Grande laughs

I saw Ben Elton performing stand-up at the Aotea Centre tonight. It was a really enjoyable night’s comedy. I want to attempt to describe the comedy, but I won’t because I know that my retelling a) won’t be funny, and b) will probably ruin the jokes for future viewers of the DVD (there’d better be a DVD).

I will say, however, that it was politically themed, but reasonably clever, and still with a few good ol’ knob gags. He even made a mother-in-law joke, which seemed to be most subversive of the lot, given that Ben Elton was one of the subjects (and cover stars) of Roger Wilmut’s 1989 book “Didn’t You Kill My Mother-in-Law?“, about the young comedians of the 1980s who dragged British comedy out of the sexist old-man comedians telling mother-in-law jokes and into a brash, rude, politicised new era.

But what affected me the most were his observations on consumption and size. I mean, we kind of knew that everything was getting bigger and that we are consuming more, but since when, Mr Elton asked, did we start selling coffee in pints? It’s true! A Starbucks grande size is 16 fl oz, otherwise known as one pint. When milk used to be sold in glass bottles, that was a pint. Now we drink almost that much milk in one go in a latte.

Entertainment, education and knob gags. It made the $60 ticket price well worth it.


One year Dylzno scammed a press pass to the comedy festival, so we went to a whole lot of shows. I always made him sit in the front show, and he usually ended up being picked on by the comedians. But then during Brendhan Lovegrove’s show the bald gap-toothed comedian somehow ended up sitting in an empty seat next to me and turned to me and said, “you’re rool pretty.” Oh, how I blushed and/or scowled.

I often think back to that evening and wonder what comedic endeavour Mr Lovegrove is up to now. My question was answered as I was browsing The Guardian‘s web site. Brendhan Lovegrove is the comedy writing partner of Aaron Barschak, the “unfunny comedy terrorist” who gatecrashed Prince William’s 21st dressed as Osama bin Laden.

Brendhan – who befriended Barschak before the royal hoo-ha – is helping him flesh out his 15 minute show into an hour-long show for the Edinburgh festival.

Aaron and Brendhan work off each other for a while. Aaron has rewritten the words to Ballroom Blitz, by the Sweet, and they debate whether to include it in the show: “And Aaron Barschak says Comedy Hijack./It’ll turn into a Windsor Blitz./And the It-Girl in the corner says,/’Boy I got to warn ya,/It’ll turn into a Windsor Blitz./Windsor Blitz.’ ”

Brendhan laughs and claps his hands in delight. “It’s brilliant,” he says.

If only I were in Scotland.