Category Archives: Laughs

A compilation of Miriam Margolyes’ appearances on the Graham Norton Show

I don’t know why I don’t ever see her on any other chat shows, though I expect it’s because Graham Norton is the only one who would have her but the fact is Miriam Margolyes is one of the funniest people I have ever watched on television.

This week, she appeared on the show for a third time with the American rapper Will.i.am. Within four minutes she had already uttered the kind of phrase only people the same age as Prince Philip can be expected to get away with: ‘I don’t know many black people outside of show business’. It doesn’t stop there and Will.i.am clearly thought she was hilarious, because well, she is.

Every single time Margolyes makes an appearance on Norton’s sofa, she can be relied upon to tell a story that no ordinary person would even dream of imparting. Some of her best bits can be seen below.

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Filed under Celebrities, Cool, Laughs, Women

Dan Savage’s struggles with the Catholic faith reflect those of the Irish youth

This week, the Catholic Church once again made headlines for its antediluvian rhetoric when it publicly reprimanded America’s largest and most influential group of Catholic nuns for promoting what it called: “radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith.”

Putting aside the eyebrow-raising assertion here that the Church sees itself as incompatible with the equality of women, let us take a look at what exactly the group (the Leadership Conference of Women Religious) was promoting. This from Reuters: “the Vatican reprimanded [the LCWR] for spending too much time on poverty and social justice concerns and not enough on abortion and gay marriage.”  Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of Network, a Catholic social justice lobby founded by sisters, said that she was stunned. “I would imagine that it was our health care letter that made them mad,” Sister Campbell said. “We haven’t violated any teaching, we have just been raising questions and interpreting politics.” To remind any readers who are a little rusty on their Gospel, Jesus spent his life talking about poverty, social justice and our duty to the poor, as exemplified in this passage:

“21Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me. 22And he was sad at that saying, and went away grieved: for he had great possessions.” – Mark 10:21-22.

Meanwhile, regarding the issues of abortion and gay marriage, so much more fascinating to the Vatican than boring old poor people, Jesus said: nothing.

The Church has announced that it is appointing Archbishop J. Peter Sartain as delegate to ‘oversee reform initiatives’ in the LCWR. In other words, a man is being sent to rein the crazy women in.

This incident, on the greater scheme of things, is unimportant. There have and will continue to be many like it and nobody is too surprised that the Catholic Church appears to be out of touch. However, it is an exemplary portrayal of a Church which most Irish people (especially younger generations) feel no longer represents their beliefs. Indeed, a Church which, they feel, has abandoned them completely.

Concurrently, statistics are telling us that Irish people are moving further and further towards a secular consensus. More than eight in every ten Irish people want the church and state to be totally separate, 65% strongly agree that this should happen, and less than three in ten have quite a lot or a great deal of confidence in religious groups.

Nevertheless, this is not to say that Irish Christians have stopped believing. The results of Ireland’s 2011 census showed that 90.5% percent of people still identify as Christian, the vast majority being Catholic. While observers and pundits in other parts of the Western World proclaim a kind of Great Atheist Arrival, where atheism has become almost completely ordinary in the mainstream, I do not believe this is the case in Ireland. I think many young Irish people want to be Christian, they want to believe in God, in a higher power and in system of life based on faith in a divine creator.

Whether this desire is instinctive or socialised, it is nonetheless there. I know very few Irish people of my generation, or any other generation, who describe themselves as atheist. In some cases, they will call themselves agnostic. The vast majority will describe themselves jokingly as ‘lapsed Catholics’ or as ‘dirty Prods’. That is still an identification with a system of belief. My contemporaries still believe in God.

The long-running weekly hour-long radio program This American Life, produced by WBEZ in Chicago and hosted by Ira Glass, is broadcast across America by Public Radio International.  Primarily a journalistic non-fiction program, it has also featured essays, memoirs, field recordings, short fiction, and found footage. Basically, for an hour every week, it gives America a compressed version of BBC Radio 4.

Last year, it invited the author and columnist Dan Savage (founder of the It Gets Better campaign) to speak about his relationship with Catholicism, one which had lain dormant for years until it was resurrected by the death of his mother from cancer. It is both hilarious and upsetting. It is as close a description of my generation’s feelings towards religion as I could think of. A deep, strong desire to be part of a greater, familiar community of belief. An inability to reconcile that desire with a Church that says condoms spread AIDS and protects rapist priests.

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Filed under America, Current Affairs, Ireland, Laughs, Life, Religion

The latest beauty secret!

 

Last October, I blogged these photos of famous women whose photographs had been altered using the Adobe graphics editing software Photoshop.

Here, a bunch of laugh merchants go to town on the way the program is often used and abused:

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Filed under Art, Culture, Current Affairs, Laughs, Photography, The internet

One for the weekend

As you kick off your shoes and prepare yourself for a weekend vegetating on the sofa/drinking with friends etc. spare a thought for those with lives perhaps a bit more interesting/different…

1. Japanese man playing a violin to Super Mario.

2. Brazilian police crashing their squad car into a plane.

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Filed under Laughs, Weekend

Every time you shave, a moustache dies

Movember is upon us and I thought I’d share this video by Dublin based comedy rock band Dead Cat Bounce. They were guests of honour at my cousin’s wedding last month, the redhead was best man. For more on the campaign, which raises money and awareness for and of testicular and prostate cancer, visit the website here.

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Filed under Charity, Laughs, Music

Happy birthday, Vicki!

Reviews are one of those magical things that go by the ironic rule: The Worse, The Better. I much prefer AA Gill when he’s lambasting a restaurant for its waiters’ ineptitudes than when he is serenading it with praise.

Back in Aberdeen, a friend of mine’s house was decorated with a life-sized cardboard cut-out of Taylor Lautner as Jake in the Twilight movies. It was disconcerting to say the least. The first time I encountered it, I was drunk and it was very dark. I didn’t get over the shock for about a week.

It would seem, however, that poor Taylor, although much-admired by the female population of Northern Scotland, is faring rather a lot worse in the following review of his new film.

It’s so bad, it’s fantastic. And I thought my friend Vicki would appreciate it, and it’s her birthday so here it goes…

Think of Abduction this way: There’s the Bourne Identity, then way below that is Mark Wahlberg’s Shooter. Then there’s 50,000 feet of crap. Underneath that is Liam Neeson’s Unknown. Dig another 100,000 feet until you hit a liquid-y orange-and-brown ooze and there you will find Abduction, a movie so bad it shouldn’t be allowed to call itself a movie. It should be called bad performance art for troglodytic, subhuman Caucasian bed-wetting females with a predisposition for shirtless, roundhouse-kicking dildos. Comparing Bourne Identity to Abduction is like comparing Beyonce’s ass to Danny Devito’s: Sure, they’re both big, but one you want to tap and the other you want to shave and disinfect before you feed to stray dogs.

Read the rest here.

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Filed under Aberdeen, Film, Laughs

iPhone Whales

My new favourite meme:

 

 

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Filed under Laughs