Tag Archives: freak

Miss Behave plans chaos for the final week’s Awards at the Edinburgh Fringe

Miss Behave, the Mistress of Ceremonies

So I was talking to Miss Behave, who bills herself “a facilitator of people’s good times, a crowd dominatrix with a friendly twinkle and the perfect Mistress of Ceremonies,” about the acts we should book to appear in the Malcolm Hardee Awards Show this August at the Edinburgh Fringe. She will be the compere.

It was the first time I had met up with Miss Behave since she came back to the UK a few weeks ago after a few months in New Zealand.

“What were you doing in New Zealand?” I asked.

“I was working in a small tent,” she said, “with the Daredevil Chicken Club, who do all manner of wrong things.”

“Such as?” I prompted.

“Well, one of the things they do,” she told me, “is banana-juggling with their mouths – very funny.”

“Oh,” I said.

“…into each other’s mouths, obviously,” she added. “Svetlana is a mail order bride for Mark. They’ve been happily together – or unhappily, depending on who you talk to, for…

“Genuinely a mail order bride?” I asked.

“Yes,” Miss Behave replied, shaking her head. “But they’ve genuinely been married for fifteen years. One of them’s from the States and one of them – obviously – is from Russia.”

“Obviously,” I said.

“They’re fucking brilliant,” Miss Behave told me. “I’m looking forward to working with them and we’re just trying to figure out how, because they’re just about to open a season in New York.

“One of the things I’ve been puzzling about is What’s the point of being authentic when the world is selling out? I don’t get it. It’s weird. One night when I was doing the Friday Night Freakshow at the Udderbelly on the South Bank, it was all getting a bit flat and so I just went Oh, fuck it! and this big-titted woman was heckling. So I went up and had a word with her.

“I asked her what her name was. She said Which name would you like? and I said Obviously, your stripper name and her reply was Not stripper, darling – Porn.

“It turned out she was Holly Halston, retired. Google her. She’s big. So I got her to do a little striptease for me and it all ended up with me sucking one of her tits.”

“In public?” I asked.

“Oh, of course, darling,” Miss Behave replied. “Oh my gosh, one doesn’t want to waste these things. It’s that sense of spontaneity that’s normally missing from shows nowadays. Everything’s terribly slick and terribly… Well, it’s like a photocopier that’s running out of ink.”

“And you hope to bring this to Edinburgh?” I asked.

“I hope to bring this sense of chaos to Edinburgh and I’m hopefully going to be compering a couple of Late ‘n’ Lives and…”

“I’ve lost track,” I said. “What else are you doing up there in August?”

“I’m doing a show called Not Another Fucking Variety Show.”

I laughed: “I bet it’s not going to be printed as that in the Fringe Programme!”

“No, in the Fringe Programme it’s billed as Not Another F*cking Variety Show. It’s Lili La Scala and The Boy With Tape On His Face doing a variety show. And I’m probably also doing compilation-type shows and I’m doing the street. I wanted to work on some new material.”

“You’re walking the streets again?” I asked.

“I’m walking the streets again, John.”

“Doing what?” I asked.

“Well, there’s a couple of new routines I want to work out and Edinburgh audiences are the best for the street.”

“Which streets will you be walking?”

“I will be walking the Royal Mile and The Mound… Me and The Mound get on very well.”

“And you’ll be compering the Malcolm Hardee Awards Show on the final Friday of the Fringe. So tell me why you want to do the Malcolm show.”

“I want to do the Malcolm show because the stuff I like watching the most is when you get really, really funny people flying away from their material. Malcolm, of course, never had any material. But he was really, really funny and I missed seeing him because I am too young. I missed all of that time and I am very bored with ‘now’.

“It’s great that variety’s back. I’ve really enjoyed being part of that, but I want the chaos. There has to be an element of order with chaos, but it’s getting the balance right and, at the moment, it’s just order. And I am bored with it. So I am compering the Malcolm Hardee Awards Show because it’s an honour and because, hopefully, we can bring a shitload of chaos to the last weekend of the Edinburgh Fringe.”

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Filed under Cabaret, Comedy, Theatre

What Mensa members have in common with mental retards and paedophiles

(This blog was also published in the Huffington Post)

UK-based German comedian Paco Erhard is a freak of nature, just as much as a sheep born with two heads is a freak.

At the Edinburgh Fringe this year, his stand-up show got two 5-star reviews.

Edinburgh Guide wrote he is a “stand-up genius… Paco Erhard is going to be big” and Broadway Baby said he is “insightful and hysterical” with “endless original jokes”.

I wrote a blog about him back in August

He is very amiable. But he s still a freak. By definition.

The newly-published November issue of Mensa Magazine has an article about him. There were at least two other Mensa members performing stand-up comedy at the Fringe this year, but I have not asked them if it is OK to ‘out’ them, so they shall remain nameless.

I have, however, asked Paco.

“I don’t mind being outed as a Mensa member,” he told me. “though I have no real idea what the reaction to this in Britain would be. In Germany I think some people fear and mistrust you a bit when you ‘out’ yourself as a Mensa member. But – Hey – Who cares? Just out me.”

Thus this blog.

UK-based German comedian Paco Erhard, like a mental retard, is a freak.

To get into Mensa, you have to get an IQ test score higher than can be achieved by 98% of the population. That does not put you in the ‘top’ 2%… It puts you in a 2% minority of freaks. Anyone different from 98% of the general population is a freak by definition.

IQ tests do not test intelligence. They only test the ability to score high in IQ tests.

They do not test intelligence because intelligence is as changeable as the Atlantic Ocean or a politician’s beliefs.

If I were travelling across the Sahara Desert in a Land Rover which developed a mechanical fault, even given surrealism as part of the trip, I do not think I would want to be travelling with Albert Einstein, because I doubt if Albert Einstein would be able to get the Land Rover going again. I would prefer to be travelling with some spotty, uneducated 16-year-old who is brilliant at mending engines but who is probably thought of as an idiot by everyone who knows him.

If he is in the top 2% of the population in his knowledge of engines, then he is a freak.

Education has nothing to do with intelligence just as IQ tests have nothing to do with intelligence. They test something but no-one can quite define what it is. People in Mensa tend to be computer programmers, teachers and socially inept. They do not tend to be raging successes at anything which would impress the Guardian.

I think the most interesting thing about IQ tests is the curve showing the distribution of IQ scores.

There are various numerical results according to which type of test you take – so a score of 110 may be given a totally different number on another test though it is scored by the same percentage of the population. By definition, the average IQ is always 100. And almost everyone lumps together in a fairly tight bunch on either side of that. The further someone’s IQ score separates from 100, the more freakish and odder that person is.

By 90 or 110, the graph of people’s scores falls precipitously. The interesting thing is that it falls evenly on both sides. The percentage of people scoring over 140 is roughly the same percentage as the percentage scoring under 60.

On the scale that Mensa uses, people have to score over 148 to get into the organisation – that is 2% of the population.

People who score over 148 are very definitely not ‘geniuses’.

They are freaks.

In very round numbers, the UK population is 60 million. The US population is 300 million. With 2% of the population eligible for Mensa membership, that would mean the UK has 1.2 million ‘geniuses’ and the US has 6 million ‘geniuses’.

That is obviously bollocks.

What IQ tests measure – in fact, what any tests about anything reveal – is divergence from the norm.

I remember hearing a radio programme quote the IQ figure at which people are clinically said to be mentally retarded. And it was higher than 52 – in other words, it was less far below the 100 average than Mensa’s 148 score is above the 100 average.

Let us not be PC, here. The people whom doctors used to call ‘mentally retarded’ do clearly think slightly different from Mr, Miss and Mrs 100 Average. That does not mean they are any better or worse. But they do not think in exactly the same way. As a result, they sometimes behave in what are seen as socially inept ways. The ‘bottom’ 2% of IQ scorers are, by definition, ‘freaks’.

For exactly the same mathematical reason, the ‘top’ 2% of scorers are freaks of nature. Anyone who is in the 2% furthest from the 100 score is a freak, especially as most IQ scores are bunched very close to that 100 average mark.

In very rough round figures, 70% of the population have IQs between 85 and 115 – that’s 70% scoring 15 on either side of the 100 average.

People who score between 70-85 (another 15 points away from 100) and 115-130 together account for only another 25%.

By the time you look at scores of 130-145 (another 15 point divergence) you are only talking about 2% of the population.

Mensa entry is 148.

You are not talking about ‘better’ or ‘worse’. You are talking, at both ends of the scores, about divergence from the norm, about brains and thought processes being wired-up ‘incorrectly’. You are talking about freaks of nature.

And, yes, the mathematics do not quite add up. They are rough numbers and I have always been shit at mathematics.

The point is that admitting you are a member of Mensa is a socially and professionally dangerous thing to do, because people get tremendously defensive, therefore aggressive and think you are a twat.

“I think some people fear and mistrust you a bit when you ‘out’ yourself as a Mensa member,” says Paco Erhard.

The Mensa Magazine piece that has just been published about him is, basically, the blog I wrote about him in August.

I joined Mensa in 1969 but never mentioned it to anyone, except a very very few friends, until the early years of this century. By that time, I was old enough to not give a flying fuck what people thought of me.

I took the test in 1969 in much the same spirit that I wandered into the Scientology testing centre in Tottenham Court Road in London one rainy day around the same time. It sounded interesting. And Scientology was certainly… interesting.

No, I did not become a Scientologist.

Nor am I a paedophile. Though admitting you are a paedophile and admitting you are member of Mensa are pretty much on the same scale of social acceptability.

I partly joined because I thought it might, on my CV, offset the fact I had decided to go to (what was then) The Regent Street Polytechnic and study for a Diploma rather than go to a university which would have given me a degree. The irony, of course, was that I could never mention Mensa membership because it makes you less attractive to any employer. No-one wants to employ an up-their-own-arse know-it-all. Which is the perception.

In the early 1970s, through bizarre circumstances, I happened to talk to someone about IQs and mentioned that I had joined Mensa – well, I don’t give a shit about name-dropping either – it was comedian Peter Cook’s then-wife. She said to me:

“You’ve got my sympathy. I know someone else with the same problem.”

She meant it.

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Filed under Comedy, Mental health, Mental illness, Psychology