Wednesday, 27 February 2013


When I first got to the middle east I had no idea about exit visas and was told I wouldn't be able to take any trips while I was here. I took this on the chin and decided to put my head down and tail up, get on with work and not think about it.

But when opportunity came knocking I wasn't about to kick it in the face, so after some extensive paperwork and a b-line via Instanbul I now find myself in Finland.

If I thought New Zealand couldn't be more different from the middle east, I was wrong. Finland and the middle east stand at opposite ends of the differential compass and the 10 hour exchange from hot sandy desert to freezing snowy outcrop has been stark.

Nothing says wake up your ideas like the transition between 30 and -10.

It is beautiful here and much easier to deal with than the middle east. For starters most people can speak english and a warm finnish greeting turns into english without skipping a beat the second I say hello.

Food is much easier to manage also, I've left the world of undecipherable cans behind for a bright new world of appropriately labelled packaging and glass jars. I swear I almost cried in the supermarket at the airport.

The airport itself felt oddly kiwi, a mix of steel, glass and stone. I could have landed in Queenstown or Dunedin. All the signage was also easy to manage as most stated their function in Finnish, Swedish and English. I've learned more Finnish and Swedish in 1 day than I have Arabic in 2 months for this very reason.

While the huge words pose a challenge and the addition and removal of the letter 'n' in conversation seems at best random, some words are very cute. For example you can't not like a country when their word for elevator is 'hissi'.

People have been warm, welcoming and drenched in smiles, a far cry from the cold, soul-less emotional voids described to me by some people. People are utterly delightful, polite and did I mention gorgeous? I have found the goose that lays the beautiful people eggs. Aside from the supermodels working in McDonald's I saw dwarf today and he was the most beautiful dwarf I have ever seen.

Finland so far has not put a foot wrong, unlike me as I negotiate the icy footpaths. It's clean, functional and a bit cheaper than I was expecting. Though it does pay to double the price of anything before handing over your money when converting from the South Pacific Peso. Most supermarket items are reasonable, fast food on the other hand is not.

Still this wasn't going to stop me trying the local delicacies, such as a nommy rye burger from Hesburger. I have photos, but can't negotiate this Finnish computer. I've been guessing the go buttons and am pretty happy to have gotten this far.

As such updates may be sparing at best as I enjoy my holiday, but fret not for if I freeze they will find me in the summer thaw and let you all know.

Friday, 22 February 2013


The funny thing about the middle east is how american it is. Regardless of the propaganda you might see on TV, american chains are everywhere here.

Today I thought I'd try a couple we don't have in New Zealand, T.G.I Friday's and Fuddruckers with a dollop of professional wrestling sandwiched in between.

T.G.I Friday's was like that restaurant Rachel works at in Office Space. Stripey shirts, silly hats, lots of badges, souls destroyed. The food was good, as was the service, but you couldn't help but feel the people working there had been hollowed out, made to pretend they were happy and quirky to the point they simply died inside.

The wrestling was a highlight and a childhood dream come true. Wall to wall muscle men showboating and bashing each other in their undies, interspersed with rock music, lights and.. err, they seemed to forget the pyrotechnics, a marginally forgiveable oversight.

For the secretly curious closet wrestling cases back home, we got John Cena, CM Punk, Kane, Ryback, the Shield, Daniel Bryant, Mark Henry, Kofi Kingston, Dirk Ziggler, plus a bunch of muscley others. It was an interesting mix of the fake and the unfortunate as a few blows actually found their mark. I was genuinely surprised that the guys got up at times.

Afterwards it was time to try Fuddruckers where you choose the size of your patty in half pound increments. I went for the 1/2 pound and fought my way through it. It was the best burger I've had since I"ve been here, but to be fair the competition hasn't been great. Still, for a change it was nice to eat meat I was certain was beef and to order a meal with avocado and actually get avocado.

We had to leave when pest control arrived and started pulling apart all the seating around us to wipe down with hellacious gusto.

All round I give my american arabian experience a positive review and look upon it as a weird analogy for the way america goes about its business. Fun, cheesey and fake.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013


I've been at pains to find someone to go to the wrestling with me. Noone has been keen and while I'm understanding, I am no less disappointed.

Today in a bit of a panic and on the verge of giving up, I asked a girl from work who hails from Tennessee to join me and despite my sleep deprived exuberant state, she agreed.

Now to me this makes total sense, redneck blood flows through her veins and rednecks love wrestling. Except I haven't really slept in 36 hours, read this totally wrong, she doesn't like wrestling and probably felt pressured to agree to come. The magic pixies all around me probably don't exist either.

On reflection I now realise I'm going on a date. A rather unexpected date which will be equal parts awkward. Not least of all because I am a ming and she really doesn't want to go.

The hilarious part is she probably took pity on me and thinks I'm interested in her, so looking at this from her perspective, it couldn't really be any better. A date with a minger she doesn't like, who's every utterance will be perceived as a come on, at an event she doesn't want to be at.


I give this agreed excursion every chance of falling through before Friday and believe the odds are firmly stacked in favour of her pulling the pin FOR ANY CONCEIVABLE REASON, closely followed by a flimsy reason, then a genuine but lame reason and finally a real reason.

Should we actually go together, there may be a chance of showers or hell freezing over, just a heads up.

I think the most likely scenario involves giving her ticket to my indian taxi driver and enjoying an evening of broken english and men in tights. The less awkward of the two potential evenings.


Not only have I recently become the voice of *insert employer here*, but today I was asked to appear in their ad campaign, somewhat making me the face of *insert employer here*.

To me this is nothing short of hilarious and adds weight to the satire of me as a chat show host back home.

It's something no New Zealander will probably ever see, but helps expand the universe of my satirical character and gives me the giggles.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013


I've been laid out in bed for the last couple of days, but when the building next door catches fire, you get up.

These are the photos I'd already emailed to a friend before the police told me to delete the photos I had taken.

And one from the roof where there were no police.

The place on fire is a building supplies store, luckily the fire did not spread to the rare cardboard box collection on the roof.

Thursday, 14 February 2013


I am good at lots of things, paperwork is not one of them.

I rate paperwork as one of the all-time limiting factors in anything I do. I get flustered, I get distracted and I get despondent. Even filling out the landing card at the airport fills me with dread.

My creativity acts like a twelve sided die providing a myriad of options, but never a straight forward answer. Incredibly useful when you're being creative or funny, incredibly unhelpful when you're trying to fill out a form.

For you see every conceivable alternative scenario passes through my mind as I put pen to paper, the question which seems to cause most consternation is "..what if?"

At this point the panic sets in, I freeze up and progress ceases. It's bizarre to think that when I can be so forthright, in charge and impulsive.. I can't apply the same qualities to paperwork. For me it's like swimming in cement and a hangover from every test I took in high school.

Some people would say I'm overreacting, but I can't remember the last time I filled out a form correctly. Whenever I hand one over or post it away, I do so with bated anxious breath as I await the inevitable response outlining what I have done wrong.

This anxiety often sets in long before the forms are due or have even passed under my nose. It's irrational, hard work and embarrassing.

Whenever I've been really productive, I've had someone working with me on the paper trail crossing the t's and dotting the lower case j's. For when some people see a form, they see a simple collection of boxes to tick. When I see a form, I see an endless array of possibilities. When someone sees me looking at a form, they see a weeping mound of quivering man fat.

I'm a can-do person, but also a can-happen-to person. Unfortunately if it can happen, it can happen to me. A strange quirk of my existence that anyone would surely call into question ..unless you know me.

I wish I could blame my paperwork problem on this quirk, but my own ineptitude is much more likely.

You can't be good at everything and I'm no good at this.

I am good at eating chocolate.


We all have secrets. I have a bunch in this truck. But this is one as well kept as any.. I have a soft spot for wrestling.

"Large men in tight tights, well Jez, we always thought.." Thanks Mum.

The truth is I love wrestling for the grand standing, the set up and the pay off's. More often than not my comedy has more in common with the world of wrestling than it ever does with traditional stand up.

If I've had a failing in stand up over the years it has definitely been in not communicating the elaborate back stories I create for myself before taking the stage. Crowds stare mystified as I use references they can't possibly understand the meaning behind.

The Brown Show worked so well because it was staged on a weekly basis and the caricature of myself that I played could develop nuances. I would run the gamut of good guy/bad guy and adopt positions which allowed me to either gain or lose favour with the audience for the sake of entertainment.

For better or worse people would think it was real. Sound familiar?

I can hear jaws hitting the pavement as pennies drop through peoples faces. It was so obvious.

Growing up my sister and I loved wrestling. It was a special treat to be allowed to stay up late, get into Mum and Dad's bed and watch it on the tiny TV in their bedroom.

Early on we had our favourites, Brutus The Barber Beefcake, The Ultimate Warrior, The Rockers, Superfly Jimmy Snuka.. my Dad liked Ravishing Rick Rude, Jake The Snake Roberts and Powers Of Pain. I'm not sure if my Mum liked anyone or just put up with us.

We sure knew our bad guys too, Million Dollar Man and Mr Perfect used to get my goat and I never liked Deano Bravo, Greg The Hammer Valentine or The Honky Tonk Man.

When wrestling was removed from New Zealand television because kids were copying the moves at school, my sister and I started renting the pay per views from the local video store. I can hear the look on my mothers face as we'd head straight to the new releases to pick one out. Wrestlemania, Survivor Series, Summerslam, The Royal Rumble.. we couldn't get enough.

And so began a new era of wrestling enjoyment, isolated from the other children. Rowdy Roddy Piper suddenly appealed out loud and along came the Undertaker, Razor Ramon and of course The Bushwhackers. It was suddenly like we were there.

It was the mid 90's before the infatuation ended. Puberty had kicked in and other things now seemed more important. Wrestling drifted into the background even if the quotes around the house did not.

The WWF got a new name, some other wrestling businesses came along and frankly we couldn't care less. I was a grown up now, wrestling was so fake, the kids are stupid I thought, or pretended to at least.

"Who would like wrestling" I'd scoff, before biting my nails, protecting my dark secret.

There is no question in my mind the effect professional wrestling has had on the way my sense of humour has developed. You have my parents self deprecating wit, the massive influence of British alternative comedy from the 80's, the subversive comedy of the Muppets and right down the barrel the pageantry and spectacle of wrestling.

My ability to work a crowd does not come from watching other stand ups, but from wrestling. And while I have seen hundreds of comics live, I have never been one of the thousands in attendance, but just one of the millions, and millions, watching from around the world as the big men hit the mat.

That is.. until next week.

Wednesday, 13 February 2013


Last night after work we had a couple of drinks by the pool at a friends fancy hotel. The most expensive beer served in the least expensive plastic mugs. An odd analogy for life here.

When we were removed from the poolside, the night was still young. We took to the highway and ended up at a development they call the Pearl. Welcome to Bizarro-World.

The Pearl is one of the middle east's reclaimed land projects. Creating real estate where there was no real estate before. It's also the biggest gated community I have ever known.

Now to me gated communities are by their very design, flawed and retarded. Not aiding the greater community as they claim to, but isolating people with similarly narrow views of the world. A playground for the affluent, a breeding ground for the ignorant and paranoid.

The Pearl almost fails as a gated community due to its sheer size and the most telling aspect of that is its own private police force, known as "The Shield". You pass through their security perimeter as you enter the Pearl via the long bridge which separates it from reality.

It's an incredible feat of construction and still well under way. As the land takes shape so too do the buildings  which rise up out of it. As if planting a garden and watching it grow.

It's a strange place. Utterly opulent in every way. A far cry from the lives of the poor bastards brought here to build it.

When I talked to the people who lived there, they agreed it was strange, but claimed it was as close to normal as they could get. Though how normal it is to be fined for hanging your washing the wrong way is anyone's guess.

I read through a long list of rules and regulations for those who choose to live here. Four pages of fineable offences including leaving your garage door up, having a bbq, walking on the wrong sand or leaving a pet unattended where a neighbour can see it.

Normal is evidently in the eye of the beholder.

I wonder how long it will last, this artificial place. How long the sand can stand against the sea, how long the money will roll in to maintain this place and most of all how long a community can exist inside a bubble. I think the bigger it gets, the more likely this bubble is to burst.


I don't eat McDonald's where I can help it. Over the years I've annoyed almost everyone with my insistence not to eat it. Groans in the van when our old band was touring were commonplace.

I've softened a bit over the last year, no longer threatening to sulk on the sidewalk outside, but partaking in this culinary culdesac so as not to cause a fuss when no other options are available.

And I made a promise. A promise to try the McDonald's here and report back. Today I kept that promise.

Now I'm no expert, I usually have the Fillet O Fish, so any comparison will be completely flawed. Indeed rendered almost completely useless by my insistence on choosing an item which I have never seen on the New Zealand menu, the Chicken Big Mac.

And gawd it was awful. Not only rubbery and limp, but a nightmare to try and contain. The mess I made as buns and fillets refused to cooperate made the children around me seem like skilled technicians in their art.

All in all I give it a 'never again/10'

Tuesday, 12 February 2013


The last 3 days of work have been pretty full on what with the Pope quitting, North Korea blowing stuff up and me running to the toilet every other moment of the day. I've fallen way behind with all the extra bits and pieces I'd like to get done.

I'm half way through my tour of duty, so the things I need to sort out before I head home are starting to loom large.

I have the next 3 days off and will be trying to claw back the time that has gotten away from me. I had been planning on looking at some more desert, but I suppose total lock down in my hotel room is about the same level of stimulation.

The biggest hassle are the advertising sales for the ice hockey which are nigh on impossible to take care of from the other side of the world. You can send out all the proposals you like, but if you can't get on the phone you're boned.

Also creeping up is the comedy festival which requires some loving and spirited attention. It'll be funny regardless, but I'd really like to land some A-list festival comedians for the show so I can satisfy my own curiosity and hear some good stories from abroad.

Who I manage to get will largely determine how I tailor the shows, but I'm already fizzing away about the left field elements which have me giggling at my desk. I'm being caught frequently and those moments go about exactly as awkwardly as you'd expect. Still, looking at the positives, my suspected mentalness doesn't encourage people to come in my door and therefore keeps my workload down.

More time to write this festival press release!

Dear Santa,

this is my New Zealand Comedy Festival press release, in it I'd like to be funny so that people in the media write stories about me or at the very least seem threatening enough to make people come to the show fearing repercussions.

If it's not too much to ask, please make this so and I'd also like an original Blurr transformer from the 1980's. Preferably the 'targetmaster' version which I never purchased from DEKA and have always regretted.

Yours Truly

Jez Brown

Monday, 11 February 2013


I've voiced many notable people while working for an international television network, the Japanese Prime Minister is a regular personal favourite.

But today I reached the pinnacle, being the Pope when he quit.

Millions around the world heard me quit as Pope and I am most amused.

Sunday, 10 February 2013


I've finally got my first food poisoning of the middle east. It's not the worst I've ever had, but it's still front page news.

The culprit could be turkish, indian or even the hotel food as I whet my palette yesterday. The potential for me to have created a personal concoction is high.

Still, I try to look on the bright side. Sure I was up half the night writhing and sweating, but at least I'm looking slim.

Saturday, 9 February 2013


Aside from work, I tend to work. I'm currently trying to organise a varied array of bits and pieces for my return to New Zealand including marketing, media and merchandise for the New Zealand Ice Hockey League and everything that goes along with having a show in the New Zealand Comedy Festival.

Both are a tall order and fairly difficult to stay on top of when coupled with my 12 hour day job. It's inconceivable to me that any work I do isn't rinsing yet another drop of blood from the stone and errant emails tend to mean being strapped in and watching Leatherface slowly walk towards me with a bucket.

With the massive laundry list I have to deal with on a daily basis, I tend to fire off emails thinking I've done what I needed to do, immediately moving on to the next objective.

"..Love from Jez Brown", *SEND*, gone, forgotten.

The problem with this workflow is obvious, if the email never reaches its target, I receive a square boning.

The obvious solution is the most time consuming one as there is no way I can follow up every email I send and what point is there anyway if the follow up goes in the trash too?

I was recently looking into just how much web traffic I create through my various web page visits and outbox activity.. I suspect any professional spammers would be jealous of my numbers. Maybe one of them has a picture of me on the office wall somewhere with an hackneyed quote emblazoned across the front which he points out while yelling at other staff members pleading with them to find the wherewithal to " more like Jez".

Sadly not, for noone spams inboxes like I do. A relentless stream of consciousness not unlike this blog, but delivered at an almost constant rate for 14 hours of every day. I email when I wake up, during work, during meals, on the toilet and in bed before I pass out.. emailing.

And what do I get for this effort? A self perpetuating torrent in return.

Sometimes I fear opening my inbox. I stall, knowing how much attention its contents will require. On more than one occasion I just haven't bothered. I've gone to do it, but stopped, pursed my lips, delved a moment of consideration, given a rude gesture and returned to being a real live boy.

I do wonder how often this happens to other people as email begets email.

Before starting my own business I used to have a policy of turning my phone off on weekends, but it's been three years since I have.

I could create a timetable for when which kind of work is appropriate, but each time I try I leave myself hung out to dry by everyone's insistence that things must be done "now". I stand to attention and salute.

"Now" is a word I could do without. I hear it far too often and what's worse, I pass it on. Another link in a chain which seems to answer only to a clock whose tick sounds like galloping hooves.

A relentless thunderous beat which gathers speed and echoes the sound of your heart as you move with haste towards an early grave.

And so I stare into my monitor.. feeling my ulcer kick when that little number ticks up from 517 unread to 518. I wish I hadn't seen it. "I remember when that number was below 500" I think to myself nostalgically. Always hoping that there was a magic way to clear my inbox a la the Sorcerers Apprentice, but we all know how that ended and dealing with angry white men in pointy hats has never worked out well for anyone.

So a solution must be found to cut down the volume of insipid correspondence and help my brain maintain order when it comes to reaching through the dusty covers of yesterday's memories.

Maybe yoga is the answer?

Friday, 8 February 2013


This reminded me of home today

Link for clicking

Bright sparks

I'm against asset sales. Huge surprise. But I thought I would at least explain my reasoning.

In New Zealand we have opinions, lots of opinions, frequently without any reason or purpose. Sometimes it feels a bit like America with people either batting for the red team or the blue team.

The media has a huge part to play in this as short sound bites are used to divide us into palatable easy to digest chunks, you like this, you don't like that.

What's worse is we swallow this fishhook whole. Far too many of us simply accept that I play for this team and therefore I like this and I don't like that. It's easy and it makes me vomit.

For me it's about accountability, not just for now, but for the future. It often feels like the two are completely removed from one another, so I have to slam my head in a door to feel normal.

The nice rich people selling our assets aren't all bad people, they are just behaving in a way that makes sense to them. They have money and their ideology suggests that we all should and isn't it fantastic.

They are heavy proponents of a free market economy because it has been good to them. The flipside is that you rarely see someone with no money championing their cause so loudly.

To me that shows more of a belief in the economy than in us as people to work our problems out and its this way of thinking which I am now at odds with. The blind faith we show in the economy reminds me of a lot of other blind faith shown around the world.

Despite what we may gripe about, and as Kiwi's we do that a fair bit, we don't have it all that bad. We are however lead to think we have it bad because our neighbours have it "better". It's this quirk of human behaviour which has lead us down the garden path.

We're now prepared to give up many of our rights, freedoms and wealth in favour of what might be more money. Not wealth, money. For "wealth" is what you make of it, money is money.

Just being a Kiwi comes up frequently in conversation in the middle east, usually after the word "hello". Every bastard and his dog wants to know how they can move to New Zealand. They are not worried in the slightest about the pay, they see New Zealand for its freedoms, natural wonders and lifestyle. To them that is our true value and it is invigorating to see and hear.

Then I think, man, we sure are a bunch of whiney little children.

Make no mistake, I run my own business back home and part of the reason I came to the middle east was money, but I will not be complaining about anything but apathy from now on.

The problem I have with asset sales is that it somewhat flies in the face of basic capitalism, ie: wealth through accumulation. You know, the way people get rich. So then we must assume that we are poor and need to pawn our mothers jewellery to make ends meet.

Except we're not that poor, these businesses we want to sell are profitable.

The only reason a rich person would ever sell a profitable business is if they didn't want to be in business anymore.

And here we find the real guts of neo-liberal politics "advocating support of economic liberalization, free trade and open markets, privatization, deregulation while decreasing the size of the public sector and increasing the role of the private sector in modern society."

This is the real reason the government wants to sell our assets and its an ideology that doesn't actually make economic sense for New Zealanders.

Essential services worldwide are big business and the reason is because they make a lot of money. They're essential after all.

Many countries either refuse to sell these services into private ownership or only lease them for an allotted duration, avoiding the pitfalls and ramifications of losing control.

The problem is that those services once sold into the private sector come under the pressure of share holders to constantly lift profits and I have a bee in my bonnet when it comes to profiting from what is deemed to be essential.

I have no problem with a company like Apple making mega bucks from being clever and getting us to buy their products. However when you don't have a choice, when you simply need a service such as electricity to survive, then I don't believe society benefits from a wholly private model.

The flow on of selling our power companies is that we will lose the profit we currently make from them and the expectation of share holders will drive up power prices costing us more.

It's an extremely round about way of MP's initiating the tax increases we all loathe so much, tax increases which would cost us less and prevent the need to sell anything or even get into debt in the first place. It boggles my mind that the amount of borrowing our country currently does wouldn't even exist if the last round of tax cuts hadn't gone through.

Stealing from the mouths of babes.

I would much rather we hang on to the power companies, take some of that profit and invest it in research and development to further improve and innovate on what we do. Being in the middle east shows me just how much the world is crying out for energy solutions and wouldn't it be so cool if some clever New Zealanders lead the way and helped our country make another tidy profit at the same time?

I personally think that's what is missing. The vision to see how we really fit into the world, that we're clever.

If we're smart and take care of what we have and each other, if we prioritise the right things in life, health, education and happiness, we can do great things. But it starts with us, showing faith in each other and not just in the economy.

Good ideas make a difference and selling our power companies, in my view, is not a good idea.

So no matter what team you play for, be it the blue team, the red team, even the green team or your own team. Think about this issue carefully. Get a second opinion, get a third! And if in the end you agree with me, sign this bugger and at least let the country decide for itself.

What is happening in Britain

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Waitangi Day

How did I spend Waitangi Day, New Zealand's national day, in the middle of the middle east?

By going to an ultra fancy bar in an ultra fancy hotel and having my photo taken with a life size black stone jaguar with diamonds for eyes.


Finally the planets aligned long enough for myself and the post office to find common ground, a moment in time when I had the day off and the post office wasn't inexplicably closed.

As I previously mentioned, the post works differently here. Rather than many post offices conveniently dotted about the place, there is just one MASSIVE post office.

This image doesn't really do justice to the size of the place, a 5 storey multi-layered leviathan rising up out of the desert on the shore of the Arabian Gulf.

It is simply enormous. Finding the front door is a task in itself. Inside is a maze of private post boxes, each the same size, each totally identical. Should you find your way through the maze to the centre of the superstructure you can then target the power regulator on the north tower.

The centre is like being in the biggest bank the 80s could dream up, complete with appropriately dated decor and crawling LED signs.

There is nowhere to buy packaging. When I asked the solitary service desk attendant about it, she simply handed me an envelope and went back about her business. When I enquired about stamps I was shooed in the direction of the long line of emotionless tellers dressed forlornly in their tradition black abaya.

Upon reaching the front of the queue, I again asked about postage, my letter was snatched from my hand and weighed. "$4" was all that was said, I paid and the letter was handed back to me. I enquired as to where I might post the letter and was again deflected by the wave of a dismissive hand in a general direction.

For the next 30 minutes I scoured the internal landscape for any signs of where I could stick my letter. Lost in the maze of private boxes, my suspicious behaviour was picked up by security. A man in a full brown leather uniform took me aside and upon realizing my predicament pointed me in the direction of the only slot in the building, much to his own amusement.

Indeed in a further showing of this supposed centralized efficiency, all mail has been narrowed down to an unassuming single simple slot. The thought of whatever lies beneath would make a great premise for a horror movie.

Coming this summer "The Slot"

Monday, 4 February 2013


Being in the middle east editing television is not all that different from being in New Zealand editing television, something I enjoy about as much as cutting my legs off.

So why am I editing television? Because I am a prostitute.

I am a prostitute, prostituting myself for money doing something I'd rather not, something I like and would do in the evenings for fun, but not relentlessly all day everyday because it loses its gloss.

It leaves you feeling used and sore. Physically raw and emotionally ashamed. That's television editing.

Some people love it, they were made to do it, ordained by God himself with infinite patience and skin as thick as an elephants hide.

I am not that person. I am reactive, impulsive, creative, energetic and like to think outside the box. And I don't even like puns. I'm also hyper-analytical with an eye for details which is what got me into this position in the first place.

When I started editing it was the joy of creating the final product, of having control over those finer details which got me enthused. When people were telling me that there wasn't a career in my sense of humour, I fell back on editing as my way to make a crust.

Looking back to my very first editing gig I was asked "can you edit?" No, I thought, but "Yes" I said, anything for money.

I can't say it was a mistake, but it was a misguided decision. I realize now that it's the creative part of the puzzle where I thrive, working with good ideas.. and while editing allows me to do that occasionally, it doesn't allow me to do that often enough to keep me happy.

Making people laugh makes me happy and over the years it has been by any means necessary. 5 years ago I was enjoying stand up very much, getting good reviews and developing a healthy little following. My skills had evolved from my earlier poo based material and the art of delivery was beginning to find its mark like an archer holding the arrow around the right way for the first time.

Then something changed, I became utterly disillusioned with my material. It's not uncommon for any comic, but I've always struggled to tell a joke more than 3 or 4 times. I'll laugh the first time, snigger the second, glare judgementally at the paper it's written on and want to kill myself by the fourth nunciation.

This process can sometimes take place over the course of several seconds while my confidence is being shanked prison-style in the corner. As such my performances over the last few years have suffered as my confidence lay on the floor resembling an occasionally twitching block of bleeding swiss cheese.

I fell out of love with stand up comedy because I could see around every corner, I despised myself for delivering what I thought were easy jokes or allowing my wit to delve the depths of degradation for want of a simple smatter of laughter.

But comedy is what I want to do and I know in order to work in television comedy, I must raise my own profile within the comedy world. So back I came, slithering out of the shadows, attempting as best I could to retake the stage and fight a very public battle with my own shortcomings and come to terms with who I was, who I am and who I want to be.

Outside of stand up, The Brown Show gave me the opportunity to perform on my own terms. As strange as it sounds I found it much easier to perform for an hour in that medium than I ever do performing stand up for 6 minutes. Not so good if you're a stand up, really good if you're a prostitute.

I don't like to make fun of people and my sense of humour is often misconstrued as such. It is situational comedy which gives me my kicks and the jokes I make are often not for the person I'm talking to or the audience in front of me. The jokes aren't written on a wall in big bold letters, but hidden in segues and subtle inflection. If I make a crass joke, it's to set up a reaction to work with, to break down social norms and allow me to get to the truth where the real humour is hidden.

It's when I get this process around the wrong way and deliver the crass joke as the finisher that I know I've got it wrong. This is when I am embarrassed, this is when I die a little inside.

This is the battle I have been fighting on stage in public, my confidence so low that quips of the lowest common denominator are made.. and then I have nowhere to hide. On stage in front of everyone I have to take my medicine, whether that be with a groan of indifference or laughter for material I don't feel is funny.

Whore! I shout inside myself. Sell out! Shill! People might be laughing, but I feel I let comedy down.

Every now and again I tested the water with material which I liked, but which I knew other people either wouldn't get or wouldn't like. Mostly because I can be likeable and I can give the people what the want.. but I'd rather be clever. A stance frowned upon by some comedians who believe your only job is to make the audience laugh. I would argue it's also my job to make the audience think.

I'm not always thought of as clever because I tend to hide the clever bits behind a wall of sickness and depravity kept aside for Satan himself. I doubt then whether anyone has noticed, but I haven't sworn on stage for two years. I've sung a song about bumming puppies while strumming a ukulele, but I haven't touched expletives.

That joke itself is a prime example of what I'm up to and I've thought long and hard about whether to ruin it here on a blog read by Arabians, but not the mother I intended it for. Taken at face value that joke is funny for some people, some puppies get bummed to death after all, but the real joke is somewhat more sinister. The real joke is that I wrote a deliberately catchy song, a song with repetitive lyrics which I drum into the audience and ask to have repeated back to me. The joke is that people take that song home with them, the joke is that it gets stuck in their heads. The joke is that someone somewhere is humming a song about bumming puppies until they die.

When someone barrels me up on the sidewalk to tell me they can't get the song out of their head, that's the pay off.

When someone barrels me up on the sidewalk to tell me they can't get the song out of their head.. that they filmed it.. that they then showed that to people on the street.. that they filmed their reactions.. and noone laughed. That is a ridiculous multi-level pay off.

The joke is a satire on the things people like, packaged the way they like it. The pay off is my deliverance from the suffering caused by mass marketing. And you thought it was about bumming puppies.

I love when people actually want to discuss what I've had to say on stage, whether they liked it or not, it shows I connected with them. Slowly but surely I've been reviving my confidence and discovering where I sit in the grander scheme of comedy. Not delivering jokes, but setting jokes up for people to find themselves.

Today I feel like less of a prostitute and more like a madam. That the punk rock kid inside of me still kicks against the mainstream and that the entertainer inside of me has figured out there are more than four sides to a cell. That I can write a bunch of wank and know that hardly anyone will notice because it's nestled at the bottom of a rather large diatribe which any self respecting reader will just be glad to get to the end of rather than judge me for being an indulgent waffling twatsicle.

Today the reviews of Seven Sharp rolled in and it reminded me I have something to offer.

Today I read this interview with Stewart Lee which reminded me again that I have something to offer.

I'm not sure if I will continue with the Brown Show, it is in the New Zealand Comedy Festival, but it might not survive past that. I will continue to refine what I have to offer and work on cracking the code which unleashes the comedy beast within. I suspect it is some kind of combination lock dressed as a kitten on top of a puppy in a kangaroos pouch. The only way to crack it is to get in there with them and, to quote one of the best ever lines from the Simpsons, "there's a lot more mucous".

And apparently monkeys.

Points to whoever makes this their desktop picture at work today, you get me.

Sunday, 3 February 2013


Post #50. I am so hard out. I tiny fraction of the relentless pouring of ideas and opinion that flows forth from me. I am so so sorry. Here's more!

I've slowly been learning about how business is done in the middle east. Business is never black and white, mostly just a large ouroboros grey area, but here in many ways it is more straight forward than at home.

In the western world if someone's not going to pay you for example, you'll often have to play cat and mouse for an extended period of time, dithering around while people just hope the situation goes away. Not here, here it's as simple as "I'm not going to pay that".

The strange part then is that such a decision can be made quite arbitrarily outside the bounds of logic or reason and completely removed from the quality of services rendered. They just don't pay it because they don't want to.

It's an interesting system and one that would no doubt be challenged in a court of law.. if this weren't the middle east. The powers that be play by their own rules, because they can. There's a large western influence and things operate within certain familiar parameters, but when it comes to the crunch, the locals get things their own way.

Where I work is no different and while I have a contract, its contents seem to be generally meaningless.

Today the company decided to stop paying for food and laundry. They didn't tell us, those things just stopped being paid for. Surprise!

I should point out that I am paid reasonably well here, but anyone is likely to grumble when their income is skewed to the tune of $250 a week after signing off on what was contractually agreed.

I'm sure there's a sub-clause which reads "we can do whatever we want", but it's the sort of nuisance value which is easy to fixate on when you're spare time is spent alone in your hotel room staring at an empty bowl and a pile of laundry.

Friday, 1 February 2013


The post works a little differently here than at home. Rather than lots of post shops and letterboxes everywhere, there is just one. One massive post building, a complex of epic proportions.

So rather than popping down to the post box, you have to visit the post complex. As I had the day off, I decided today was the day to make the trip. Quite foolishly. For Friday's are the start of the weekend here and post offices world wide know what to do on the weekend, close.

Still this abject failure had one positive spin off, a long walk along the waterfront on a balmy arabian evening.

There was any number of races and languages walking up and down the water, it's one of the few times here where I've felt like I didn't stand out. 

That lack of interest left me a bit off guard for the large imposing black man smiling widely coming towards me, who gave me a thumbs up and said "Gay?!". I nodded and smiled politely, acknowledging his greeting, but not recognising what was said. As he past me he knowingly said "Gay" in a way which suggested his assessment was never in doubt.

As the penny dropped, I decided not to turn around, just clench and walk faster.