Comedy contests and North Koreans “shaking with towering indignation”

North Korea - not a country known for its comedy contests

In my blog yesterday, comedian Ashley Frieze explained how the Funny’s Funny comedy competition was started last year after the long-running Funny Women contest started charging a £15 entry fee for participants.

Lynne Parker of Funny Women has reacted to the blog by telling me: “Funny’s Funny is doing their thing once a year and we wish them luck with their search for new talent. Funny Women exists all year round to support women who want to get into comedy – whether as a profession or to help them in their everyday life.

“The Funny Women Awards now have three distinct categories: the main award, the variety award and the comedy writing award so we’re offering women a broad platform to develop their talents. Everyone has a choice about which competitions they enter.  Some extremely successful and talented women have come though the Funny Women Awards over the last 10 years and we are proud of all the work we have done, and continue to do, to develop comedy talent.”

A past Funny Women multiple award winner is my chum Janey Godley, who has just arrived in New Zealand for over three weeks of gigs at their International Comedy Festival which starts on Friday.

She e-mailed me last night, saying:

“Am jet-lagged. I blame you and am gonna stab you, cuntface.”

Ah, Glaswegian affection. Never under-stated.

There seems to be a lot of it about. Not Glaswegian affection or death threats.


Comedian Bob Slayer today passed on to me an e-mail from comedian Barry Ferns, who changed his name by deed poll to Lionel Ritchie for professional reasons. Barry is currently jet-lagged in Los Angeles and says:

“There seems something about this place that gives people a licence to go that extra mile with whatever idea they have about how they live their lives. Today I passed someone who was covered head-to-toe in bandages (like an Egyptian mummy), pushing a trolley full of plastic; then there was the man dressed as an old woman (a la Driving Miss Daisy/Angela Lansbury), with an ornate red hat that had fruit on it who was either homeless or wanted to seem like s/he was homeless.

“Then there was one guy advertising himself as The world’s most entertaining drunk – Donate and I’ll sing a sing and tell you jokes. He was dressed head-to-toe in yellow, and stunk like a sewer.

“People are strange in whole different ways in this place. Imagine going to sleep and having a dream where everything is normal except for one random element, that’s LA.

“Of course there’s the chance that I am actually asleep and that would explain all of this. Now if I can just stay up and awake for another few hours I’ll be fine…”

I know the feeling. I came back from North Korea late on Saturday and am still zonked with jet-lag. My only consolation is that I can still read about what is happening in that great country in reports.

Yesterday, the Supreme Command of the Korean People’s Army issued a statement saying that “the indignation of the army and people of the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) at the group of rat-like (South Korean President) Lee Myung Bak is running high.” The Korean Army threatened to “reduce all the rat-like groups and the bases for provocations to ashes in three or four minutes, (or) in much shorter time, by unprecedented peculiar means or methods of our style… Our revolutionary armed forces do not make an empty talk.”

North Korea’s admirably-named Secretariat of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea also issued a statement yesterday saying:

“The mischief made by rat-like Lee Myung Bak reminds one of a rabid dog barking towards the sky. What Lee uttered is no more than squeaks made by the rat before being killed by all people for its wrong doings. Now the army and people of the DPRK are shaking with towering indignation and anger and their resolution to wipe out the Lee group is running high. The army and people of the DPRK will make rat-like Lee and his group meet the most miserable and disgraceful end for doing such mischief in rat holes as defaming the sun.”

How can anyone not admire the spirit of North Korea?

I am currently typing-up and posting my daily blogs of earlier this month from North Korea – using notes I took inside that fine internet-free country and hid on the way out. The latest (from 12th April) is titled North Korea – George Orwell’s pyramid looms over the capital city Pyongyang – and not without reason…

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