The very few regular readers of this blog may note that I am a huge fan of the stand-up Frankie Boyle. Boyle is arguably one of the finest satirists and comedians in Britain, so much so that the Independent newspaper recently referred to him as “Britain’s biggest cynic”, going on to add:
Boyle’s tireless cynicism and blistering takedowns have left few unscathed. The Glaswegian writer is well known for his assiduously outrageous, dark and acerbic sense of humour which tightrope walks the fine line between funny and offensive. – Maya Oppenheim, Apr 2017, Independent
In an interview with Max Keiser, on the news channel RT, Boyle commented on how the general population of Britain needs to be at a certain level of stupidity in order for the minority rich to continue getting richer at the expense of the majority poor:
You need a really stupid population. The banks cannot really rip people off like they have done and continue to do if those people have any information. So you don’t just need a stupid population, you need a really stupid population. You need 50 million people a week watching a dancing dog, people who just sit there eating junk food watching TV. That is what you need if you want to get away with this. – Frankie Boyle, adapted from an interview with Max Keiser
When Boyle talks of people “watching a dancing dog” he is referring to the TV program Britain’s Got Talent, a show I generally do not like, so much so that I end up berating anyone else who watches it. However, having said all that, my family and I were having lunch one weekend and this show happened to be on (clearly I was not in charge of the TV remote at the time). The usual display of the untalented were being paraded one after the untalented other, until out walked on stage a comedian by the name of Daliso Chaponda. Chaponda, originally from Malawi, did about 5 minutes and ended up getting a well-deserved standing ovation all round. If you watch the clip further below you will see why.
Another comedian I recently came across that really impressed was the Indian comic Vir Das who appeared recently on Conan O’Briens self-titled TV show. As with Chaponda, I am sure you will agree that Das is a comedian that looks likely to have a bright future in the comedy world.
The third comedian featured below is a Christian from the American south. Jeremy McLellan is a stand up whose brand of liberal-advocacy humour finds him playing both Muslim festivals as well as Libertarian conferences. A recent Vice article said about McLellan that:
Muslims love him. Trump supporters want to kill him. That’s South Carolina comic Jeremy McLellan’s schtick. With more than 100,000 followers on Facebook, McLellan has become a staple at Muslim festivals and events around North America. – Samar Warsi, vice.com
Watch the short video below and you will see why a typical Trump support would want him killed.
The final video I would like to draw attention to features an interview between Trevor Noah and the Governor of Ohio John Kasich. Kasich, one of the few good ones in American politics, makes some interesting points about faith, community, and how we need to get out of our silo thinking. Again, an interesting interview that is well worth listening to.
As usual, I have transcribed my favourite quotes from each clip. Enjoy!
Daliso Chaponda on Britain’s Got Talent…
I am from Africa. I moved here ten years ago. And immediately I moved here, I heard a lot of British people talking about the financial crisis, the recession. I’m from Africa. What are you maniacs talking about?! You call that a crisis? If that’s a crisis, where’s UNICEF? Where is Bono? I have not seen one Save The UK Concert. You can tell me it’s a financial crisis when there are planes flying over Birmingham tossing fish and chips out of the window. It will be a financial crisis when there are ads on television saying, ‘This chav has to walk five miles a day to get a bottle of WKD Blue’ And 100%, you have got a financial crisis when India starts opening call centers here. Can you imagine some poor guy in Mumbai calls his bank and ends up talking to a Brummie? – Daliso Chaponda
Vir Das on Conan…
Everybody is complaining too much. You have to work this out, guys. Everybody is like “Man, we didn’t choose this guy. Now we gotta live with him? We didn’t vote for this guy. Now we gotta live with him?” To you Americans that’s your president. To most Indians that’s a marriage. That’s what Donald Trump is, he’s your arranged marriage. Because in the most literal sense, your parents picked this guy out for you. – Vir Das
There is religious phobia because I believe the world is changing and religion can’t keep up. I feel like we need to update every major religion in the world. Just take every religion and give it to the company Apple. Every 6 months Apple can update and relaunch the religion to the world. How nice would that be? That’s what we need. We need Islam 6S. We need Jesus Pro. You would slow terrorism down. Can you imagine how much you would slow terrorism down if every time some nutjob wanted to commit a jihad, you first had to sign a new online agreement with Apple. So first you have to get a jihad ID. Then you have to synch all your bombs and your devices to the same jihad ID. Except that one bomb didn’t work with the old version of iTunes and now you have to download the new version of iTunes. And you are all set to go up to heaven and get 72 virgins but your iCloud only holds 6 virgins, so now you have to upgrade. – Vir Das
You don’t appreciate your American luxury. I went to your supermarket the other day. You have an aisle for cereal. An aisle for cereal. You’re complaining about a president, you have an aisle for cereal. It is 60 feet by 10 feet. That’s 600 square feet. In Bombay that’s a school. – Vir Das
I think that more the purpose of comedy is to make people feel like they’re not going crazy, to make people feel like they’re not as alienated, even though they’re being oppressed, even though they’re being mistreated or misunderstood, that there is someone who understands them, that is trying to understand them, that is trying to address their concerns and laugh at the world and at the ridiculousness of their situation. And I think that no matter what situation you find yourself in comedy can help you do that. It can make you feel less lonely, it can make you feel like somebody’s trying to understand you. – Jeremy McLellan
I love Uber because Uber is not just a corporation. Uber is also a sign of peace, it’s also a sign of religious coexistence, because Uber is an app that was invented by a Jew so that when a Christian gets too drunk he can call a Muslim to come pick him up and take him home. It all works out very very perfectly. – Jeremy McLellan
I’ll get messages from people saying that I should not do a show because “You can’t trust Muslims.” And I’m like “Okay, why can’t I trust Muslims?” And they’re like “Because they’re allowed to lie about whether they’re Muslim.” That’s true, people say that, like ‘taqiyya’ or whatever. They’re like “They’re allowed to lie about whether they’re Muslim.” And I’m like “Really?” And they’re like “Yeah!” And I’m like “Are you Muslim?” And they’re like “No.” And I’m like “How do I know? Maybe you’re…” – Jeremy McLellan
(For a very interesting article on taqiyya please see Playing The Taqiyya Card – Evading Intelligent Debate By Calling All Muslims Liars)
John Kasich on the Daily Show…
And this is part of the problem. It’s almost like rooting for a sports team. You wear your uniform and you’re always for your team regardless…But this is part of the problem we have in the country. Everybody’s sort of dividing themselves. If you’re a liberal, you read liberal editorials, you watch liberal television, you go to the Huffington Post. If you’re a conservative, you do conservative television, you do Rush Limbaugh and conservative editorials. So people are all locked in these silos and we only consume what we want. Frankly, we’re all affected by it. Think about Facebook. Put something up there I don’t like, I unfriend you. I mean, we’re to the point where people are not listening to each other and being able to hear what you have to say and show you a little respect…It’s throughout our culture now. We have become so self-absorbed and we’re not willing to put our hearts with others. And we have to get this back. – John Kasich
We live in a society today where you want a bumper sticker solution or you take a pill and everything’s gonna be great, immediate. This problem in this country of growing divisions has been going on for decades. Decades. And we’re not gonna pull out of this overnight. – John Kasich
Getting together with common humanity can allow us to begin to talk to one another again…We need to drive the change up to solve problems in this country and recapture our culture…People need to live a life a little bigger than themselves, that we all have to help one another. – John Kasich
I do want to talk, just for a second, about faith. And I’ll tell you why I say that. I think sometimes people in religion have given religion a bad reputation. Let me tell you what religion is for me. Religion is: honor God because that gives me humility; and secondly, love my neighbor, connect me with my community, put me in somebody else’s shoes, learn to help somebody get up, and live a life bigger than myself. That to me is what religion is about. And if you’re a humanist and you want to change the world, I’m all for you. But let’s not throw out the fact that values matter and that we have a responsibility for what we have been given. And that gets back to the issue of no one’s better than anybody else. Because I believe in the eyes of the Big Guy, we’re all equal. And we all have talents and we need to use it to change and heal this world. – John Kasich
I ain’t that great a guy. I just do the best I can. Wake up the next day and do a little bit better. – John Kasich