To Play the Fool


This fellow is wise enough to play the fool,
And to do that well craves a kind of wit.
He must observe their mood on whom he jests,
The quality of persons, and the time,
And, like the haggard, check at every feather
That comes before his eye. This is a practise
As full of labor as a wise man’s art,
For folly that he wisely shows is fit.
But wise men, folly-fall’n, quite taint their wit.
from Twelfth Night,  Act 3, scene 1
(This guy’s wise enough to play the fool, and only clever people can do that. He pays attention to the mood and social rank of the person he’s joking with. And he doesn’t let go of his target when a distraction appears. His job requires as much effort and skill as any wise man’s occupation could. And he shows he’s very smart at playing the fool, while smart people look stupid when they play the fool.)
I’ve been thinking a lot about fools lately: St Francis of Assisi, Russell Brand, King James I, Prince Myshkin…
Two of the last three books I read were about fools “To Play the Fool” and “The Idiot“, the choice was coincidental but I’m a great believer in serendipity (finding what we want without consciously looking for it). The other book was about buried pirate treasure (“Riptide“), maybe if two of the three books had been about buried treasure I’d be posting about that now.
Russell Brand in a recent interview by Jeremy Paxman riled humorously against the elite. The clip was heavily commented upon in the social media, some applauding him others referring to him as a “twat”. I read Brand’s autobiography “My Booky Wook“, he is an interesting and amusing man.
In the eighties when the Labour party was in disarray with infighting the only effective opposition to the excesses of the Thatcher government were the puppets of Spitting Image.
Humour can undermine dictatorships and make them uneasy, there was a joke in Stalinist times:
Q: What is the difference between Roosvelt and Stalin?
A: Roosevelt collects the jokes people tell about him and Stalin collects the people who tell jokes about him.
Playing the fool can be dangerous.
In 2008 I took a stand up course with Logan Murray (which I would highly recommend, it was a lot of fun and met some great people, here is a link: )
At the end of the course we did a showcase stand up set in front of a real audience at a bar in Covent Garden. Here is my performance: I inwardly cringe watching it, but I am glad I did it.
After that I did 6 gigs in Derby, Worcester, Alcester and London, an interesting experience, moving to Tbilisi curtailed any futher gigs but it gave me some insights into the craft of the stand up. A serious business comedy.
The new pope is Francis I, named after  the most famous example in the Western church of a Holy FoolSt. Francis of Assisi, whose order was known for following the teachings of Christ and walking in his footsteps. Thus, upon joining the order, Franciscans gave away all possessions and focused on preaching in the streets to the common man. I haven’t been interested in popes before, but this new one looks interesting, there is a lot of injustice in the world and capitalism and the love of money is making a few people very rich, exploiting the workers and the poor (George Carlin, an American stand up, is worth watching on Youtube clips). I don’t intend for my blog to get too political.
Who are your favourite Stand Up Comedians?

Mine in no particular order are: Ed Byrne, Dara O’Briain, Dave Allen, Steve Martin, Sarah Millican, Jane Godley, Rhod Gilbert, Shoppi Khorsandi, Alexei Sayle, Chris Rock, Ardal O Hanlon and when I post this blog I’ll probably think of some obvious omissions.

Richard III and Elizabeth II

Back in September 2012 , the bones of Richard III were unearthed beneath a car park in Leicester. Here is a comic sketch I wrote at the time.

Scene: Opening the mail in Buckingham Palace.

Queen: Philip, one has a letter here from Leicester City Council.

Philip: Leicester? You still have some English subjects there? I thought they were all..

Queen: (cutting Philip off): Behave Philip you know how you upset the Chinese with your “slitty eyed” comment.

Philip: What do the blighters want?

Queen: Apparently, they’ve found the bones of Richard III and want to know whether we want them.

Philip: Richard the third? That’s rhyming slang for

Queen: … disinterred

Philip: Why would we want them? ( Corgis yapping)

Well, the dogs might like them.

Queen: One doesn’t feed ROYAL bones to the corgis.

Philip: Where’d they find them?

Queen: Under a car park, apparently.

Philip: A car park? A car park? How’d he end up there, playing “cache, cache” was he? I hope they don’t expect us to pay the fine.

Queen: No, silly! The Plantagenets didn’t have cars.

Philip: (dramatically): Now is the winter to be buried in cement…

Queen: We should give him a proper burial. Do they have a cathedral in Leicester?

Philip: What amongst all the mosques and Hindu temples?

Queen: Well he can’t be buried at Westminster, he killed two princes…

Philip (whispers): well, there was that small matter about a princess…

Queen: What was that?

Philip: er, nothing dear….

Massive Air Spill at Wind Farm harming…no-one

BREAKING NEWS: A massive air spill has been reported at a wind farm. Employees said, “We were too busy to panic, we have spent the day securing papers with heavy objects lest they blow away.” The massive air spill has affected a swathe of Northern Europe. The wind has been detected in parts of Belgium, Norway and Germany and there are some fears it may have blown further still. Doctors are predicting that such a spill could cause as many as zero cancers of which half may prove fatal.

Engineers are calculating how many balloons will be needed to contain the wind slick. They have also suggested that chemical dispersants may be needed to break up the wind. Although critics suggest breaking wind would be an environmental disaster, especially on a curry night.

A spokesperson for BP said “This is an air spill raging out of control with no end in sight. The problem with these alternative energy sources is that we have no experience of dealing with them when things go wrong, unlike in the oil industry where we have had decades of experience mopping up oil spills and associated environmental disasters.”

Last month a solar spill at a plant in California caused sales of sunglasses to rocket and those living near the plant are looking nicely tanned. On Fox News, Sarah Palin demanded to know what President Obama was doing about all the photons spilling out of the sun on a daily basis.

Managers at the Wind Farm site were saying there is no need to panic and that Britain is the windiest country in Europe, the spill they claim was only “a slight breeze.” The CAW (Campaign Against Wind) said it was more of “a sustained gust.”

Mr Miller a spokesperson for the Wind Farm advised the public if they were concerned to “sit back and enjoy the breeze and make sure all bouncy castles were secured.


Note: this post originally appeared in “The Wind Farm”, the editor of which has since defriended and blocked me for reasons I’m not privy to.