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When funny men have feet of clay.

Summary: Make them comfortable, make them not die, make them, you know, cool in the summer and warm in the winter, and then there's actually raise them and do something

Nivriti Butalia (Meanderings)

To replace the perfectly functional water tank of a coffee machine, for no other reason other than that it's annoying to see a spot of rust everyday due to a fine leak, costs Dh40. A Gold Class ticket at one of these fancy theatres, where they advertise gourmet food, is Dh90 (as against the Dh35-40 in cattle). And they charge you an extra Dh10 to rent a black silk-velvet blanket. You'd think the money you pay for Gold would cover the in-bulk dry cleaning costs, but no (two more dirhams and you could have cabbed it a few kilometres; minimum fare).

Funny how four blankets for four moviegoers are accorded the same value as the replaced one litre water tank of a coffee machine. I don't know which should cost much less, honestly. In an ideal world, both should be free. The blankets, anyway.

I've been struck by an online retailer that has ads plastered on Sheikh Zayed Road and on the Dubai Metro. On carriages, they have pictures of handbags with a line: 'Can be yours for the price of five coffees a week'. On Sheikh Zayed Road, they have a hoarding of a shoe with the line 'the price of a manicure'.

I've always been a fan of this relative comparison phrasing, or whatever the term is in economics, this 'telling it to me in my terms'. Some editors tell you this when you start out writing reports. That instead of writing "...the dimensions of a space are 90m x 120m", put it in a context, '. which is the equivalent of a football field'. Chances are it will stick better in the mind of a reader, consumer.

If you're a certain kind of viewer or media consumer, you may have heard about Louis Szkely. Or maybe not; like I had never heard of Logan Paul. I don't watch the YouTube shows he's famous for. Doesn't fit into my consumption patterns. I only heard of Mr Paul because he was the reason for traffic around The Dubai Mall on Saturday. And I had to pass by the place on my way back from movie in Gold Class, with the outrageous blankies. You see? The universe really is linked.

The American stand-up comic, Louis CK is the latest to fall. When Harvey Weinstein fell and dominoes like Kevin Spacey followed, I didn't have an emotional reaction. Sure, I felt my God, what creeps! And I read the reports. Curiosity is bait for not just cats. But it didn't affect me.

Louis CK though, I like. Liked. Very much. I thought he was a good guy. I liked his shows Horace and Pete and Louie. He is (was?) clever and funny and made me laugh. I can't wrap my head around why he would be such an idiot, scuttling his career. And now here he is, writing apology letters with words like remiss and remorseful and irresponsible. His daughters might land up in therapy. I feel for those kids.

In an NPR interview when he was asked, "Do you find it challenging to be responsible for the lives of two people or, as you put it in one of your stand-up routines, you're responsible for somebody I have to make not die? (Soundbite of laughter)" he had said, "Yes, your primary responsibility is to deflect murder and death off of your children. But on top of that, you have to make them comfortable. You know, there's layers here. Make them comfortable, make them not die, make them, you know, cool in the summer and warm in the winter, and then there's actually raise them and do something."

I don't know if he's cracking a lot of smart one-liners right now. Or is also headed for rehab. Maybe he's listening to music. He once spoke about 'the audacity of asking'.

Which is how he asked Paul Simon - American songwriter, of Simon and Garfunkel fame - to write the theme song for Horace and Pete. Those lyrics go: Hell no, I can't complain about my problems/ I'm OK the way things are/ I pull my stool up to the bar/ At Horace & Pete's / Sometimes I wonder why do we tear ourselves to pieces / I just need some time to think/ Or maybe I just need a drink...

- nivriti@khaleejtimes.com

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Publication:Khaleej Times (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
Date:Nov 12, 2017
Words:764
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