I nearly wrote a joke in the shower this morning. It goes something like this (Imagine I am speaking to a crowd, perhaps on television or giving a speech at a wedding): "I've been told I'm not allowed to mention the C-word. It's a word that hates women. And the poor. And the unmarried, and foreigners, asylum-seekers, the NHS, the disabled... Yes, I've been told I can't mention the Conservatives." Hilarious, eh. Actually, it wasn't this morning, it was yesterday. I apologise for misleading the public.
In other comedy news I've spotted a new trend. It's jokes about South African pronunciation. First, on BBC Four's 'Boffins' episode of Some People Telling Jokes there was "Why did the South African in Greece put on weight? He got feta and feta and feta". Then on Channel 4's new series of 8 Out of 10 Cats does Countdown the first four letters in a word round were R, I, N and T. RINT. Jon Richardson quickly quipped "It's what South African's have to pay or they'll get evicted". Jimmy Carr marveled at the joke's ability to get us all thinking in a South African accent. (Which South African accent that is I don't know. There is not a single British accent, despite what Friends would have us believe, so I don't know, there may not be a single South African accent.)
It only takes two points to plot a straight line, and this straight line tells me that South African accent jokes are the latest hot thing in comedy. I'm looking forward to next month's Edinburgh Fringe, which I'll be experiencing entirely through twitter and podcasts, and all the new South African accent jokes that will surely be making the rounds. In fact I've just been down and put a bet, with Saffer Power* of course, that this year's dumb Joke of the Fringe award will go to a South African accent joke.
I've always been terrible at accents. When attempting them, which I do very rarely, I'm never sure what garbled mess will fall out of my gob. I can't even do an impression of my own Lancashire accent. I can say one word in a Welsh accident, which coincidentally is 'vowel' which I picked up from watching a Welsh contestant on Countdown years ago. (I accidentally wrote 'accident' there instead of 'accent', did you notice. It seemed appropriate so I kept it in.) I do a perfect impression of a Northern Irish person saying 'never' after seeing Ian Paisley ranting on telly. My Northern Irish in-laws dispute the quality of my Northern Irish impression, but I've heard their English one so they can't talk... At least not with an English accent.
In much the same way as saying the words 'beer can' induces a serviceable approximation of a Jamaican saying 'bacon', yelling the name of the actor Bill Nighy produces a more than passing homophone of a Northern Irish person impolitely announcing to the waiter that it is time to pay for the meal. Add to this my new-found ability to say 'rent' and 'fatter' in South African and you have my unabridged range of accents. Might not be much, but it's more than Les Dennis had.
*Like Paddy Power, you know, the bookies. I was going to make the joke Saffer Strength to keep the alliteration, but thought it too far from the source material. Saffer is someone from South Africa. I hope this is a relatively friendly casual term, but if not I apologise.