Getting through the day and not caring
At the moment, all I care about is trying not to care and getting through the day. I'm truly beginning to think life is just a series of events you didn't think you could ever deal with or experience and then you do and it's normal and then nothing is surprising or shocking. All I care about these days is what I'm eating for dinner, having a nice clean pair of socks and feeling warm as I flip through a catalogue to see what's on sale at Target.
Because caring leads you into all sorts of situations that don't feel good. I remember going for a midnight swim because a boy I had a crush on suggested it. Now I honestly don't think I would let a man have a small bite of my dinner if he asked nicely.
Why should we?
Not caring about anything means you don't have to spend your life arranging your face into a position that makes a stranger at a party think you're listening to them. I used to spend about 65 per cent of my life craning my neck and smiling while asking all the right questions about someone's time living in London. People need to shorten up their stories. Before I stopped caring I used to wish that it was socially acceptable to take someone's long story and show them how it could have been easily trimmed into a shorter and more effective tale. Thanks to not caring, I've been doing just that.
What will be the impact if we don't buy into this?
Well, if you guys keep caring then I'm going to look like a very rude person, so the one thing I sort of care about is trying to get you all to care a bit less so it normalises my behaviour. Do you know how liberating it is to stare into the middle distance while an acquaintance from university describes his break-up in detail?
BECKY LUCAS performs at Backbeat Bar, K Rd, May 9-13.
Passive Plastic People
I love nature, always have. My first memories are of looking up through swaying tree branches in happy wonder. To be fair, I grew up in rural Ireland in the 70s so if you weren't enthralled by shrubs and rain as a kid your childhood was going to be one long dull disappointment.
I am a bit ashamed to admit that despite all of my love for frolicking through a forest or skipping merrily through a meadow I have never really been much of an active environmentalist. I fall into that category of person best described as "aware and concerned, yet inert". It affects all aspects of my life. In my domestic situation for example I am aware that there are tons of things that need doing around the apartment at any one time. I am also aware that if I ignore it for long enough my wife will eventually break and complete the task.
I act on nothing quickly, I mull things over for a great deal of time. I am not a highly energised maker of big decisions able to absorb and digest vast amounts of information before carrying out decisive and effective actions. Nope, not I. I will get things done but at the pace of a particularly aged Galapagos land turtle with a dodgy knee.
So my desire to actually do something about protecting the planet has been something of a slow burner -- but hopefully one that releases less harmful gases. It's not that I have been a horrific unthoughtful polluter (although, as a comic, I have had to endure many of them in anxious pre-show, green room situations) but rather I haven't actively done anything meaningful to improve the situation.
Lately I have found myself muttering angrily as I peruse the goods in my local supermarket. My slightly maniacal utterances are directed at the bewildering amount of waste plastic surrounding so many goods.
Some of the more ridiculous examples of plastic waste I have seen lately have included individually wrapped broccoli heads, twin-packed avocados in their own pointless plastic tray like they are planning on taking part in a weird fruit kayaking competition and individually shrink-wrapped apples. Why on earth would you shrink wrap an apple? To keep it together? I've never seen an unwrapped apple suddenly develop issues with the surrounding air pressure and violently explode like popping candy.
Tech companies are also adding to the problem. Every time a new device hits the market with an advertising promise of sharper images, more memory and possibly even giving the owner greater sexual appeal it inevitably produces more waste. The 12-month-old device, you loved up until recently, now looks sad, old and dorky. Now that there is a new kid on the communication block it's time to chuck your "jurassic, cool-sapping" phone in the drawer and unwrap the box of a new tech wet dream to a better life, a better you or, as we should perhaps see it, a new lump of plastic and minerals.
The only thing that takes longer to decompose is Donald Trump's hair and no doubt the legacies of his disastrous environmental policies.
If we don't do something now the only reason we will need a phone with greater memory is to store pictures of what the planet used to look like.
I know we can never have a world without plastic, we are reliant on it for so many things.
But the time has come to cut down on our habit.
I urge you New Zealand, ditch the plastic bag habit. Grab yourself a fancy little hippie-dippy tote bag and get into the habit of using it. I'm making a real effort to buy less "stuff" and also buy it unwrapped. Organisations like A Plastic Planet are currently campaigning in the UK for a plastic-free aisle in supermarkets, very simple idea, loose goods, no wrapping, less waste equals better planet.
ZOE LYONS performs at Q Theatre, Queen St, May 2-6.
THE FAN BRIGADE
1. Without bees we will have no avocados. Without avocados, how can we cut down on avocados? And if we can't cut down on avocados, how can we buy a house in Auckland?
2. Without bees, there will be no beehives, and without the Beehive, who the heck will run this country? It will be chaos. A stable political climate is important.
3. Without bees, there will be way less food, everyone would be hangry-as. Everyone would be yelling outrageous things, like "I'm quite hungry", and so on.
4. Without bees, there would be no honey, and how would men patronise our input in business meetings if they couldn't call us honey? They would have to call us babe, or infant. Or even respect us, yuck.
5. We couldn't call cool things "the bee's knees" anymore, because that bee has died.
6. Bees are golden and fluffy. We need them to make glamorous coats.
7. If there were no more bees, the gang Killa Beez would have to change their name. They would have to get all the members together in a meeting to vote on a new name, and it's really hard to find a time that suits that many people, so it would be annoying for that gang.
8. We will all die without bees. There will be war, and famine. There will be dead bodies everywhere, and they smell very terrible.
THE FAN BRIGADE perform at Backbeat Bar, K Rd Tue 16 -- Sat 20 May
Right now, top of my care chart is the classic injustice stuff; racism, sexism, sex trafficking. Hang on - is this supposed to be funny? Imagine this being said but with a silly accent and a joke nose.
In all honestly the world seems to have gone mad. My granny went a bit mad actually, but at least she was entertaining with it - she would show us postcards of Native Americans or Princess Diana and tell us absurd, fictitious stories about them. So I guess the message is if you're going to go mad, do it with a bit of grace and sparkle please. Actually, I've just remembered, she also went for a walk down the high street naked - so a mixed bag of results.
I don't know what it's like in New Zealand - it seems lovely - but in the UK and Unite gotten ourselves and I think everyone needs to take a long cold shower and just cool off.
Why should we?
I believe that everything we do has a knock-on effect, so we should try and act with empathy and compassion as it makes for a better civilisation.
So, extending that notion, I think we even have to treat the fascists with kindness and that's sometimes hard to do. But the alternative (treating hate with hate), only brings about more separation. There's a saying that "the people who are hardest to love need it the most" -- it's very true. BUT WHO HAS GOT THE TIME OR PATIENCE with all the online gaming and French kissing that needs to be done?
What will the impact be if we all don't buy into this?
World War III? Nuclear war? A wipeout of civilisation? I don't mind that really -- we could just start again -- very much a case of turning it on and off again.
LOU SANDERS performs at The Classic Studio, 321 Queen St May 11-13.
Did you know the Greenland shark has been found with reindeer in its belly? Imagine swallowing a reindeer's antlers? How can we possibly be killing off animals that can swallow one of Santa's pets that don't even live in the sea?
Also, we female humans need strong role models and fact number 1a) female sharks don't need male sharks to mate and number 2b) female sharks have thicker skin than male sharks and if that's not inspiring, I don't know what is. It's estimated that around 100 million sharks are killed every year. That's like ... a lot a day.
We need sharks for the ocean to work correctly, because it's a little known fact that sharks do a lot of the vacuuming, buying of the toilet paper and organising the bill payments. Sharks are very organised. Their diaries are always up to date. They also play a really important part in the food chain and the ocean ecosystem needs them around to stay healthy and strong.
And boy oh boy, do we need to make sure we look after our oceans. If we don't look after our oceans, all the ocean creatures will crawl up out of the sea and live on the land and it'll be even harder to buy a house in Auckland.
DONNA BROOKBANKS performs at Basement Studio, Lower Greys Ave, May 9-13.
Women in sports
Right now I care about women in sports. You should care about women in sports too. Do you like men in sports? Great. May I suggest women in sports? No, watching beach volleyball every Summer Olympics does not count.
I want to talk about team sports mostly. I like to think I could be a Silver Fern if I tried. My secret to keeping that dream alive has been not trying, and therefore not proving myself wrong. It's an excellent tactic.
I work as a writer, where I spend eight hours a day in an office and my exercise is walking to the bakery to get a pie, but you know, if I really wanted to, I could be a Silver Fern. I'm resigned to the fact that I probably won't ever become an All Black.
The trouble is, there's not much incentive to reach peak status as a woman above the genuine love of sport. I think I might be a narcissist. I can't commit to anything unless I think I could be the best at it, and if I'm going to be the best at it, surely lots of money and glory are to be expected, right? Especially if your male counterparts are getting the equivalent of winning the lottery every year.
I get it, fewer people watch women's sports. But that is what this write up is for. You should watch it. It's like how my mum told me I'd like mushrooms if I just tried them. Now I love mushrooms. If more people watched, there'd be more funding and coverage in the media, therefore more people would watch.
It's a weird cycle but I think it's doable. The movie Air Bud made $27 million. The WNBA gets $25 million dollars a year from ESPN compared to the NBA's $930 million. More money was spent on a fictional movie about a dog that plays basketball than women who play basketball for real. Let it be known, no hate for Air Bud, I love that dog, but it highlights a huge problem.
A few weeks ago I turned on the White Ferns (that's our national women's cricket team) in the office. Every single person who watched it had an excellent time.
We smashed Australia to pieces. Isn't that what sport is all about? Beating Australia? Yet, the next morning I only saw a couple tweets online and a small piece in the news. These women deserve so much more.
Give it a nudge. I promise it's just as good.
MELANIE BRACEWELL performs at Backbeat Bar, K Rd, May 2-6.
• The 2017 NZ International Comedy Festival powered by Flick Electric Co. from 27 April - 21 May. For the full line-up of shows in the Festival head to comedyfestival.co.nz