Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A Giggle of Googs

"What are you doing, Ben?" I hear you whine nasally.


For TWO NIGHTS at the Adelaide Fringe this weekend, I'll be hosting Our Little Stories, a collection of masterful comics telling tales of various heights. Friday and Saturday, 10.45pm at Gluttony. That's right! I'm taking it ON THE ROAD. Interstate. Get into it, South Australian people, with all your eccentric half-hour time differencey ways. Tickets here.

THEN...Tuesday, February 26, I'm popping up at PUGGS IN SPACE, at Pugg Mahones, 106 Hardware St, Melbourne. The estimable Anne Edmonds is MCing, and besides me you'll see the legendary Geraldine Hickey, the radiant Adam Knox, and MORE. Kicks off at 8.30pm

And guys it's FREE! Say hello!

And oh my God it KEEPS ON COMING! March 5 I'll be getting distinctly wordy at BAR STANZA, at the Owl and the Pussycat, 34 Swan St, Richmond. I'll be getting back to my spoken-word roots as part of a killer line-up including Sean M. Whelan, Steve Smart, and host divine Anthony WP O' Sullivan! Can you even believe that? Doors open at 7.30pm, it's only $5, how can you lose?

You won't believe this, but there's STILL MORE. March 13! Comedy at 59! Station 59, at 59 Church St, Richmond! That's a lot of 59s! Stone-cold stand-up guys! It starts at 8! It's free! That means NO MONEY. Look it up, that's what it means!

And oh wow, the VERY NEXT NIGHT I am becoming extremely LITERARY and also CONVERSATIONAL, talking to the genius philosopher and author Damon Young about his book Philosophy in the Garden. This is ESSENTIAL for fans of THINKING and READING. It's at Readings Hawthorn - book here!

Oh no, we're not stopping yet you guys. Gonna be throwing some MORE POETRY at you, on April 6. Come down to the Dan O'Connell in Carlton at 2pm for an afternoon of words and raucous guffaws. Poetry at the Dan is a Melbourne institution, and I'll be your featured poet, leading you through the windmills of my mind. Get in there, sons and daughters!

But of course ALL of the above is a mere aperitif, for some VERY serious business - the business of the MELBOURNE INTERNATIONAL COMEDY FESTIVAL. It's a festival full of brilliant people doing brilliant stuff, and I promise you some of that brilliant stuff will be happening in darkest Fitzroy, in the sweet, warm surrounds of Gertrude's Brown Couch, where I shall be reprising my splendid little Fringe show, Let's Put On A Show. FOR SIX NIGHTS ONLY, it's bigger, it's better, it changes EVERY SINGLE NIGHT as I take my cue from what YOU want me to talk about, and we create an award-winning show together! If you missed it at the Fringe, don't miss it again! If you saw it at the Fringe, no two nights are the same, so come see it once more! In fact, why not see it SIX times more? That's right - come along to every show and win a fabulous prize probably! Information and tickets HERE, I would sincerely love to see you all there. Even you, Anonymous.

That's a LOT of gigs, guys, and a LOT of chance to see me, hear my mellifluous tones, and pry into the deeper recesses of my psyche. It's gonna be fun, my friends, I will see you there. And there. And there. And...

Saturday, February 16, 2013

None Like It Hot

Climate change is a serious issue, and it needs serious people to solve it. Is Bob Rumsden interested in solving it? No, Bob Rumsden is interested in only two things: making you afraid of it, and hot-air ballooning. Well I say the Australian people deserve more in a prime minister than a fictional American in a balloon. Australian people deserve a PRO-ACTIVE prime minister who will FIX climate change through the magic of community togetherness.

In my latest video I demonstrate, thus:

Thursday, February 14, 2013


Hey there readers! Are you feeling loved up? Or are you wondering whether you're as spicy a fajita as you always thought you are?

Thank goodness there's an easily accessible Web 2.0 solution for anyone looking to ascertain whether they're an Enrique Iglesias or an Olive from On The Buses. And that solution is right below, in the form of my scientifically formulate SEX QUIZ for Lovers and Swingers. Just answer these simple multiple choice questions, and you'll quickly know whether you're HOT, or just sweaty.

1. On average, I have sex:
    a) Once a week
    b) Eight times a week
    c) Less than three times a decade
    d) Every few minutes

2. I believe the secret to great sex is:
    a) A strong emotional connection
    b) A powerful erotic odour emanating from the armpits
    c) A willingness to experiment with borderline racist roleplaying
    d) A stuffed marlin

3. I lost my virginity:
    a) Before I was 18
    b) After I was 40
    c) In a refrigerated truck
    d) To a Blakeney twin

4. The sexiest animal is:
    a) The tiger
    b) The wolf
    c) The mosquito
    d) The sea cucumber

5. Foreplay is:
    a) Absolutely crucial
    b) A complete waste of time
    c) A kind of fish
    d) An offence against God

6. How long should a penis be?
    a) More than fifteen metres
    b) Less than half an inch
    c) Two and a half hours
    d) It depends what kind of wood you're making it from

7. What is the most erotic dream you've ever had?
    a) The one about Graham Kennedy and the ride-on mower
    b) I'm being chased by angry ballerinas but their knees have faces
    c) hiding under my bed softly reading Dr Seuss while I'm trying to sleep
    d) The one where I find out my gynaecologist is an elk

8. How long does it usually take you to have an orgasm?
    a) Less than a second
    b) More than a second
    c) At least until my sixteenth birthday
    d) Between one and three Pirates of the Caribbean movies

9. What part should pornography play in a healthy relationship?
    a) It should be banned
    b) It can really bring people closer together and also you can have a wank
    c) It can be useful, but better as a supplementary source of income rather than a full-time job
    d) Ideally it should overwhelm every aspect of your life until you know nothing else

10. How many times have you had sex while doing this quiz?
     a) Four
     b) Five
     c) Twelve
     d) The sea cucumber


Mostly As: You are a sexually normal, healthy person, but you smell a bit and need to shower more.

Mostly Bs: You are probably gay, but refuse to admit it, even to yourself, but your wife suspects, because when you talk in your sleep you keep mentioning someone called "Declan", and it's tearing your marriage apart, but neither of you are willing to discuss it. It's pathetic.

Mostly Cs: You are a wanted fugitive. You mostly only have sex with wild grasses.

Mostly Ds: Your relationship is passionate and loving, but prone to outbursts of irrational rage and inexplicable itches at inconvenient times. You and your partner are both happy to experiment and be open about your fantasies and fetishes, but it will turn out shortly that your partner is imaginary. Sorry.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Let's Have It All

Remember when Freddie Mercury sang "I want it all"? It wasn't very good, was it? Killer Queen was a much better song. Luckily, though, Freddie Mercury wasn't a woman, or else he might have been "tying himself in knots" over the question of having it all, apparently, according to the Daily Telegraph which opened its interview piece with Julie Bishop with the assertion that this is what women do when considering the matter of all, re: having it.

OK, so first of all I am going to question the truth of this knot-tying claim. I know quite a few woman - in fact some of my best sisters are women - and I've never seen them tie themselves in knots. In fact I've never seen them tie anything in knots: is that weird? I wonder if they know how to tie knots. But I digress.

First of all, I want to see some cold hard figures on how much time women spend worrying about whether they can "have it all". In my experience, if there's one area in which women are a lot like men, it's in the area of not spending vast swathes of their lives fretting over what percentage of all they can have, instead choosing to get the fuck on with life. And if there's another area in which women are a lot like men, it's in almost every other area there is, so maybe we, as a species, can ease back the throttle on this wacky battle-of-the-sexes bullshit we've been punching ourselves in the face with for the last ten thousand years.

Secondly, tell me what "it all" means. Some have told me it means having a great career and a nice family and a good place to live and a bunch of nice stuff; in other words, "it all" just means "being happy". In which case, yeah I guess women CAN have it all. I think there are happy women out there.

But no, I don't think that's what it DOES mean, when someone in the so-called media refers to "having it all". Let's not spend too much time interrogating ourselves over the exact meaning of our idiom when we all have a basic shared understanding of what we're talking about.

Essentially, when we talk about women having it all, we're asking whether the mum who's waiting after school every day with a tray of cookies can be Julia Gillard, and whether Julia Gillard can be the cookie-mum. We're asking whether Gail Kelly can run a multi-billion dollar financial behemoth and still never miss her kids' soccer games. We're asking whether Nicole Kidman can win Oscars and be back from the ceremony in time for school drop-off.

We are asking, in essence, can a woman scale professional peaks without giving up their natural, Jesus-assigned roles as primary caregiver and lactating nurture-queen?

Or to put it perhaps more cynically, can a woman avoid our disapproval for abandoning her traditional role, while simultaneously absolving us of any blame for stopping us from living the life she wants to?

Can, in the end, a woman, so to speak, have, when you get right down to it, it all?


Look I don't want to make you pull out your hair and throw yourselves into bonfires, but Julie Bishop is right. Women can't have it all.

Know why?

Because nobody can.

You know men? You've probably met some. They're those women who sweat more than usual, and for some reason never ask whether they can have it all. People often think men don't ask that because they already know they CAN have it all.


Men don't ask whether they can have it all, because they already know they can't. Or at least they should. They probably don't because they're morons, but if they thought for a second they'd know I'm right. So, guys - think, OK?

Nicola Roxon recently announced she was quitting politics, because she didn't want to sacrifice time with her children for the sake of her career. She found it impossible to "have it all", so she had to make a choice: miss out on some of the benefits of parenting, or miss out on some of the benefits of politicking.

She didn't have to make that choice because she's a woman, she had to make that choice because she's a human being. Every man in politics makes that choice too. Yes, indeed - when a man decides to head to Canberra, he's deciding to absent himself from his family for big chunks of time, just as a woman is.

When a man decides to put in 16-hour working days to make his business grow, he's slicing those hours off the time he has to be with his kids, or off the time he has to HAVE kids, or a decent relationship, or any other trappings of domesticity he might want.

When I decide to write article after article and book after book, and go out to tell jokes to strangers, I'm choosing to pursue my career instead of play with my kids. And when I decide to turn down those opportunities because I want to play with my kids, I'm handicapping my career for the sake of my family. And when I decide to work three or more jobs at once, I'm desperately trying to strike the right balance so I can have a little bit of both worlds, instead of throwing in the towel on one front and storming full-bore at the other.

What I'm NOT doing is committing myself 100% to my career AND committing myself 100% to my family, because that would involve a denial of basic mathematics, and I would consider that a gesture of unforgivable rudeness towards the numerical community.

I can't have it all. You can't have it all. None of us can have it all. Our lives are about chasing happiness, not some insane regretless Shangri-La of personal fulfilment.

And that's why "can women have it all?" is a dumb question, based on a moronic premise and infused with the half-witted artificial gender divisions that have been making us miserable throughout history. And I object strongly to the question's existence in our public discourse, let alone the myriad attempts, both by those propping up their own vested interest in keeping the question current, and by those gullible enough to be fooled into believing it's in their own interests to keep trying to answer it. And here's why.

Firstly, as I briefly alluded to above, it's a question with an ulterior motive. The question is asked in order to position "having it all" as a desirable goal for a woman, and it positions it thusly to achieve the twin goals of making women feel ashamed if they don't behave the way a nice girl should, and to make society feel better about standing in the way of women with ambition. We're talling you that you SHOULD be trying to have it all, and so if you're a less-than-perfect mother, you've let us all down, lady; and at the same time if you're finding you can't make your way up the greasy pole, it was nothing to with us - we WANTED you to have it all.

So Julia Gillard and Julie Bishop are unnatural for not having kids, and Nicola Roxon just couldn't hack the pressure.

But here's the other side of that: as I said, nobody is asking whether men can have it all. It's assumed that a failure to achieve total contentment in every facet of life is a uniquely female problem. But as I also said, that is patently not true. Yet every time the subject comes up, it's only women who are apparently struggling with this.

And why is that? It's because it's assumed that it's easy for men to have it all, because it's assumed that men don't care about the things they have to give up. It's assumed there's no tension between family and career for a man, because family is something men don't care about. You're working non-stop and your kids are in bed by the time you get home every night? You're always away from home on business and only see your family a few days every month? Your wife is practically a single parent because you just can't afford to stop? As a MAN, that must be exactly what you want!

And so, we are told, men breezily go about having it all to their heart's content, because whatever bit of "all" they don't have won't matter to them. They'll leave the domestic guff to the ladies, because that's what "having it all" is to a man. The ladies, of course, won't be able to have it all, and shame on them.

If this situation is reversed, of course, the woman jetsetting off to a high-flying career while the man keeps the home fires burning, nobody's having it all. The woman was supposed to be able to do both, because of her magic vagina, and the man might as well have a vagina of his own if he's going to go about acting like a woman.

And there you have it. Women can't have it all because they're not good enough: men can have it all because they don't give a shit about their families.

And so know this, social commentators and cultural pundits, armchair philosophers and tabloid sexperts: every time you push the question "Can women have it all" out into the public consciousness, you're being sexist in two directions at once and letting us all, men and women, know that our hunch was right: we should all be hating ourselves as hard as possible all the time.

So for fuck's sake, you guys, stop doing it.

Saturday, February 2, 2013


An open letter in response to Bernard Gaynor's open letter in response to Mia Freedman's open letter in response to Bernard Gaynor's tweet in response to the indoctrination of our children by homosexualists.

Dear Bernard,

I am writing this open letter because, as I am sure you know, open letters are how we get things done in this country. I myself am currently running for prime minister, and I can assure you that when elected I will be pursuing a very open-letter-heavy agenda.

As I was reading your letter to Mia Freedman, I couldn't help but notice that you are extremely stupid, and so I wondered if you had any advice for me as a parent. My children are still too young for any definitive conclusions to be made, but early testing indicates they are at risk of being stupid as well, so I was wondering whether you have any tips about how to live a fulfilling life as a stupid person: what sort of obstacles and prejudices have you faced, and what kind of strategies do you put in place to overcome your stupidity? I hear that meditation is good - do you meditate? Probably not because meditation is a bit gay, but maybe if we meditate about karate movies it would be all right.

Your views on homosexual teachers are quite interesting and merit further examination. Like you, I once went to a school and was shocked by the amount of penetrative sex that goes on in the average classroom. While I understand that there will always be times when curriculum requirements necessitate sexual intercourse between teachers and students, I, like you, am worried that if homosexuality is normalised, this sexual intercourse may cease being strictly heterosexual, as is traditional in Australian schools, and begin to be homosexual, which is a bit gross, isn't it? I read a book once about homosexual intercourse and I was shocked at the things those people do to each other. As Catholics, you and I know that some things should not be put inside other things. You wouldn't stuff a turkey with a ferret, would you? No.

But likewise, as a good Catholic I am sure you will agree there is no need to actually ban penetrative sex in classroom environments: we must be careful that the cure does not become worse than the disease, causing our children to grow up having no idea what sex with teachers feels like at all. We just need to find a way to stop our kids becoming "gay". By the way, did you know your name has "gay" in it? That's pretty funny isn't it? Did kids make fun of you at school and call you Gay Bernard? Or did they mainly make fun of you for being stupid? At my school we made fun of stupid kids mostly, but if we'd had a boy with "gay" in his name things might have been different.

Why does "gay" mean "homosexual" anyway? Wouldn't it better if we went back to "gay" meaning "happy", and came up with a new word for homosexuals, like "Demoncocks"? I would like to hear your thoughts on this. Maybe you could come over to my house and watch karate movies with me and we could talk about it. I promise not to let the evening progress beyond some light kissing.

Most of all I want to throw my support behind your desire to allow parents the right to decide who teaches their children. Personally I would like my children to be taught by boxing legend "Aussie Joe" Bugner, but as yet the Department of Education has been stypically stiff-necked and refuses to allow even an hour a week of Bugner lessons, let alone the full-time Aussie Joe curriculum that I would prefer. Bureaucracy, huh? It is very gay.

I'm not saying that you should also let your kids be taught by Aussie Joe, of course. I think that you should be allowed to select whichever former boxing great you like to teach your children. I hope you choose wisely, as I'd hate to see your children be hindered in their development any more than they already have been by the unfortunate circumstances of their birth.

I guess what I'm saying, Bernard, is keep up the good work. If you would like to get in touch with me, I have disconnected my telephone and deleted all my email accounts, as from now on I will be communicating only via open letters, but feel free to drop me an open letter any time, whether on your own site, on Mamamia, on The Punch, or on Aussie Joe Bugner's official fan club Facebook page. Explicit photos of yourself can, as always, be dropped in my home mailbox.

Yours in Christ,

Ben Pobjie (future prime minister)