Barry Soper: Any publicity is good publicity

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Peter Jackson waves a new New Zealand flag with a picture of Stephen Joyce being hit by a dildo at Waitangi. Photo / Last Week Tonight
Peter Jackson waves a new New Zealand flag with a picture of Stephen Joyce being hit by a dildo at Waitangi. Photo / Last Week Tonight

Blame it all on John Key, he's the one who sets the standards for his ministers.

So said Angry Andrew Little in response to the Mickey taken out of God's Own by the American telly comedy show Last Week Tonight, hosted by John Oliver and beamed to 13 million.

Oliver reckons the NZ Herald should be awarded the Nobel Prize for literature for christening Stephen Joyce Dildo Baggins, in reference to the sex toy thrown at him on Waitaingi Day and reinforced by our own Lord of the Rings Knight Peter Jackson, dressed like Baggins, waving a dildo flag for the American show, and giving us yet another alternative to consider.

Oliver devoted the best part of five minutes to taking the proverbial after being challenged by Joyce to bring it on. He made a good point, if a dildo had been thrown at someone like Donald Trump, they would have been shot before the toy hit the ground. Here the thrower was led off laughing and was released, presumably after something of a tongue lashing.

The behaviour, not of the protester but of the Minister, was scorned by Little who concedes we can't expect anything better from a Government led by John Key who he reckons made an arse of himself several years ago by appearing on David Letterman out of New York.

Being with Key in the Big Apple at the time, it was seen there are something of a coup for our blip on the radar screen. And if you remember Key's performance before millions of potential tourists tuned into the show, we came out of not smelling like a jock strap but of roses.

Last Week Tonight presenter John Oliver and his take on the dildo thrown at Stephen Joyce. Photo / Last Week Tonight
Last Week Tonight presenter John Oliver and his take on the dildo thrown at Stephen Joyce. Photo / Last Week Tonight

Letterman kicked off the segment telling his audience that New Zealand's one of the top five tourist destinations in the world and Key's role was to provide ten good reasons to come here. Admittedly the PM's offer to personally meet them at the airport became a broken political promise but Letterman's conclusion that we live in wonderland obviously helped the more than quarter of a million Americans who came here last year.

Being seen as a country prepared to have a laugh at, and about itself, obviously isn't doing us any harm. As Oscar Wilde once said, any publicity is good publicity which at least should give Little some sort of relief, given that he got a mention in this piece.

One of my social media trolls clearly went to the same humour school as the Labour leader though, moaning that New Zealand hasn't produced anything funny in years and telling me the only thing inflamed about me is my prostate and if it's anything like my shitty liver, then I'm in trouble.

Talk about laugh!

Barry Soper is Newstalk ZB's political editor

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