#comedy

Michelle Wolf is all class (yet again)

Michelle Wolf is all class yet again. It is amazing Netflix can even air such poor taste in programmes. She spends six minutes poking fun at abortion. Indeed it is Netflix’s  reputation at stake to air this crap. You might recall Wolf’s speech at the White House Correspondents dinner where her fingernails-down-a-chalkboard voice made off-coloured jokes surrounding abortion, Trump’s bedroom prowess, his daughter being as useful as an empty box of tampons and even portrayed WH Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders as a fat softball playing lesbian Uncle Tom for white women.

Even if one is pro abortion, it is hardly a topic which should be made the butt of jokes and flippant humour. Yes, comedy can cut across lines but there was zero content in this level of low base crass celebration. It is potty humour at best and vile at worst.

Watch the video on its merits and ask yourself did you laugh at any of her scripted attempt at humour? She lost a $4mn role to star in an Adam Sandler film after her White House stunt. Seems like doubling down is a thing for celebrities. Create shock value to make up for talent they don’t have. Was her comedy any good it would sell on its merit without having to resort to being face down in the gutter.

One thing is for certain, these events gift the mid terms to the GOP. Calling the Pro Life campaigners the equivalent of healthy ice cream or handsome testicles must have taken an age to think up. #WalkAway

Count Dankula of Nazi salute pug infamy escapes prison term

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Scottish comedian Count Dankula taught his girlfriend’s pug to do a Nazi salute as a prank. The video went viral. Regardless of the level of one’s taste in humour, he clearly never intended it as a hate crime. Luckily for the Count, the courts have ruled that he doesn’t need to do a 12mth jail term as was flagged. The fact that it even saw the inside of a courtroom shows just how ridiculous the legal system is becoming. The Crown initially claimed he was inciting hatred against Jews. Count Dankula was convicted of a crime with an £800 fine.

Unlike Kathy Griffin who has seen her career nosedive since after the Trump decapitation stunt, Count Dankula is likely to see a jump in following because he hasn’t made a song and dance about being a victim of his own making.

2+2=5

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It is no surprise that The Guardian has published a review like this. It is yet another reason why it still begs for donations at the end of every article. Instead of thinking the content might be the problem the paper still thinks it’s readers “just haven’t come around yet”.  It’s consistent with leftist thinking.

Buckmaster writes,

Designed to appeal to US audiences first and foremost, and subsequently exploiting Australia’s inferiority complex, Crocodile Dundee confirmed false preconceptions Americans had (and perhaps still have) about Australia and Australians. These movies constructed a conservative fantasy, where white hetero males do all the hard work and are justly rewarded, and where everybody else, including “the sheilas”, “the Aborigines” and “the gays”, understand their place in the pecking order – which is somewhere below people like Dundee.”

Doesn’t the $700mn that the Crocodile Dundee franchise earned speak volumes of is popularity? Was it a surprise to see Tourism Australia make Paul Hogan (Crocodile Dundee) it’s pin up boy to tell Yanks he’ll “put another shrimp on the barbie”? The Guardian should take note.  Is it that many people see beyond all of these stereotypes because of the comedy within it? Why would people pay to watch a comedy film if it must walk on egg shells over every potential grievance? Maybe it would please Buckmaster if signs lit up telling audiences when they should applaud and boo? That way we could be indoctrinated inside the theatre. Perhaps filmmakers should pool all revenues at the box office and divide them evenly so those that didn’t do very well get equal pay?

Will The Guardian protest in ways that force the film content approval boards to edit out any “insensitive comments” against minorities? Jerry Seinfeld used to make fun of our differences all the time. One episode saw Jerry asking a mailman who happened to be of Chinese origin whether he knew where a Chinese restaurant was. “Do you think because I’m Chinese that I know where the Chinese restaurant is?” “No I thought you’d know because you’re a mailman” Two perspectives hidden in the comedy. If Jerry Seinfeld wasn’t funny he wouldn’t have been paid millions per episode. The viewers spoke and the network listened.

The problem with the left is that they can’t laugh at themselves let alone life. Most good humour is achieved by making fun of people. Ricky Gervais made a whole comedy series ‘The Office’ which poked fun of the horrible boss most of us had encountered while tackling all the issues around race, gender, sexual orientation, office romances, hierarchies and the politics inside the workplace. It was so funny because the viewer could laugh at the truth behind the storyline as they could rattle off names of their own colleagues who were just like the characters.

But no, humour must be surgically removed by the state. Rules must be put in place to protect people that aren’t necessarily asking for it.  Were Aborigines outraged after the first Crocodile Dundee? No. Should they and other minorities that supposedly had their feelings hurt retroactively seek compensation from Paul Hogan? Should he be dragged in front of the Australian Human Rights Commission?

What Buckmaster overlooks is the hypocrisy of Hollywood. As the #METOO scandal broke, celebrities might have worn black but so short of material were most of the dress makers one would be hard pressed to see it as a legitimate protest against sexual harassment. That’s ok though as their acceptance speeches spoke of gender pay gaps and all the other champagne socialist causes. That’s the difference. Because they support the leftist causes that’s alright even though half of those in the room are perfect examples of ignoring causes until it affects them. Surprise surprise to see the ratings of Hollywood award ceremonies  plummet. Ringing any bells Mr Buckmaster?

So to  Buckmaster’s  hope that the next Croc Dundee film removes the very things that made the franchise such a hit. Why not just let the box office tell the story of what people are prepared to pay for? People can make up their own minds on what they’re offended by. They don’t need the state to control language and thought. Look at all the howls of protest from the left about Tommy Robinson being a hateful racist bigot. Then look to why he has two #1 best selling books on Amazon? Could it be more people actually agree with him but keep quiet to avoid endless tirades from the left? Then they wonder why Trump won. In a sense the president is a Crocodile Dundee. He portrays himself as a silverback who grabs crotches and throws caution to the wind at political correctness.

2+2=5

Stupidity is self regulating

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In HK over the past 7 days and it is fair to say that MiFID2 regulations are surplus to requirements. ‘Tis the season to highlight one’s own relevance. Nailed to the front door of most brokers are appeals to pester clients to vote in the Institutional Investor (II) survey.

Stupidity is self regulating. In a world which enforces  ‘know your client’ (KYC) rules, sell-side brokers use January to chase and destroy what little value added is left over. Sales people and research analysts pan handle them for II votes. Yes even the brokers ranked 13th plead  with clients to rate them as more useful than they really are.

So in reality, instead of trying to help clients make informed judgements to grow funds under management to increase the likelihood of trading liquidity, the broking  community wastes countless silver bullets trying to manipulate a survey that hopefully fools their upper management that the outlook is bright.

The ability to plunge new depths is growing. One analyst from Daiwa took a video of his dancing skills to put on YouTube as a way to gain attention to win votes. To his credit he came in 3rd ranked. Although one could argue his analytical acumen took a back seat to his moon walking.

However nothing beats my former sales colleague who entered the name of a mechanical monkey (named Monkey Marc) as M. Marc in an II type survey. Clients were only too happy to make him the #1 stock picker in Japan. It was only when they went to the award ceremony when the Survey host realized the joke was on them. It went a step further when it was discovered that M. Marc’s mechanical legs tapping on a numeric keyboard allowed him to actually be credited as the best stock picker.

While many in finance play themselves as the consummate professionals, perhaps it is now a given that the II survey now allows clients to consume entertainment without having to fill in lengthy compliance forms to justify it. As the title says – stupidity is self regulating!

Kathy Griffin’s most hilarious black humour yet because the truth really hurts

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Kathy Griffin has made a video pleading for networks to put her on shows and value her two Emmys. It is perhaps the funniest thing she’s ever done in comedy given she is being serious about how inhumanely the system that she’s made $20mn out of is now treating her – blacklisted as she calls it. Watch her go through the routines of how she is a woman and deserves to be paid as much as men if she gets another go. She should consider herself lucky to get a 30 second snippet on an unknown local network for free such is her poor form and complete lack of understanding of why no one will touch her because networks know audiences won’t bother watching and no advertisers will back her. Perhaps she needn’t have abused Aussie breakfast TV hosts with “you’re full of crap”. She openly admitted she showed no remorse for what she did yet now begs for forgiveness because her brand of apology is unaccepted by the main. Pass me the Kleenex.

Stephen Colbert is to comedy what Conor McGregor is to humility

If people are struggling to get to grips with their president by blathering on as champagne socialists at the Emmys I am seriously struggling to see how Colbert is paid as a comedian. Comedians are not necessarily funny because of the ‘jokes’ per se but the ability to put their audience into seeing the reality behind the jokes. Take someone like Ricky Gervais. His humour is probably the best ever seen because he has such a commanding method to see the pathetic side of humans. Whether the horrible boss in The Office to the extra who becomes a famous writer and loses it all again in Extras, Gervais draws his audience because we all know someone like the characters he uses. Seinfeld was also gifted in this way. Richard Prior was crass but hilarious. Dave Chappelle, Monty Python, Steve Merchant, Ashley Jensen or Ramona Marquez- comics that get it.

Apart from Colbert’s continual obsession with Nazis (salutes and swastikas) his routines stink. If the CBS producers were desperate for ratings, why would they pick such a lame act? Is it any wonder it flopped.  Could it be that viewers are sick and tired of celebrities whining about their president that they can’t be bothered tuning in. There is a thought! Instead Dan rather blathers online about the fact SeanSpicer’s appearance withoutba trigger warning

Jerry Seinfeld perhaps summed up these award events perfectly in 2007

At moments like this I would like to quote my good friend Carl Reiner, who has often said to me: “You don’t give awards to comedians”. First of all, comedians don’t need awards, awards are for people that are looking for work, we’re not looking for work. If you’re any good as a comedian, you’ve got tons of work. We’ve all got wrinkled suits and smelly shirts from packing and unpacking and schlepping all over the goddamn country doing 10 million different kinds of gigs.

And secondly and even more important is your whole career as a comedian is about making fun of pretentious, high minded, self-congratulatory B.S. events like this one. The whole feeling in this room of reverence and honoring is the exact opposite of everything I have wanted my life to be about. I – I – I really don’t want to be up here. I want to be in the back over there – somewhere over there saying something funny to somebody about what a crock this whole thing is.

And I don’t want to give you the wrong impression. I don’t want you to think that I’m not honored by this, because I’m, I feel very, very honored, and it’s – but it’s just that awards are stupid. Every real estate office has some framed, five-diamond president’s award thing by the desk, every hotel check-in has some gold circle service thing; every car salesman is a platinum jubilee winner. It’s all a big jerk off. It is, the hotel sucks, the real estate person is stupid, and the only thing the car salesman is good at is ripping you off.

And why? Because awards don’t mean a goddamn thing. It’s stupid, they’re all stupid. All of the award shows on TV. Honestly, it’s beyond me that we feel the need to set aside a night to give out these jaggoff bowling trophies six times a year, so all these people can pat each other on the back about how much money they’re making; boring the piss out of half the world. And if I hadn’t already won all these awards, I would not be talking like this.

The truth is that the comedians should be the only one getting awards. We’re the only ones that have to actually think of something original and funny, and interesting to say, you know, how hard that is? Do you know how hard it was just to write what I’m saying to you right now? It was hard, this took a long time, but we can do it, we can do it.

I’m just you know, sick of all these actors and you know, I don’t know why we’re so fascinated with actors in this culture. They haven’t got a thought in their stupid bed-head hairdo mini brains. Why are – we must honor this man, why? He pretended to be Bob Johnson. He is a genius, I tell you, it’s genius what he is doing, playing dress up and pretend is not genius ladies and gentleman, it’s not genius.”

Funniest thing I’ve heard all week if it wasn’t so serious

unemp“The FOMC is not a body that suffers from group think” – Fed Chair Janet Yellen. Normally I have to wait to read the FOMC Minutes some 3 weeks after the FOMC meeting to be stunned at the ridiculous language used to cover up the fact they have no idea. I reported last time that the Fed said “The risks to the forecast for real GDP were seen as tilted to the downside, reflecting the staff’s assessment that both monetary and fiscal policy appeared to be better positioned to offset large positive shocks than adverse ones.”

In the press conference Yellen said “Why didn’t we raise”? It does not reflect a lack of confidence in the economy…let me try to set out again…we are generally pleased with how the US economy is doing… evidence is that the economy is expanding more strongly…we don’t see the economy as overheating now…we continue to progress toward our objectives”.” The last sentence beggars belief. If the FOMC keeps lowering forecasts I would argue the objectives are progressing toward you. That’s right you have to cut forecasts to make it sound as though you have credibility.

If things are so peachy why has the Fed lowered its 2016 and  long term GDP growth target to 1.8%? One reporter sensibly asked “if you’re cutting growth predictions, where is the inflation coming from?”  Yellen suggested that the risk of labour market tightness with a healthy hiring outlook but lower productivity.

I thought the use of the word “overheat” by Yellen several times was mind boggling. If the US economy is at risk of overheating on 0.37% rates and you’ve just cut forecasts to 1.8% long term growth, what does that suggest for a normal operating GDP level? There is no way anyone can take central bankers seriously. The language she used in the press conference was a total fiction.

I updated the following chart on US unemployed persons which shows ominous signs of picking turning points of economic weakness over the last 60+ years. Since May 2016, the number is up over 400,000. It will be interesting to see if the September labour stats due in early October show unemployed rising north of 8mn. We’ll know soon enough.