by Hannes Wessels
Last week I took some friends to watch Pieter Dirk Uys, (aka Evita Bezhuidenhout) perform at his wonderful local theatre, ‘The Peron’. Although I suspect we would disagree on much, I’ve always been a supporter of his because he’s a brilliant satirist and behind the façade of funny impersonations there lies a lot of truth and history and I know he cares about his less fortunate countrymen. But last week was a disappointment. It was really all about what blundering idiots the Nationalist Party had been from 1948 until ‘Saint Nelson’ and the ‘Angels’ of the ANC arrived in 1994 – to save us all from the mindless mayhem caused by my kin. It occurs to me that as the ANC continues to reveal itself as anything but selfless liberators, public praise-singers are finding themselves in an uncomfortable situation because the facts are proving them horribly wrong so they are lashing out at the ‘usual suspects’ with ever increasing vigour. Normally Pieter also finds time to lampoon a few ‘liberators’, but this was pretty much a full-throated attack on the dumb Dutchmen of yore. Prime Minister Hendrik Verwoerd (who was stabbed to death for his sins) got special attention.
I listened and would have loved to have had a chuckle. Being half-Afrikaner doesn’t stop me laughing at my lot; I was brought up on a steady flow of ‘Van der Merwe’ jokes so I know all about not taking myself or my ethnicity too seriously, but unfortunately I didn’t find much funny.
Then I reminded myself it’s hard to have a good laugh at comedians these days. It’s the left-wing politicians and media moguls with their ‘Thought Police’ who’ve advanced the scourge of political-correctness. Their rules make it a ‘hate crime’ if anything remotely offensive is said, even in jest, about anyone other than a very small minority (read conservative, white, heterosexual males). It’s open season on Afrikaners like me, but that doesn’t bother me much; in the army verbal abuse was a way of life and we lived by the maxim; ‘you can call me anything you like but for fucks sake don’t call me late for a booze-up’!
What bothers me is the good laughs are gone; like I had watching people like John Cleese. Monty Python, Fawlty Towers, Life of Brian and other performances routinely brought me to tears, lifted my life and made millions around the world laugh. Sadly, Cleese will not humour us again; the liberals have silenced him.
Cleese says he has been advised not to perform on university campuses because his jokes ‘might be deemed cruel and offensive’. He goes further: ‘If you start to think “ooh, we mustn’t criticise or offend them”, humour is gone, with humour goes a sense of proportion, and then as far as I’m concerned we’re living in (Orwell’s dystopian) ‘1984’.’ Cleese was not being funny when he pointed out, ‘… you can make jokes about Muslims, but if you do, they kill you.’
Jeremy Clarkson and his ‘Top Gear’ team tried to break barriers erected by the ‘virtue-signallers’ and they were winning the laughter wars with the most popular show on BBC television but then they were getting to be too successful so they were shut down for rather flimsy reasons based on a minor assault directed at a lazy caterer.
American comedy (if you can call it that) has been dominated by lefties like Stephen Colbert, Bill Maher, Jon Stewart and of course our own, terrifically unfunny Trevor Noah. Another leading light in the contemporary world of American ‘humour’ is Kathy Griffin who thought it hilarious to do a spoof of her brandishing Donald Trump’s recently severed head. This, to my mind is about as funny as having a heart attack. The fact that people, no matter how much they hate Trump, can find this amusing makes me wonder if they suffer from some sort of mental illness.
Noah, to be sure, has made a big success of his ‘Daily Show’ and all credit to him, but I wonder if he contemplates how lucky he is to live and work in America where a foreigner can make millions belittling and insulting a sitting president? I’m not sure how long a white conservative comedian from the US would last in Noah’s homeland if he tried to make a living heaping abuse on the president and the ANC?
Needless to say, without Trump and white Republicans to ridicule, Noah and his colleagues would struggle. (God knows what they were banging on about when Obama was around – he was out of bounds.) They hurl crass, humourless, expletive-loaded invective at Donald and the audiences scream and cheer. They must be doing something right, but I’m out in the cold. Maybe their sense of being funny is more about what makes their wet-ass audiences feel good about themselves, than being genuinely funny. Maybe this is what comedy has morphed into – a platform for liberals to attack their enemies. And I’m just one in the enemy camp that’s not allowed to fight back.