‘… And, London, have you ever wondered why they never play heavy metal on the radio? Or at least something other than the same five love songs sung by five thousand different people. I mean, it’s like fricking pollution!‘ Jack Carlicks took a sip of water and fell silent, waiting for the applause. It came a few seconds later, loud and rapturous.
The stage lights came on behind him, turning him into a gaunt silhouette. He cradled the mic in his arms and said: ‘You know, when the aliens eventually pick up our radio transmissions, they’ll think that the word ‘baby’ is a type of punctuation. No wonder that there hasn’t been any recorded contact with alien life. It is, and you heard it here first, a government conspiracy to scare away the cool planets.‘ A few giggles rippled through the theatre.
‘You’ve all seen Star Trek, right?’ An eerie silence filled the room ‘Seriously? Not one of you? Well, this is the worst science fiction convention I’ve ever been to!‘ Laughter erupted, Jack continued: ‘It’s set in a future where there’s no rockstars, no adult magazines, no wrestling, no motorbikes, no horror movies, no violent videogames and nothing but wine coolers to drink. Everyone has to wear skintight leotards too. But, get this… humans are STILL the coolest people in the United Federation Of Planets.‘
‘And, you know why? It’s like that thing in high school. You do have high schools here, right? Anyway, if you can’t hang out with the cool kids, then you hang out with the nerdiest nerds you can find. So, you look cool… by comparison. NOW do you see why there’s nothing but pop music on the radio?‘ The audience convulsed with laughter.
Jack reached into his jacket and pulled out a tabloid. For a second, he sat down, took another sip of water and leafed through a few pages. Bewildered murmurings filled the theatre. The mic crackled slightly.
Throwing the paper away and leaping to his feet, Jack grabbed the mic and said: ‘I’ve been here a week and I still can’t get enough of your press! There are paranoid conspiracy theories about Europe on page two, there’s nudity on page three to distract from the rabid rantings on page five, there’s all sorts of scary stuff about terrorism on page four and there are even calls to … bring back… the death penalty, on the front page! It made me feel homesick, just like that.’ He clicked his fingers. The air rumbled with laughter.
‘But, you’ve gotta wonder how they print this crap? I mean, we’ve got the first Amendment. Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of the press. And, with all that freedom, they still don’t print this kind of rubbish. It’s so… boring.‘ More laughter filled the air. ‘What are people supposed to laugh at every morning?‘
There were a few boos and hisses. Jack arched his eyebrows: ‘You mean, some of you actually…. take this stuff seriously? Even the stories about how Germany is planning to ban pint glasses from your pubs?‘ A solitary drunken holler echoed through the silent theatre. Jack chuckled: ‘Dude! There’s more beer in a stein! It’s like two pints… for the price of one.‘ He lowered his voice to a conspiratorial whisper: ‘They’re. Doing. You. A. Favour!‘
By now, the audience was roaring with laughter again. Jack chuckled and launched into a routine about John Major, Bill Clinton and a golden saxophone.
When the audience had stopped guffawing, he smiled and said ‘Well, I’m glad you actually know who John Major is. When I did that joke in Texas, all I got were blank stares. Anyway, that’s all I’ve got time for at the moment. It’s…‘ He tapped his watch ‘…Half past ten, which means that you have exactly half an hour of drinking time left. Maybe the stein isn’t such a bad idea after all. Goodnight. Peace out.‘
The curtain fell.