The last two days have been a flurry of attempting to write material in time for Old Rope only for me to write only three jokes, all of which will be relevant for a week – one only for a day – before disappearing into the ether along with the news story it represents. There is something both so satisfying and yet so disheartening about writing a good topical gag. Let’s look at the three I wrote for example:
‘I’d forgotten its International Talk Like a Pirate Day. Luckily I’ve spent all day shouting ‘give me the fucking ransom or Judith Tebbutt dies!’
Not a very nice joke, admittedly, but let’s ignore the possible shock or meanness that is normally absent from my material and instead look at how limited this joke’s run is. Firstly its about International Talk Like A Pirate Day. That’s only one day a year. At best, I could maybe use that joke today, talking about yesterday and then I’d have to wait another whole year just to say it again. That’s if the news reference it also contains wasn’t so relevant to now, the story of the tragic death of David Tebbutt and his kidnapped wife taken by Somalian pirates. So for this joke to ever really work again we’d have to hope Judith Tebbutt somehow gets kidnapped again in exactly a years time by pirates. And chances are slim and bloody unfair if that happens too.
Joke two was:
‘Vince Cable has said the UK’s economic situation is the equivalent of war. It’s the not, otherwise we could, without any UN backing, bomb the shit out of the banking sector.’
This has slightly more life to it but not a lot. Its working on a quote that Cable said in his speech at the Lib Dem conference. As much as it was in the news yesterday and today and probably will be a little bit tomorrow, by a week’s time the government will have fucked something else up, some other news story will be the focus and someone somewhere will have said something equally bonkers or easy to manipulate into a joke. It also works on the basis of recent war events which while it has a certain generalisation to it, wouldn’t be relevant in about 50 years when war is all done online or by robots. So for this joke to work again, we have to have exactly the same economic climate, Vince Cable or someone in his position has to make the same comparison and several wars have to have operated along similar lines. Again, chances are dead in the water before they’ve even started. I reckon I can keep this joke for about two weeks.
‘Clegg said the Lib Dems are a party of the heart and mind. Great, but they are still lacking a backbone.’
This will last longer than the others but is still only operational for as long as a) the Lib Dems are a waste of time, which to be fair will probably be ages, b) Clegg is in charge of them, which may not be that much, c) the political situation is such that everyone sees their party as the weakest which again, to be fair, will probably be a while and d) humans still need a backbone to operate and live. I give that about 80 years before brains can just live in jars. So really this ones a keeper. As long as I’m in the UK. Pointless at abroad gigs.
So essentially, several hours writing and should I be gigging abroad anytime after the next week or so, none of them will be useful. Great. Roll on the next big tragedy that’ll be in the news for years. So odd that for a joke that brings mirth, we need hella big tragedies to keep us busy writing wise. Just one more Princess Diana, another George Bush in power, an illegal war or a natural disaster that can be talked about 6 months after its happened without persecution. Or maybe, I just need to start observing ‘hilarious’ everyday observations again and stop being so news dependant. So er…forks eh? Whats up with that? Er……..