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From the Desk of Dave Bloustien

Posted by Dave Bloustien On the 8th May 2013 Back Hello Auckland!

I love you: your clean air, your progressive parliament, and your animated pedestrian crossings that moonwalk on the spot like the glowing green ghost of Michael Jackson ... and your complete lack of public liability law. Yes, tonight I'm performing in New Zealand for the very first time with a legally themed stand-up comedy show about laws you don't have here.

I am an idiot.

In the rest of the world, when you hurt yourself doing something stupid, like spilling hot coffee in your lap, or (I don't know) tying yourself to a bridge with a 200m rubber band, you can sue. You can take someone to court for allowing you to do something to yourself which is, essentially, your own stupid fault. There's no guarantee that you'll win of course, but you'll certainly tie up the law courts and spend a lot of money.

But not here. Here, in the land of the long whitewater rafting suicide mission, anything you choose to do to yourself is your responsibility alone, whether it be zorbing through Rotorua, or pledging your firstborn child to the church of Bishop Brian Tamaki. As well it should be. I learned this while on a bus to go whitewater rafting in Queenstown.

I didn’t mind being told the tour had no legal responsibility to my safety, I just wished they’d told me that before I got into a Soviet Era death bus and trundled down a mountain path narrower than the political future of Aaron Gilmore.

Back in Australia, I was not so lucky. When I was just starting out in comedy, an idiotic and unscrupulous event manager called Sam got in touch with me. Sam told me I would be ‘perfect’ an event he was organising. He’d seen my videos online and hunted me out specifically for his gig. Only catch is, I’m a political comedian, and the ‘perfect’ gig was a high school formal, on a boat, in Cronulla, six months after the region had been rocked by race riots.

Clearly, Sam had googled “Cronulla AND comedy”, and clicked “I’m feeling lucky”.

Thanks to my greed and inexperience at the time, I took the gig and it didn’t go well. So badly, in fact, that Sam decided I had caused him “incalculable damages which [he] could prove” (yep) and would sue for. His argument hinged on the following:

“When Dave Bloustien was hired as a comedian, it was implied in the contract that he would be funny. He was not funny. Therefore Dave Bloustien was in breach of contract.”
This is all true.
This is that story, of how I wound up having to prove, in court, that I was ‘funny’ in a true and legal sense, through a process that would never fly here in New Zealand. Luckily, the show has been declared ‘funny’ by a panel of critics and former audience members, which keeps me safe from misrepresentation.

So please come see my show. But if jokes about right-wing extremists offend you, or if you split your sides laughing, please remember: it’s your own stupid fault.


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