Wednesday, April 19, 2006


[Part one of an ongoing series in which the Melbourne International Comedy Festival is explained through reference to a range of curious and intriguing dreams experienced during my wanderings in the desert]

I am holding a party to celebrate the birthday of an acquaintance who for some reason is a half-completed Sudoko grid. Only problem is, the party is entirely virtual, taking place in a small corner of the website Common Errors in English. Also, the only attendees are a potted vine, Peter Allen and half the cast of March of the Penguins. The words "Not for Resale" maintain a powerful presence. There are no shadows on the internet.

To unpack today's significance-loaded dream, we all welcome our special guest Sigmund Freud! Hi Dr Freud!

Don't you wish your analyst was hot like me? Don't you wish your analyst was a freak like me?




Doncha? Doncha?

I sure do. So what's the story with my dream, man?

Well firstly, and I shouldn't need to say this, but it's clear you've been eating a lot of heavy foods including cheese late at night before bed. Am I correct? I believe I am. And I certainly shouldn't need to lecture you on the dangers of carb-loading after 5pm. But as for the actual content of your fantasy, I believe that a certain level of repressed libidinal energy supplies its motivation. Let us look beyond the surface and explore this.
This party is transparently some kind of event at the Comedy Festival, one held by someone with whom you are familiar. It is one which appeals to the intellect, yes, but also plays with language and offers an unreal mental space within which to imagine oneself. "Not for Resale" obviously indicates the way that comedy does not often work when jokes are retold by non-comedians. For instance, despite it's obvious inherent humour, I can never seem to raise a laugh when I tell the story of how a hausfrau enters a butcher's establishment and complains that the bratwurst she has purchased is largely composed of meat, but the ends are stuffed with straw. The butcher comically replies that the middle of the item is is relatively easy to produce, but that "it is hard to make ends meat". This is the end of the joke.

In one of my many writings, I have theorised that laughter is almost always provoked when we witness a character acting mechanically, whether it be in his or her actions or his or her speech or mental behaviour. It is for this reason that the robot dance is humorous, but also why so many situation comedies make us laugh violently, because we are witnessing people responding in mechanical ways to situations that require them to adapt alternative responses. This is a theme taken up and extended by Henri Bergson, the thieving swine.

We seem to be wandering here a bit, Sig.

So be it. I am long dead. And all that one hears in the afterlife is the music of the Pussycat Dolls.

I see.

To return to your initial question, your dream tells us of American comedian Arj Barker. His is a witty and wry series of comic routines which appear lazily delivered but unfold as complex and carefully-constructed brainteasers. Also, he is a very sexy man and you clearly have sublimated some kind of man crush.

I think that'll end things for today thanks, Sigmund. Though I still don't understand the whole penguins etc deal.

That would be the carbs, dude.

Got ya.

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