Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

I'm Sorry, Luv, I'm in America. the Rest of the World? What's That?

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

I'm Sorry, Luv, I'm in America. the Rest of the World? What's That?

Article excerpt

This week I was in San Francisco. I'm always popular in California, because they think I'm Mexican. People come up to me after my shows and speak to me in Spanish. I talk back to them in Urdu; it's a lot of fun. I performed ten shows in one week. That's what I love about Americans. They don't mind me going over there and stealing their jobs.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

One show was in Marin County, one of the richest counties in the USA. The theatre had blue velvet curtains and a Persian rug on the stage. I had to take my shoes off before getting on the carpet to do my set. The poor people in the front row were totally put off by my crusty toenails.

I informed the audience that I was not the Puerto Rican cleaner, but a comedian, there to entertain them. I get a huge thrill performing in places like these where people like me do not exist. Money cannot buy a sense of humour. There is a relationship between wealth and political correctness--the richer you are, the more overtly PC you become, because "it's not fair to laugh at people less fortunate than ourselves". They just laugh at them when they get home.

There were certain phrases the Americans had difficulty comprehending: these were "my trainers", "weight loss" and "will you please stop talking". After the show a man approached me and said: "I loved your performance." I didn't trust him, because he had no expression--he'd had so much plastic surgery, he looked like a walking Burt Reynolds convention. It is disturbing to see a town full of middle-aged men with faces scraped back into a ponytail. They don't look young, they look like aliens.

It is so easy to get sucked in to the vacuous hole that is America--country of extremes and excess. When I am in England I hardly ever go shopping or watch TV. When I am in the States, all I do is flick through 360 channels, and then complain there is nothing to watch, eat nine meals a day, and go to Victoria's Secret to buy lace G-strings that I am never going to wear and no one is ever going to see. …

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