The doublegrunt special
Two grunts for the price of none
The sharp eyed reader will have noticed that there was no grunt in the Post last week. I apologise to that reader, who wishes to remain anonymous. There is a good reason for this sudden absence of my usual blend of funlovin' freewheelin' antidistestablishmentarian satire though . The sad truth is that at 3pm on Friday April 25th, I simply stopped being funny.
I was attending the ex-Communist rabbit owners monthly convention at the time it happened. Some of you will know this from a recent journal entry of mine. So, the good Dr is recycling old material you will say - though probably not out loud, unless you are commenting to an interested third party, a comedy scout, perhaps, who wants to pluck me from obscurity and rocket me to stardom. Well, either stardom or Mars. Personally I don't mind which. But yes indeed, I am recycling old material, for recycling is good. There are limited comedy resources on the planet, and old jokes should therefore never be thrown away. I place mine in a jar and leave them in the sun for a bit, so the humour leaks out and is collected in the bottom of the jar as a sort of amusing sludge. And that, dear reader, is what you get to see on the written page. Anyway, I digress. But I like digressing, so I shall continue.
Have you ever wondered how the world would have changed if Buzz Aldrin had taken up tap dancing? Buzz Aldrin, second man on the moon, came from a long line of half-people/half-bees, hence the name. And bees are well know for their dancing. They dance to tell other bees where to find the flowers. Imagine we danced to give directions too. John Travolta would have won an award for the world's best traffic policeman. Maybe he has. He is certainly on my list of people to ask. Smooth traffic flow is very important, but you never see traffic policemen portrayed in Hollywood as anything other than stupid or psychotic. And the second category is only found in one film1. That's a very sad state of affairs. And they don't make films about dustmen either, or ball bearing factories. Anyway, do you think he would have made a musical? Buzz Aldrin, that is, not John Travolta. I bet you a hundred pounds he would have made a musical and it would have been called 'Fly me to the Moon'. That's what would have happened, for definite. But of course, we could sit here for days spinning stories about what might have happened if this or that or the other had happened2. Or, we could just sit here for days.
So, one of the rabbit owners was drawing a parallel between carrots and Lenin and invited me to comment. I did, but instead of producing my usual poignant yet hilarious witticism, I found myself making a rather dull remark about the weather. The whole room fell silent. Then someone clicked their fingers and said 'Doctor Funderlik, we have read this already in your journal. Stop being lazy, and think of something original to write.' and two bouncers in rabbit costumes picked me up an threw me into the street. And so, ever since, I have been condemned to wander about, eating from bins, and entertaining passers-by with very serious remarks about politics and rabbits.
A man forgets his coat in various different soap operas
Eastenders - an English soap opera
'Hey I forgot my coat...'
'Do us a favour Shirl, go and get my coat for us, will yah?'
'Sorry, Dobbo, I promised Big Derek I'd look after the stall for ten minutes, why don't you ask Phunt?'
'I can't ask Phunt, he promised Mira he'd take her to the pictures today. There's that new Jean Claude Van Damme film on, about carrots and Lenin.'
'Aw, I'm really sorry, Dobbo but I promised Big Derek and no one crosses him. You know that.'
'But, its me coat!'
'Look, If you gave me some rollar skates, I could go and get your coat for ya. If I go on rollar skates, I'll only be a few minutes. But you keep an eye on the stall for me, ok?'
'You know I can't do that Shirl... We all promised Dot we wouldn't wear rollar skates in the square, after what happened with Nick and the delivery van and all that. We can't go back on that now.'
'Well, I don't know, Dobbo, its your coat...'
'Look, please Shirl, but I promised the Hardnuts that I'd post this letter for them right now and I said I'd be wearing my coat when I posted it and now I can't.'
'Well, why don't you phone the Hardnuts and say you forgot your coat and you'll be delayed for a few minutes...'
'I can't tell the Hardnuts I forgot me coat! I promised them I wouldn't forget it this time. Look, why don't you lend me your coat? I'll only be half an hour,'
'Sorry, Dobbo, but I promised Shareeleneena I'd lend her my coat sometime in the next ten minutes, and anyway, pink PVC with an ermine trim wouldn't suit you. No, I'm sorry, its rollar skates or nufink...'
'Oh, all right Shirl, just this once - but don't let Dot see you, right?'
And so Dobbo reluctantly takes out his rollar skates from a plastic bag, hands them to Shirl and minds the stall for her. Shirl heads off quickly to his house, impressing all the passers by with her new rollar skates. Then, just as she rounds a corner, Dot comes out of her house, sees her, sees the skates and puts her hand over her mouth. Then Shirl falls down a manhole. End credits
Italian soap opera
'Hey, I forgot my coat...'
'You forgot your coat? You FORGOT YOUR COAT!!! Why do you do this to me? To humiliate me, is that it? To grind me in the dirt??'
'I admit, I forgot my coat. What do you expect me to do about it now, eh?'
'Throw yourself under a train in front of a group of nuns.'
'And do it slowly. Like first an arm, and then a leg. You might have to wait for a couple of trains, actually... the Turin express comes through every half hour or so, you could do it that way, I suppose.'
'No, not really, you'd just look stupid. Especially without your coat, which, of course, you forgot.'
'Yeah. I feel really bad about that... listen, I...'
'Shh. Perhaps you could collapse screaming into the frozen peas section of Luigi's superstore while one of the cashiers runs to fetch a priest.'
'But Luigi is having a sale today. Dolce and Gabanna, 50% off. Dolce will be there, of course, but Gabanna never leaves the house these days apparently...'
'Are they selling coats?'
'Hey, so I forgot my coat, so? What's with all this coat coat coat thing? Eh? What do you want from me?'
In a fit of passion, our protagonist gets his hand stuck in a food mixer.
'Hey! That was uncle Harry's food mixer! You come here to insult me without your coat, and now you want to insult uncle Harry's food mixer too? I kill you... I kill you....'
Australian soap opera
'Hey, I forgot my coat..'
'What's a coat, mate?'
American soap opera
'Hey, I forgot my coat...'
'That's because, my son, you are a loser.'
'No way, Dad.'
'Yes, a loser. Worse, a loser who is also a lemming. You are the kind of lemming who rushes up to the edge of the cliff and then stops and says "Oh, wait, I fogot my coat...'
'And all the other lemmings, see, they all see you and say "loser" as the plummet to the sea floor. That's their last ever word- "loser". And they mean you. Even when they face death, they call you a loser. Imagine, forcing a lemming to do that. You want to do that to a lemming, huh? They're decent hard working creatures, son, why do they deserve this, eh, why?'
'Get off my case, Dad.'
'Son, you've got to learn one or two things in this world, not forgetting your coat is one and the other is...'
'No, Dad, you're standing on my case. My papers are in it. I need them for a presentation.'
'Is it a presentation on how not to forget your coat?'
'OK, Dad, so I forgot my coat, well, at least I... at least... at least I don't wear stupid chequered trousers...'
'Get out of my office'
End of intermission
My recovery was slow. I began by practicing a new joke.
"This philosopher walks into a bar with a pig under his arm. Where did you find that?, asks the barman. I found it on a pig farm, replies the philosopher. Well, says the barman, pigs aren't allowed in here. OK, says the philosopher, I will go then. Hygeine is important."
When I told people this joke, no one actually laughed. But, encouragingly, quite a few people did pretend to laugh. They did this in a manner that is the same the world over. They smiled, went "Phhhnnnuhhh uh", and kind of snorted through their nose at the same time3. Bolstered by this enthusiasm, I tried out the one about Immanuel Kant and the penguin. This one seemed to provoke an outbreak of actual general mirth in the Bracknell area. The mirth was so unusual that it was commented on in the evening weather reports by Michael Fish, who famously went on to predict that nothing funny would ever happen in Bracknell again. Of course, Mr Fish was wrong on this count. Only two days later, internationally famous comedian Bobby Davro tripped over a bollard on the outskirts of Bracknell, and a nearby long distance lorry driver nearly choked on his tea for laughing.
Mr Memory goes to the Movies
Good day to you all. My name is Mr Memory, and I have lots of extra space in my frontal lobes. Yes sir, yes madam, give me a date, give me a time, and I can remember it for you for ever. One evening, months later, you might be sitting by the fireside, sipping your cocoa and reading quietly, when I will leap to my feet and shout " 13th November 1927, Wolverhampton Wanderers 2, Arsenal 1!" and thereby astonish you with my mnemonic prowess. My memory is insured by NASA, protected by lead sheeting and monitored by the Russians. There is NOTHING that I cannot remember. Ehhh... Hmmm... I wonder have I?... No... Anyway, hence the name, eh? Mr Memory. Pleased to make your aquaintance. What's your name then? George is it? Zippy is it? I won't forget that. Thank you very much. But, there's more. I also like films.
Hang on a sec... I've done this before haven't I? No, I can't have. Not with a memory like mine. Let me think, I was due to play the Brighton Pavillion last Tuesday, or was it Wednesday... so, no I couldn't have done it then. And before that I was on my international tour of Butlins holiday camps. Funny, though, because it certainly feels familiar. Well, let's continue shall we? Sorry for the interruption.
People ask me, "Here, Mr Memory, with your memory, and your huge and fanatical knowledge of the film world, a knowledge which we all know almost borders on obsession ...... on obsession ......... on ob.". Excuse me a minute... Gladiator, done that one... Casablanca... Titanic... Jaws... I've done all these... Hmmm...
Good day to you all. My name is Mr Memory, and I have lots of extra space in my frontal lobes. Yes sir, yes madam, give me a date, give me a time, and I can remember it for you for ever. And that's it. Thanks. Bye.
Oh, no, hang on, here's one I haven't done. 2001. Yes, I can do that one now.
Ah, yes, 2001. Well, there's lots of monkeys in it, I know that much. Yes. Oh, and they kind of hang around in Africa, playing scrabble, smoking and drinking beer. Then this thing turns up, which looks kind of like, I don't know, a shelf unit from Ikea. And the monkeys don't know anything about furniture, so they just point at it and laugh, but that sets off all the fire alarms and there is this big fight then with these other monkeys. At this point the film gets really confusing. I mean, there's just so many monkeys and only one of them has a moustache so it is very difficult to tell them apart. I couldn't tell which one was Charlton Heston at all. I wrote to Stanley Kubrick about this and he had the courtesy to send me a reply:
"Look, they're just monkeys. It doesn't matter which one is which. The interesting stuff only happens when you get to see the spaceships anyway"
And of course, he was right. This monkey finds a bone and chucks it into the air. I don't know why. I mean, its obvious it is just going to fall back down and whack him on the head. But we don't get to see that, because it is too obvious for Kubrick. Ron Howard might have done that, but not Kubrick4. No, Kubrick figured that he'd film the least most obvious thing that he could, and had the bone turn into a space ship. And the space ship is full of furniture from Ikea, so the point being made here is obvious. The monkey's have evolved and now they know all about furniture and how to make it. So, anyway, all these space ships have this big waltz then. I don't know why. I suppose it was difficult to get the monkeys to waltz, so he had to get the space ships to do it instead.
Now, the weird thing then is that this shelf unit turns up on the moon, and all the fire alarms go off again. But because human beings are more rational now, they don't start a big fight like the monkeys did. They fly to Jupiter instead in a big long space ship controlled by this mad computer. The computer's name is HA!. HA! pretends to be all nice and everything and he makes the astronauts dinner and plays chess with them. But then he decides to kill everyone for a laugh, which was a bit stupid of him though. I mean, HA! is supposed to be this big clever computer and all that, but it was obvious that all the astronauts had to do was pull out the plug. And that's exactly what happened. And even then, HA! didn't do anything clever, like say 'If you keep me plugged in I will give you a million pounds'. Nope, HA! just decided to sing a song about daisies. I don't think he was ever a very clever computer at all, and the astronauts were lucky to even make it as far as Birmingham, let alone Jumpiter.
Well, after all that palaver, it is no surprise that this one astronaut decides to take loads of drugs and fly to Jupiter on a skate board. This bit of the film is really boring. Just loads of coloured lights and stuff, and bits of hills, and it goes on and on and on... but then he finally gets there. And guess what, on Jupiter there is this room and the furniture in it is really nice. That was Kubrick's genius, see. To make a film that seemed to be about monkeys and space, but was actually about furniture. I think, anyway... Have I done this one before?
End of intermission
Though, having mentioned Bobby Davro, I should say that it is from him that I learned the most important lesson in life. Never, under any circumstances, call yourself "Bobby Davro". I mean, as a name, it is not even a tiny bit funny, and actually its mostly just irritating. And, as my father once said: If you want to get ahead in this life, you need the stupidest name possible, and preferebly one that mentions an item of seating furniture.. Thus, "Deckchair" is my given name. My parents, Sofa and Futon Funderlik, wanted to keep on the family tradition. And Funderlik is, of course, the name of an old Austro-Hungarian ice cream making dynasty. But, as Bobby Davro once screamed at me through the letter-box: There is no point in having a silly name if you just can't be funny.
I am undergoing therapy at the moment. My Swedish psychiatrist is telling me lots of jokes involving the Pope and a horse. So hopefully I will be back to normal next week. In the meantime, please enjoy this week's doublegrunt. It is simple, it is free and it ends here.