help me.



Friday, January 20, 2006

Bitterly disappointing


Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Tuesday 3rd January:

Journalist and very old friend, based in Israel, calls me up to announce he's 'bored, lonely and rich' enough to buy me a ticket that instant to go visit him. We havent seen eachother for 2 years and it's been a slow news week. I am at a loose end, extremely in debt and havent seen the sun in 6 months, so it doesnt take much persuading. A ticket for 12th to 16th jan arrives in my inbox within 5 minutes. I try to remember my friend lives there, along with 6 million other people, and he hasn't died. The country is doing ok. The Palestinians are going to get their elections. This might be fun

Wednesday 4th January:

Ariel Sharon suffers a massive stroke, my friend pitches his tent outside the Hadassah Hospital and doesnt move for a week. I am unable to get in touch with him to ask if i'm still coming, if he'll be around, etc.

Thursday 5th January:

I discover a thriving comedy scene in Israel and email one of the english-language club nights to ask for an open spot. I get a very positive response and am booked for the saturday the 14th.

Friday 6th January:

I call the promoter. It's very simple - they have a packed night with top quality comedians but I can do 5 minutes and it must be 100% clean and NO mentions of sex, NO swearing and if he doesnt like what he's hearing he'll flash his light to either get me to move onto the next joke or to get off the stage entirely. Apparently the audience will all be religious jews who can get easily offended. Jerusalem, ladies and gentlemen. Who'd have guessed it?

Saturday 7th January:

I go through every joke i've ever written to see if i can do 5 minutes without swearing or talking about doing it. I've got about 2. Decent. Everything else i have written is either dirty or unfunny. There's very little middle ground. Bit like the Israel - Palestine situation?


Friday 13th January:

Great day to fly. I leave Ireland at 4pm the previous day. Stopover in LHR. Land at 5am. We go out immediately - eating, drinking, talking and smoking - catching up on old times and finding a great propensity for laughter at the grimness of any situation. The weather, by the way, is shit. I could have stayed in Ireland.

Saturday 14th January:

The big day. I realise I am actually going to have to do some work and proceed to write virtually a whole new set, since i cant do rude, blasphemous or UK/Ireland based references. My friend helps. We cobble something together. I renege on the Irishness and the Blasphemy deal. But it's all mild, i hope.

The important thing is, it's a big challenge and i've stepped up to it and done what i imagine a real comedian does - tailor their set for each audience. It's just that i don't know my audience yet...

The club is great, kind of. Except for the knives, forks and plates on the tables. And the somewhat nervy promoter/compere. But we get through it. He's done a great job on publicity (except im not mentioned on any of it) and the place is packed. There must be 80 - 100 people in, almost all wearing a yamulkah and many in very traditional attire. But it's all ages and mostly non-Israeli. It's only when I realise the huge proportion of American college kids that the penny drops.... It's not the Jewish references they wont get. It's references full stop. And the Promoter/Compere/Rabbi who's given me the gig in the first place takes me aside and says, one final time "No Swearing, No Sexual References, ok?". Oh well, before i know it, im called to the stage and do my bit. Oh good, they laughed at the little off-the-cuffness at the start. Oh, and now they're laughing at the proper opening joke. And the next. And the ne... oh. Ah well, make light of it and off we go again. Yes. Yes. Good. Oh. No. No. Noooooooo.

Something like that anyway.

Tell you what.

I'm going to break my own rules, just this once:

Here, for you, you, you, you, you, you and you (you all know who you are), is my set!

At least, here are the one-off parts of it, plus wikipedia hotlinks to explain the joke. I obviously wont blog any gag i might re-use, nor any smart aside i may have chucked in at audience members or commentary on how each gag went down (I am a sucker for doing this - to the point where the last gig i played in Ireland I purposefully chucked in a few clangers so i could use some of my escape-clauses):

Important Self-Worth Health Warning: I dont do jokes this lame normally. It was for a one-off and I dont regret doing them at all. Except for the Dhimmi Tax one they actually laughed at them all....

Good evening, everybody. I'd like to thank Rabbi J for inviting me tonight at such short notice. I normally only play clubs for money these days but he assured me it was a Mitzvah to do it for free. It's actually something of a homecoming gig for me tonight, you see my family are originally from Israel but they left when the political situation went bad, that was nineteen..... hundred years ago. About 70 AD it started, oh sorry, i forgot, i shouldnt say 'A.D' should i. It's a Common Era (pronounced Error, boom!).

Anyway, I've come all the way from Ireland to be here - it's a great place to live but probably the least Jewish country in europe, and that includes the Vatican....

(there then follows a joke about a jewish man getting interrogated in Belfast which is a bit of a standard, i believe, and not something i've ever done before but y'know, i was clutching a bit - anyway, they loved it. But i didnt write it.)

It's so un-Jewish I do find it hard to keep strictly Kosher sometimes (yeah, right!). I've had to make a few small compromises along the way. Had to. Nothing indulgent, just the odd Bacon Double Cheeseburger on a Friday night, y'know? Otherwise i'm stricly observant.

There is another reason I'm here tonight. I got a call, to come to Jerusalem, from God. I didnt even know he had my number. Im not going to divulge what we talked about - please, it's a personal matter between me and Him. But I will say this: It great strengthened my faith in God. For now I know He's a Jew: he called me collect

He also said "Listen, mate, when you get to Jerusalem, give me a call. We'll talk more". But I lost his number, cant believe i could have done that. But it's ok. I went down to his office this morning and put a fax in his inbox... i think you call it the Kotel, right?

I come from a long line of Wandering Jews, in both senses of that phrase. My Great-Grandfather, when he lived in Russia, they hated him for being a poor Jew. And when my Grandfather lived in South Africa, they hated him for being a rich Jew. When My Dad arrived in England, they hated him for being a South African Jew. So when I moved to Ireland, I wanted to put a stop to this cycle of hatred. No more. So I decided to cut out the middle-man and hate myself.

(that was mostly written by my friend there, who is American and used to accuse me of being a self-hating Jew)

What are the similarities between Israel and Ireland? There arent many are there? I know Ireland's presence at the UN has been vital to you. It means you dont have to sit next to Iraq and Iran. But the other thing is that great tragedy we both shared in the summer when our football teams didnt get through to the World Cup

(they shared a group and Israel actually beat Ireland at home, making it much harder for them to qualify).

All Ireland needed was a single goal against Switzerland in that last game to go through, but the game ended 0-0. But then, what did they expect from the two most neutral countries in the world? Anyway, for me the more interesting game was your last match that same night. When I first heard The Israelis were playing the Faroes, I thought - wow, that's what I call a grudge match. The last time those two played was 4000 years ago. The Faroes won and they got to keep... er, you.

Then the return match was flooded.

I've been doing a little bit of research into Arab Culture as well. My friend took me to a wonderful restaurant on the East Side of the City, we had fantastic arabic food in this very nice place, the service was warm and welcoming and everything. No problems at all. Until the bill arrived. See, the food on the menu was very cheap but the total came to a lot more than we expected. There was a little box at the bottom where they'd added 10% and yet the bill stated there was no service charge. I called the waiter over and asked him what this extra bit was.... (arabic accent) "Dhimmi Tax"

I'll say this for Saudi Arabia - I really admire their hands-off approach to law and order

(I stole that one from this very blog! I then realised it was time to get off the stage so i closed with an old gag about Michael Jackson, great 'friend' of the Jews, and skedaddled before they pogromised my ass.)


So, 6 minutes later I had, somehow, entertained a roomful of my own people, whatever that means, and even if neither of us felt that way it was undeniably true that I was a Jewish comedian with a Jewish audience in a Jewish club in a Jewish City in a Jewish State. It was my own Comedy Aliyah and I hope it is considered a Mitzvah to do it.


Wednesday, January 11, 2006

well, it's been about 30 seconds and already i'm thinking about amending the previous post. but i'll leave it up for a little while longer. i'm sorry, i just had to tell someone. i've got such a smile on my face about it.


To the five or six people who occasionally read this blog and to whom I only ever really addressed anything to anyway, even during its '50 readers-a-day' heyday, I just want to say I did a gig last night and I was fucking brilliant


Tuesday, January 03, 2006

new year's resolutions:

1. resolve the Israeli - Loyalist conflict that's absolutely ruined Cyprus
2. boil things that normally require frying
3. write down everything i don't say and say everything i don't write down
4. discover a new colour and forget to patent it
5. eat an arse, with chips and peas
6. update anti-virus software to protect against online bird-flu
7. whenever I see a dead bird i can't identify, consult my Observer Book of Dead Birds, my most useful xmas gift this year
8. take a photo of a photo of a photo
9. stop humiliating myself in private
10. accept Jesus into my life, then reject him, just to see his face
11. dig my own grave, fill it with a bejewelled golden hair and publish the co-ordinates in a cryptic book of perplex mysteries
12. hide my feelings of guilt, shame and inadequacy under a thin veneer of showbiz success.
13. spend more time blogging and less time noodling around on myspace.com
14. stockpile Vaseline in anticipation of worldwide Petroleum Crisis
15. stop coveting my neighbour's ox though i really can't help it. that's some fucking good ox there.
16. fight to clear Albert Schweitzer's good name
17. stop thinking of nipples when i hear the word 'Chestnuts' used in polite conversation.
18. and stop thinking of discharge when i see 'Bird's Custard' in the supermarket
19. shall i even bother with Daddy's Sauce?
20. spend more time campaigning against religious tolerance
21. stop listening to people


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