Harvey Weinstein
Harvey Weinstein arrives in court New York, Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2020. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Harvey Weinstein’s – my old mucker – trial is presently in progress in Manhattan Supreme Court, New York City, being heard by Judge Burke. 

Poor bastard Harvey – if everything you’ve heard and read about him is true – he is a monster. Even if 10% of what you’ve heard and read about him is true, he’d still be a monster. Perhaps he is a monster – but does any of it have any significance in any of our godforsaken lives?  

Now, this two-minute-read article is not going to be a polemic about the unfairness of the legal justice system, or a discussion of the #MeToo movement.  All I really want to talk about today, is how everyone’s present sense of offence is becoming ridiculous and, most sad of all, killing the funny.

Todd Phillips, the director of the US$1bn box office hit Joker – who was also responsible for the direction of The Hangover trilogy, which grossed over US$1.4bn,had this to say about why he opted out of being involved in comedy movies, and instead got into something way darker – like Joker:

“Go try be funny nowadays with this woke culture. There were articles written about why comedies don’t work anymore – I’ll tell you why – because all the funny guys are like: ‘f*** this sh*t, because I don’t want to offend you. It’s hard to argue with 30 million people on Twitter. You just can’t do it right? So, you just go, ‘I’m out’”.   

Australian comedian Steve Hughes, did a brilliant routine about being offended, at the Hammersmith Apollo Theatre in London:

“Now you have adults going: ‘I was offended, and I have rights!’  Well so what – be offended – nothing happened. You’re an adult, grow up, and deal with it.  I was offended!  Well, I don’t care.  Nothing happens when you’re offended. ‘I went to the comedy show and the comedian said something about the Lord, and I was offended, and when I woke up in the morning, I had leprosy.’”  

Everyone has strong opinions these days about just about everything – about the ANC, about Judge Hlope, about Trump, about Johnson, about Eskom, about Mmusi Maimane, even about my ex-book agent, whom I recently fired.  But what difference does any of it really make in our lives – and more significantly – how does it pay the bills; how does it get us to the next step in our long-term true-love fiction, or in our one-night-stand fleeting car back-seat grope and schtupp reality?  I try to focus on the here and now: to take my daily medication, to have a steady supply of Jameson whiskey and Bombay Sapphire gin, and to pry open what is really meaningful to me – like having a good old laugh at silly and irreverent things.

When I was in high school, back in the 1980’s, a fellow pupil placed an advert in the Cape Times’ “under R 50” smalls’ column, advertising the school principal’s Toyota Cressida vehicle for R 49-99, giving the school receptionist’s desk as the contact telephone number. I thought this was not only hilarious, but genius as well. For the first few days the advert ran, a few of us listened and giggled, standing discreetly around the corner from the school receptionist’s office, hearing her patiently explaining, over and over again, to the endless traffic of incessant callers: 

“I am so very sorry for the inconvenience, but the car is not for sale – the advert is a silly prank joke, and I do not find it one bit funny”. 

Well, you know what – me and my mates definitely did.

Contributed by:
Barry Varkel, an attorney of the High Court of South Africa and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of England and Wales.
Author of Nigiri Law and Goy Vey


  1. Well said Mr Varkel! We have lost the ability to laugh at ourselves and with others!! The holier than though movement, that has flourished thanks to social media,has just made us a bunch of stiff arsed %÷€#;÷*! Very sad indeed, best I not laugh reading your article for fear of victimisation 🙁


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