(This was also published by Indian news site WSN)
Regular readers of my blog with a taste for the bizarre have been following the saga of Gary The Goat (best friend of Australian comic Jimbo Bazoobi) for almost a year now.
Exactly a week ago, I blogged that the latest news on Gary was that he was facing criminal prosecution for eating some grass and (police alleged) some flowers outside the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney.
Yesterday, he and Jimbo stood accused at Downing Centre Local Court in Sydney of ‘damaging vegetation without authority’.
Well, OK, Gary was accused of eating the grass and flowers. Jimbo was accused of letting him do it.
Police prosecutor Senior Sergeant Rick Mansley claimed Jimbo “knew Gary was hungry and had been reckless in letting him near the flowers.”
Gary The Goat’s lawyer, Paul McGirr, claimed it could not be proved that Jimbo put Gary up to the act. “We can’t guess what Gary might have been whispered in his goat ear,” he told the court.
Gary The Goat was not called to give evidence and waited nervously outside wearing a rainbow hat, surrounded by reporters, while Jimbo faced the full wrath of the Australian constabulary in court.
In the end, after soberly considering the evidence (the police briefing dossier ran to 200 pages), Magistrate Carolyn Barkell found that Jimbo had no control over what the animal might eat and was unaware of his preference for flowers over grass.
“I accept that he did eat garden plants,” she said. However, she found there was no evidence that Jimbo brought Gary there with the intention of vandalising vegetation. “He might have fancied an ice cream,” she said.
Jimbo and Gary The Goat are on a near-constant tour around Australia. As chronicled in my blog, this time last year British comedian Bob Slayer toured with them with such bizarre and disastrous consequences that Bob is shortly issuing an eBook about their exploits. He also filmed a documentary, currently in post-production with Brown Eyed Boy.
Bob told me today: “We have been waiting for the outcome of this court case before completing the film. Now it just got a whole lot more interesting. There are many stories that can be told here. One angle is the cute goat tale, another is all about a billy goat standing up against the nanny state and then a third is how inspiring people like Jimbo are for the world of comedy.
“I believe that Jimbo, just like Kunt and The Gang before him, is one of the true unsung Heroes of Comedy and a real inspirtion. Having spent years on the fringes of the industry forging his own path, he really deserves this break – Jimbo and Gary The Goat are all over the world media today. Will he embrace the industry or elect to carry on doing his own thing?
“Touring with Jimbo in mining towns, farm towns and sheep stations last year, I saw him handle some of the most difficult comedy audiences imaginable and yet end the night smiling, having given them all a great night out. He has filth and shock in his arsenal but, behind that, there is an extremely high level of skill and a brain that is quite simply hardwired for comedy.
“When, in most comedy rooms, you stand up and do material which points out that racism is perhaps not the greatest idea in the world, you can be pretty sure the audience will agree with you. But, really, this is shooting fish in a barrel. How many acts that do jokes on these subjects could have gone into a room that made the Ku Klux Klan seem a moderate organisation and not only made them laugh, but also actually got them to think about their world view? I saw that happen last year.”
After the court verdict was announced yesterday, Jimbo told an excited media scrum outside: “‘Gary’s name has been cleared of all this slander. I just think there’s so many laws and regulations in Australia which are just an abuse of common sense. This is actually an abuse of the laws of nature – a goat eating grass. I’m a comedian – I can come up with jokes, but it’s pretty hard to compete with the cops coming out with this stuff. Gary the Goat taught the cops a valuable lesson and that is Don’t bite off more than you can chew.”
Gary The Goat made no comment.
I suspect he may have sold rights to his exclusive first-hand story elsewhere.
(You can see a video of Gary The Goat and Jimbo outside court HERE.)