Blokes fight lost cause in comedy debate

Blokes fight lost cause in comedy debate

November 21 2001, source: NZ Herald

Blokes fight lost cause in comedy debate


Debates can be serious affairs. Viewers may have witnessed the stress of such competition during Monday night’s episode of Boston Public, when a high-school orator took debating to a new level by punching an opponent in the nose. Thankfully, Kiwi celebrities are more restrained – preferring verbal punches to physical attacks in tonight’s The Great TV3 Comedy Debate.

Following debates in Auckland and Queenstown, the third entertainment special was filmed in front of a live audience at Te Papa in Wellington. The capital city and seat of government is a fitting place to thrash out the arguments for and against needing more women on top.

Quite right, too, that the boys and girls should be kept in line by Wairarapa MP Georgina Beyer, who has taken her fair share of barbs in Parliament.

Ginette McDonald, armed with her famously acerbic tongue, leads the women on their march of male obliteration. Her fellow team members are actor Rebecca Hobbs and comedian/actor Cal Wilson.

The brotherhood of Craig Parker, Oscar Kightley and Kevin Smith look slightly nervous. Their fear turns out to be well-founded. Don’t expect too much depth of argument from these speakers, it’s all about the one-liners, naughty jokes and flawed theories of evil women in world history.

McDonald peaks and troughs, with the lowest point an age-old gag about a vibrator, and the highest a gem about what Helen Clark would have said if she was the first to conquer Mt Everest. Women are on top, says McDonald, but must be vigilant. New Zealand has produced some quite remarkable pioneering women, she says. “Katherine Mansfield, Helen Clark, Silvia Cartwright, Xena Warrior Princess, Ngaio Marsh, Kiri Te Kanawa, and Kylie Bax. And what that girl [Bax] can do with a piece of number 8 fencing wire defies the law of physics. Kylie likes being on top. And underneath. Sideways.”

Parker’s fantastical speech yearns for days when men were men, for an era when “women knew how to make scones with lemonade. Where every cauliflower-eared, beer-gutted man ruled his quarter-acre paradise from his La-Z-boy by the telly.” The men try to give as good as they get, but seem to know it’s a lost cause. Parker has on other occasions been in top form against opposition leader McDonald but this time, when you would expect them the most, he holds back from scoring any cheap shots at her expense.

The best the blokes can do is go for the sympathy vote, cheap laughs about Kevin Smith (even from his own teammates) and admissions of their own emasculation at the hands of women.

When it comes to entertainment, women are definitely on top.