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DRI E Tea may 2009 * drivenmag.com *

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life.in.motion

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Strumpets

Russell

Brand with

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★ THE COMEDY ISSUE

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52

38

50

54 On the Cover. russell brand Photography James Lincoln Location Hotel Du Vin, Edinburgh, Scotland (hotelduvin.com)

COVER STORY: Russellmania (p38) More than just funny looking, Britain’s most controversial, incontrovertible comic—Russell Brand—is also funny ha-ha. Funny strange, too, given that the guy called Britney Spears a “female Christ” during last fall’s MTV Video Music Awards. DRIVEN demanded more. “The female Buddha is Helen Mirren,” Brand told us. “The female Mother Theresa is Anthony Hopkins, a tender man...” EARL DITTMAN negotiates the space between the mania and the maniac, and finds Brand to be quite real. As in: real strange. Also real funny, ha-ha.

 DRIVEN May 2009 * drivenmag.com

THE COMEDY ISSUE 46 Samantha bee & jason jones An exclusive top-ten list written by The Daily Show’s giggling lovebirds. Presumably by way of auditioning for Letterman 52

Comedy in a casket Funeral homes: no mortuatorium on the humerus or funny bone

49

gang of forum Former Penthouse editors make good

48

BUSTING BRENT’S BUTT (1988-1993) Why Canadian comedy became better during the last recession

54

from drags to stitches Funny cars race to be taken seriously

50

the ‘id’ in kidding (freud’s follies) Sometimes an exploding cigar is just a cigar

62

HARPER’s BIZARRE Parmesan cheese. Sorry, partisan cheese. Sorry, non-partisan cheese. Sorry

Illustration courtesy of Nexus Productions; Funny cars courtesy of National Dragster/NHRA


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23

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29 Departments 18 Personality Alan Moore 29 Fashion Urban spectrum 54 Automotive 2009 Nissan 370Z, 2009 Porsche Cayman S 24 Sex Why she’s into laughrodisiacs 16 The List Punchy lines from Hollywood celebs 23 Sport Sea-Doo: I brake for mermaids 22 Bytes For those about to mock, we salute you 20 Vision Pause for (awkward) laughter 22 Watches Comedic timing 60 Buyer’s market Style guide

New web-exclusive features every issue. New content every weekday.

DRIVENmag.com Web Features

> Penélope Cruz The Oscar winner gives us an insider’s preview of Nine, the musical remake of Fellini’s 8½, due this fall.

> 2010 Lexus RX More modern, more precise, more responsive: The new RX is a prescription for eco-friendly luxury.

> Nevermind the Früvous How Kurt Cobain killed funny music and my band. By Moxy Früvous’ Murray Foster

> Apocalypse TV Deciphering the true nature of time travel and prophetic visions on Battlestar Galactica, Heroes, Lost and more.

> The Bahamas: Treasured Islands White sands, coral seas, gourmet dining and face time with Andy the comedy dolphin. (He kissed me, I did not kiss him.)

10 DRIVEN May 2009 * DRIVENmag.com

“Urban spectrum” fashion photo by The Cobrasnake; Sea-Doo, courtesy of BRP


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DRIVEN: life.in.motion Editor-in-chief Gary Butler Creative director Kelly Kirkpatrick Managing editor Mark Moyes Assistant editor Eric Grant Automotive Mark Hacking Entertainment Earl Dittman Fashion Luke Langsdale Fiction Nathan Whitlock Graphic design Gaynor Black Editorial interns Jesse Brook, Stephanie Marcus Art/Photo interns Benson Ngo, Betty Wong Contributors Andrew Clark, James Grainger, Mark Edward Harris, Mark “The Cobrasnake” Hunter, Jennifer Lee (with Samantha Bee and Jason Jones), James Lincoln, Gary Spencer Millidge, David Owen Morgan, John Reid, Richard Sibbald, Reb Stevenson, Marcus Tamm, Elizabeth Walker Account managers Catherine Martineau catherine@DRIVENmag.com, 416.682.3493 x202 Michele Marotta michele@DRIVENmag.com, 866.631.6550 x295 Stéphanie Massé stephanie@DRIVENmag.com, 866.631.6550 x244 Vincent Nöel vincent@DRIVENmag.com, 866.631.6550 x228 Advertising coordinator Melissa Bissett, 866.631.6550 x231 Finance and administrative director Sophie Séguin, 866.631.6550 x227 Printer Solisco Marketing director Larry Futers, 416.407.8338 InField Marketing Group Publisher Michel Crépault DRIVEN magazine 412 Richmond St. East, Ste. 200 Toronto, Ont. M5A 1P8 416.682.3493 DRIVENmag.com Issue #26 ISSN 1712-1906 Auto Journal Inc. 1730, 55th Ave. Lachine, Que. H8T 3J5 866.631.6550 DRIVEN is published six times per year. No part of this periodical may be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher. Subscription for one year: $30 (plus applicable taxes); $60 US surface; all other countries $120 airmail. For subscription inquiries, call 866.631.6550 x250. *This issue of DRIVEN is dedicated to the memory of Derek Weiler, 1968 – 2009.

12 DRIVEN May 2009 * DRIVENmag.com

Editor’s photo by Richard Sibbald


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James Lincoln Edinburgh, Scotland. February. Chichi hotel suite. Twenty-five minutes to curtain. Cue sound: jangle, jangle. Enter Russell Brand, bejewelled, imposing, 6'3" (including heels and hair), looking every bit the S&M Willy Wonka. “Sorry I’m late.” Right, Russell. Here’s what we’ve got planed for the shoot… “I don’t want anything contrived.” Okay. How do you feel about the rubber chicken? “How do I feel?” Tosses iPod to personal assistant. “I feel like some Bowie!” Crank the Starman and the Stardust; enter what can only be called the Thin White Kook. He keeps it up, I’m definitely going to have to shoot the guy. (James Lincoln is a portrait photographer based in London. Recent subjects include Pete Doherty and Sean William Scott. James also mostly writes his own contributor bios. You can see his pretty pictures on this issue’s cover, as well as the story “Wham Bam Russell Brand,” pp38-42.)

14 DRIVEN May 2009 * drivenmag.com

Marcus TamM A familial fascintation with dark humour has led to a lifelong curiosity about levity in the face of sorrow for Marcus Tamm (“A not-so serious undertaking,” pp52-53). His musings on widely ranging topics—from celebrity yoga complexes to cottagecountry land conservancy to chamber music for performance artists—have been published in several Canadian periodicals; most recently, he mined the subject of diamonds for the Toronto Star. Having debunked the theory that said gems are as cold as ice, he predictably turned next to funeral directors. Marcus is a Toronto-born, -bred and -based husband of one and father of two—all mortal, and irreverent within the bounds of propriety.

Mark The COBRASnake Los Angeles’ Mark Hunter (surprise: “The Cobrasnake” is a nom de zoom) started his photographic career by attending parties in his home town, taking pictures of friends and fastidiously documenting the results at his blog, thecobrasnake.com. Within a few months, he found himself being paid to fly around the world to frequent fêtes and fashion shows in exotic locales and take pictures of other people’s friends, some of them quite famous. Soon, an entire industry was born. To think, college dropout Hunter became a thousandaire, founded a whole new economic sector and won himself a cameo on the premiere of television’s 90210 remake—just by going to parties. The Cobrasnake was recently spotted on Brooklyn rooftops, taking “Colour coded” pictures (pp29-36) of grown men in wearable sleeping bags.

Andrew Clark “Don’t take comedy apart—you may never be able to put it back together.” Canadian comedy legend Frank Shuster once offered the above advice to Andrew Clark (“Boom, bust & rimshot,” p48). Sage words; alas, they didn’t take. Clark proceeded to spend most of the 1990s holed up in smoky comedy clubs, covering comics such as Brent Butt and Mark Farrell for eye WEEKLY and the Toronto Star. He went on to write Stand and Deliver: Inside Canadian Comedy, and create a three-part comedy documentary series for the NFB, The Next Big Thing. His last book, A Keen Soldier: The Execution of Second World War Private Harold Pringle, was nominated for the Governor General’s Award for Literary Non-fiction. Clark is now the director of Humber College’s Comedy Program, which offers a two-year diploma in the comedic arts and, funnily enough, requires that he spend even more time in comedy clubs. Which is fine: he missed the smoke.


THE FUTURE IS ABOUT TO BE REDRESSED.


the list *

DIVINE COMEDY HOLLYWOOD HEAVYWEIGHTS WAX PHILOSOPHIC OVER THE C WORD ALL INTERVIEWS CONDUCTED BY EARL DITTMAN

STEVE MARTIN (1/23/09)

“In any other profession, you end up wearing a suit and sitting behind a desk. If you make it in show business, you end up in a clown suit riding on an elephant.”

STEVE COOGAN (11/09/08)

“One of the toughest things when you are doing any kind of comedy in film is trying to be mocking, yet at the same time be the very thing you’re laughing at. People will laugh at mean things, sure—but you want them to remember it. You have to have some humanity in your comedy for it to be right.”

TOM CRUISE (12/14/08)

“When Ben [Stiller] offered me the role in Tropic Thunder, I didn’t even think twice about doing it. It was a role I knew was going to be great. [The character] had to dance! He dances a little differently than I did in Risky Business, but hey, styles change.”

WILL FERRELL (10/13/08)

“[In Step Brothers] when we had to show my testicle sack—that sounds cool, doesn’t it?—we decided not to use mine. We got a ball double. We spared no expense: flew in some genital actors, an eight-day shoot, there were screen tests for the best nut sack. We even talked about getting a nut-sack wrangler. That’s my CB handle now, ‘Nut Sack Wrangler.’ People just call me that.”

JIM CARREY (12/03/08)

“Comedy is all about laughing at the pain, the confusion—because you need to. Comedy is always welcomed, but especially in times like this [recession]. You want to have something positive in your life.”

STEVE CARRELL (10/30/08)

“Laughing while someone is filming their comedy scene is a no-no. If somebody is doing something inspired or incredibly funny, it’s a gift. To take that away by laughing, by ruining it? That’s a cardinal sin.”

HEATHER GRAHAM (11/20/08)

“It’s sexist [for me to say this], but I think comedies are more about men being funny. There are only a few comedy roles for women out there. So, when you read a good script, you fight for it. It’s like you have to kill to be funny.”

CHRIS ROCK (10/27/08)

“How do I get ready for stand-up? I take a lot of drugs. Now, when I say drugs, I mean Flintstones Chewable Vitamins.”

DRIVENmag.com SIMON PEGG (10/26/08)

“It’s a nice change of pace to play the goof. In my movies, I tend to be the straight centre, because I am just so unselfish as a writer, I can’t help myself. That was irony, by the way.”

10 more stars talk about “funny business,” including Will Arnett, Ricky Gervais and Rainn Wilson


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personality *

Alan Moore discusses his co-creation The Comedian, a comic-book clown who is all punch and no lines By Gary Butler

Joke’em if you Watchmen Once you figure out what a joke everything is, being The Comedian is the only thing that makes sense.—Watchmen #2, p13 Moviegoers who flocked last March to witness what will likely be the year’s most popular superhero film bodily answered the question “Who watches the Watchmen?” But comic-book icon Alan Moore, who along with Dave Gibbons created the series upon which the Watchmen movie is based, is not among the happy throngs. “Modern film is all so much junk,” Moore says, palpable disappointment in his voice. No surprise, then, that the writer chooses to avoid—often, disown—the movies developed from his critically acclaimed works. (Moore has had his name removed from the film versions of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, From Hell, V for Vendetta... and Watchmen.) Still, reached in his home in Northampton, England, he kindly agreed to talk about one of the Watchmen comic’s key characters: The Comedian, a nihilistic vigilante with a tendency to laugh while perpetrating horrific acts in the name of justice. 18 DRIVEN May 2009 * drivenmag.com

“The Comedian doesn’t tell one joke throughout the entire story,” Moore says. He allows that this core detail represents perhaps the ‘funniest’ aspect of the character, “this cynical, rogue Captain America.” The bloodied smiley face button—the story’s iconic symbol—is, in fact, The Comedian’s button, spattered with his blood in the course of his own murder, the act that launches the story. “He sees the whole of the world as an amoral joke that he is merely a part of,” Moore explains. Watchmen was written in the mid-’80s, at the height of Cold War nuclear anxieties, anxieties which also pervade Moore and Gibbon’s created world. A human extension of this hopelessness, The Comedian “even sees the imminent end of the world as a joke.” The ‘joke’ goes too far when The Comedian stumbles upon a conspiracy of proportions unfathomable to even him: a plot to save humanity, at an incalculable cost. “The point when humour fails him is when he realizes what [the conspiracy] is prepared to do,” Moore says. “He can’t get

the concept, he can’t understand why it’s ‘funny’ anymore. That’s the point at which he is killed, perhaps mercifully.” The Comedian doesn’t tell the joke, then—as Moore says, “he’s the one who gets it... That doesn’t mean that he’s happy or that he’s got a cheerful disposition. He’s actually a very bitter and bleak man. Which adds, of course, to the irony of the name.” It’s a name practically drowning in the sardonic stuff. Beyond Captain America, this ultra-violent character was roughly based on another comic-book hero called, antithetically, The Peacemaker. And his superhero code name is a conscious hat-tip to Graham Greene’s 1966 novel The Comedians, a dark story whose intentionally nondescript protagonists—Brown, Smith and Jones—are humorless manipulators. “I thought, that’s nice,” Moore remembers of reading Greene’s book in the ’70s, “it’s nice to do a story about that much darkness and call it The Comedians.” Nice indeed. Who laughs at The Comedian, then? No one. Funny, that. Illustration by Gary Spencer Millidge Photo by Tktktk tktk


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vision *

Mike Leigh and the comedy of discomfort By Nathan Whitlock

Hell is other people Near the beginning of the Oscar-nominated 2008 film Happy-Go-Lucky, giddy, motor-mouthed heroine Poppy (played brilliantly by Sally Hawkins, whose performance won a Golden Globe) has her first driving lesson. When she finally lets her uptight instructor get a word in edgewise, he tells Poppy that the car’s side and rearview mirrors comprise a pyramid, atop of which sits an all-seeing eye. He calls this pyramid “Enraha”—one of Lucifer’s fellow fallen angels. “It’s a teaching tool,” he explains, and it’s clear that he’s explained it about a trillion times. Given that the movie has only just started, it’s also clear that the perpetually distracted Poppy will be getting plenty more earfuls of “Enraha.” And that she’ll somehow grin and bear it. It’s a perfect example of the comedy of discomfort—a genre that British slice-of-life director Mike Leigh didn’t invent, but certainly refined and popularized over dozens of blisteringly funny films. The two latest decades of discomfort comedy have made us, well, comfortable with it. Seinfeld, The Larry Sanders Show, Christopher Guest’s mockumentaries (This is Spinal Tap, Best in Show, etc.), The Office (both UK and USA), Curb Your Enthusiasm and Flight of the Conchords, to name only a few, have made the style not just du jour but de rigueur. 20 DRIVEN May 2009 * drivenmag.com

But for the most scorching moments of comedic discomfort, moments that would make Larry David squirm and Ricky Gervais look away in embarrassment, you must go to Mike Leigh. Every one of his movies contains at least one scene in which the balance between comedy and absolute mortification tips heavily toward the latter. Even his darkest work, Naked­­—1993 Cannes winner for best director and actor—balances the abject melodrama with amused shock, precisely measured. Going back to Leigh’s first film, 1971’s Bleak Moments (a title as accurate and apt as Happy-GoLucky), the viewer observes people so emotionally stiff, they would have had Poppy cutting her wrists after a day. Indeed, the heroine of Bleak Moments, Sylvia, doesn’t face the world with giggles and private jokes, but with a stonefaced expression and glass after glass of cheap sherry. (Before long, we want to join her.) The film’s “climax” follows a date, between Sylvia and a repressed schoolteacher, that moves so slowly and painfully, it seems to be happening in real time. It’s the comedy of discomfort in its purest distillation. And though wincing is technically more appropriate than laughing, the point is that it’s all still as funny as hell. Maybe literally.


bytes *

Go ahead, mock my day

Is the Internet obsessed with ridicule, or merely searching for a laugh? By Mark Moyes During his acceptance speech for the Nobel Prize in Literature last year, French

writer Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clézio mused that if the Internet had existed when Hitler was enacting his plot, “ridicule might have prevented it from ever seeing the light of day.” It’s a whimsical notion. Imagine a sensitive Adolph H., survivor of 42 assassination attempts, finally breaking down after the thousandth “You R a HOMO” comment on his blog. But it’s an interesting notion nonetheless, because of what it says about mockery on the web: 1) It’s a force to be reckoned with, and 2) It’s not all bad. Just ensure you choose your targets wisely: Exhibit A: In 2002, a Trois-Rivières high school student named Ghyslain Raza taped himself swinging a rod around like a lightsaber. It’s a clownish spectacle, with the rotund Raza tripping over his own legs and doing his best to look fierce. His classmates found the home video and put in on the web; within a month, the “Star Wars Kid” had been downloaded over a million times. Exhibit B: YouTube phenom La Caida de Edgar (The Fall of Edgar)—wherein Edgar’s cousin shakes the log Edgar is standing on until the kid falls into a river—generates over 10 million views. Exhibit C: The ironic (and strangely meta) mockery of Chris Crocker, whose mascara-stained “Leave Britney Alone!” plea is watched two million times in one day. These examples (see also: tinaecmusic, failblog.com) deftly demonstrate the web’s obsession with ridicule. They also show that, due to sheer numbers, it can be exponentially hurtful to its subjects. Still, for most of us, watching Edgar’s misfortunes is an act more selfish than malicious. Consider this: Crocker’s famous YouTube video has earned more than 350 thousand comments, and most are unprintable here—they’re enough to make you lose faith in humanity. On the other hand, there have been almost 25 million views. That means 98 per cent of the time, people are leaving Crocker alone. It’s personal entertainment, but nothing personal. The negative attention can play out in several ways. Raza dropped out of school and launched a lawsuit against his student tormentors. Crocker still gets hateful comments, but continues to post videos and sell his own merchandise. Edgar’s story is the happiest: He starred in a cookie commercial and shot a welcome video for YouTube Mexico’s launch. Does that mean cyber-mockery can be a force for good? Of course not. But Edgar, at least, got the last laugh.

Funny tock

Who says novelty watches can’t be extravagantly priced? By John Reid The rise of inexpensive and highly accurate Japanese quartz watches in the 1970s famously caused the high end of the Swiss mechanical-movement watch industry to bottom out. The good news for aficionados and lovers of craftsmanship is that the Swiss industry has rebounded in the past 10 years, with brands hard at work to evolve complications such as chronographs, tourbillons and minute repeaters. Some have developed very offbeat innovations in the process. Here are just three of them.

22 DRIVEN May 2009 * drivenmag.com

Romaine Jerome Titanic-DNA Rust is any watch’s enemy, so it’s ironic that Romaine Jerome has managed to fashion one out of oxidized remnants of the Titanic. (The manufacturer purchased a professional salvage diver’s legally obtained steel and coal from the sunken icon.) The hands are shaped like anchors and the steel chronograph has timers for seconds, minutes and hours plus constant seconds and date. There are several models in the Legends of the Sea collection, including a chronograph (pictured). $19,500; romainjerome.ch


sport *

Point brake

DRIVEN investigates the greatest advance in the history of personal watercraft: the ability to stop By Mark Moyes

Sea-Doo photos courtesy of BRP

If you happened to be strolling along the shore of Grapevine Lake in Texas on Sept. 4 last year, you would have been witness to a strangely beautiful aquatic ballet: half a dozen journalists flying through the air, spinning wildly with limbs akimbo, and finally plunging into the water, fully clothed. I counted six spills, but there could have been more. Blink, and you’d miss one. The occasion was a press event for Bombardier’s BRP Division, demoing the company’s latest Sea-Doo models, the GTX Limited iS 255 and the RXT iS 255. Also on the agenda, the following ground-breaking announcement: that the two 255-horsepower personal watercraft in question—which, by the way, careen over choppy waters at speeds of up to 65 mph—were the first ever, in the history of the entire world, to come equipped with brakes. In other words, they can stop. In other words, they couldn’t before. Sure, there were other noteworthy features: the world’s first full suspension system on a personal watercraft, which makes for an appreciably smoother ride, and “Intelligent Throttle Control,” which essentially means that the craft starts up in neutral. In other words—in keeping with the general theme—it didn’t before. It’s the braking thing, though, that prompted the US Coast Guard to present BRP with a safety award and issue a press release, which read something along the lines of “It’s about f—king time.” (We’re paraphrasing.) Stranger still, at time of writing, no other manufacturer has followed suit. PWC Industries

is attempting to sell a braking system patent to the highest bidder, but so far, no bites. It may be because the technology itself is complicated. In the past, in theory, emergency braking could be accomplished by flipping the water craft into reverse. But you have to take one hand off the handlebars. You’re likely to submerge the bow and send yourself flying head-first into whatever you were trying to avoid. Sea-Doo’s Intelligent Brake and Reverse checks your speed and gauges the amount of water to send through the reverse bucket, stopping you smoothly. Braking effected, it automatically flips you into neutral (lest in your spasms of panic, you accidentally hit the throttle and fly off backwards). It also bears mentioning that none of the flying journalists described at the top of this story were being launched off their Sea-Doos because of the brakes. The braking works great. No, these professionals were just indulging the pure, childish glee of pushing the machines—which sport the very same engine as the RXT-X, able to do 0 to 50 mph faster than the Ferrari F430—into curves they couldn’t handle. Either that, or they were executing cartwheels of sheer joy, because calling the world’s first PWC braking system ‘Intelligent’ is a bit of an understatement.

Girard-Perregaux Vintage 1945 Jackpot Tourbillon

Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Alaska Project

This classic Swiss brand, est. 1791, has developed a 19th century-style one-armed-bandit watch. (We’ll call it a one-wrist bandit.) Ten to 15 per year will be made. The large, 43mm, rose-gold case sports a tourbillon at 6 o’clock and a slot machine at 12. The slot’s windows show spades, diamonds, hearts, horseshoes or bells; a gong strikes when each reel stops spinning; a right-side lever starts the action. Odds of landing three bells in a row? One in 125. $563,750; girard-perregaux.com

In the early ’70s, Omega developed a prototype of an outer case for the Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch to protect it from the extreme temperatures of space. But NASA declared the Speedmaster already perfect, thus the model was shelved. The new Speedmaster Moonwatch “Alaska Project”—a limited edition of 1,970 pieces—honours its namesake with its distinctive redanodised aluminum outer case, and a temperature resistance of between -148 C and +260 C. $6,900; omegawatches.com

DRIVEN May 2009 * drivenmag.com 23


sex *

Drive

Kissing to be clever

T

Why funny men get the girl By Elizabeth Walker

he first time I ever went to a comedy club, I saw a performer pick up two girls and get naked. Except, not in that order. The comedian had a groggy delivery and an unshaven face. He was not connecting with the audience. Nonetheless, I was surprised when he abruptly left the stage. He returned a moment later, utterly naked, genitals concealed in his hand. Then he sauntered into the audience, where two blondes were polishing off a bottle of Chardonnay.

24 DRIVEN May 2009 * drivenmag.com

00 driven_May_FWDp16-23_v3.indd 24

He politely asked the ladies where they were from and if they were enjoying the show. They were agog, and the room roiled with laughter. We were gasping for mercy by the end of the set. Later I spotted him getting into a cab, arms slung around the blondes, whispering things into their ears that made them shriek. Sure, he took a risk to earn those laughs. But two women? I told this tale to the bespectacled gentleman down the bar from me, enjoying the blush that rose up from his shirt collar. “You know,” he replied, “if the gag flopped, those girls would not have been interested.” He took off his glasses, allowing me a better

Illustration by David Owen Morgan

4/14/09 10:26:31 AM


sex *

view of his rather lovely lashed eyes. “There may be an evolutionary advantage to being funny.” I blinked my own lashes, encouragingly. “In the wild,” he continued, “females have their pick of males and if your tail isn’t the fluffiest or your song isn’t the sweetest, you are out of luck.” He paused to replace his glasses. “Females look for fitness indicators. Things you can’t fake. Like being a fine physical specimen.” Usually, I would consider this ‘rude talk.’ But the man was a scientist—an evolutionary psychologist. Understanding the roots of our behaviour was his job. Consulting memory, I demurred: sorry, Professor, the comedian was nothing special, physically. One needn’t be, he said, warming to his subject. Fitness indicators are anything that can be correlated with good genes. “A fully functional brain, for instance, is very hard to build and maintain. Think of the pathogens or injuries you could have! So the brain may be a kind of peacock tail, basically. And while you can’t see another person’s brain, you can see what behavior it produces. ” A little excited now, he spilled his drink. Creativity and language explain why I like smart alecks, but I doubt those two girls fell for the comedian’s agile tongue. At least not at first.

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“Naturally, you tend to think in terms of language. But comedy is also about expectations: hanging them in midair while everyone squirms. That reveals a real grasp of social dynamics and predicting behavior. Your young man played your social norms like a violin, and you loved it.” He toasted me with a fresh drink. “We can’t help ourselves when we laugh. It’s a physical response, and funny people hold the key. We delight in their power over us. We submit to them and their ability to make us laugh. Please, do it again, we enjoyed it.” I squirmed a little myself and wondered if he was flashing his own particular peacock’s tail at me, right then. “A woman’s laughter is the most valuable sound to a man’s ear. It signals that she accepts him and might give him a chance to mate. Humour may have evolved as a way for humans to mutually

2/4/09

choose each other. It displays your intelligence and taste, for others to admire or reject.” What a happy thought: Those who guffaw at flatulence pair up; those who smirk at captions in art galleries can be laconic and droll together. Sparing the rest of us. As we pay for our drinks I ask him why there aren’t many female comics headlining their own movies and dating much younger men. Surely, it’s a double standard. “Studies show that when women say they love a sense of humour they mean a man who makes them laugh. When men say it, they mean a woman who laughs at their jokes.” “So tell me professor,” I flirted, “How many evolutionists does it take to screw in a light bulb?” “Just the one,” he smiled. “But it takes eight million years.”

To research this fictionalized tale of coquettish comedy, Liz Walker talked to Dr. Pat Barclay, a researcher in evolutionary psychology at Cornell University. Check out the full Q&A at 12:30 PM

DRIVENmag.com

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colour coded On a Brooklyn rooftop, DRIVEN and Mark the Cobrasnake hatch a plot to defy the grey cityscape, using bursts of bold colour and wearable sleep systems Photography Mark the Cobrasnake Fashion Direction Luke Langsdale Art Direction Kelly Kirkpatrick Grooming Lisa Aharon (using Kiehl’s) Fashion Assistant Daniella Maiorano Models Conrad (DNA Model Management for Elite Toronto) and Toni (Elite Toronto) Location Brooklyn, New York. Williamsburg loft roof courtesy of Shadrach Lindo Where to buy see “Buyer’s Market” on page 60 Photo by Tktktk tktk

DRIVEN March 2009 * DRIVENmag.com 29


Lights, camera, action! Photography Mark Zibert Fashion Styled by Luke Langsdale Art Direction Kelly Kirkpatrick Makeup and Hair Anita Cane (artistgrouplimited.com) Models Andrew and Eric, NAM Personal Management Inc. Where to buy? For details, see “Buyer’s Market” on page 81 30 DRIVEN March 2009 * drivenmag.com

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DRIVEN March 2009 * drivenmag.com 27 31


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M A WH BAM

d n a r B l l e s s u R Russell Brand FEATURING MATERIAL FROM THE CONTROVERSIAL COMIC’S 2009 STANDUP TOUR & COMEDY CENTRAL SPECIAL

A WEE BIT OF ROLEPLAY WITH BRITAIN’S MOST DERANGEROUS FUNNYMAN. Interview and story by Earl Dittman, photography by James Lincoln; shot on location at Hotel Du Vin, Edinburgh, Scotland

38 DRIVEN May 2009 * DRIVENmag.com


junkie

freak

film star

bulimic

TV host

Bowie fan

alcoholic

hairball

beardo

vulgarian DJ

naughty boy sexaholic

comedian.

peacock tabloid fixture Photo by Tktktk tktk

DRIVEN May 2009 * DRIVENmag.com 39


“

My personality just does not work without fame. Without fame, this haircut looks like mental illness.

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J, D . c li o h a x e s , ic m li u Alcoholic, junkie, b airball, tabloid fixture, TV host, film star. Happed in a rock star ’s Bowie fan. Pirate tr eyeliner. clothes, jewellery & Comedian.

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f television’s Steven Colbert and real life’s Amy Winehouse were to produce a love child and abandon it on the doorstep of Spinal Tap’s David St. Hubbins, the wretched creature could well grow up to become a professional Russell Brand impersonator. Much like Russell Brand himself. Whether by design or by accident, or perhaps by willful neglect, the UK’s radioactive comedy star seems about to go nova at a cultural moment when improvised comedy and celebrity scandal are both ascendant, and the borders separating news from entertainment from reality from performance have all but collapsed. Of course, as any comic will tell you: timing is everything. Brand’s agent is very specific about the place and time at which DRIVEN’s photo shoot and interview should take place: immediately before and after Brand’s sold-out comedy gig at the legendary Edinburgh Playhouse, in late February. Because—and this is explained as being quite important—Russell will be “in character.” It’s clearly a complicated character, this cagey rock star-cum-improv impresario type, who lacks an internal censor. Considering the attractive combination of independence and self-reliance he’s getting from his current smash-hit UK comedy tour (rumoured to be coming to Canada this summer, if he can curb some of the controversy), and considering the notorious prank that recently led to him resigning his regular DJ gig with the BBC, perhaps it is time for the true Russell Brand to simply...standup? “The standup stuff I do is all true,” Brand concedes. “Anything that happens to me is material, really.” So, real life is… “a rehearsal.” And does that mean that it’s really, really Russell on stage? “It’s all me, it just happens to be funny.” On the other hand: “Live work is where it can get risky.” No kidding—because although it wasn’t technically live, an improvised gag last October saw the complete unravelling of the 33-year-old Essex native’s super-popular BBC Radio 2 show, which drew more listeners at its height than Ricky Gervais’ internationally celebrated podcasts. Brand and fellow broadcaster Jonathan Ross played a series of not-very-well-thought-out—but not malicious either, he insists—phone pranks on septuagenarian Fawlty Towers star Andrew Sachs, DRIVEN May 2009 * DRIVENmag.com 41


implying in four separate answering-machine messages that Brand had had sex with Sachs’ granddaughter. For the record, Georgina Baillie did date Brand last year. She also happens to be a burlesque performer with a troupe called (and this would warm the cockles of any grandfather’s heart) the Satanic Sluts. It’s a tricky position to maintain, that this was a gag that got away from him. The thrust of the joke messages—spurred when a scheduled phone call to interview Sachs reached the actor’s answering machine—was that each accidentally tasteless message necessitated a follow-up message of apology, which would end with its own increasingly vulgar and tasteless outburst. That’s part of the Brand brand: the notion that Russell doesn’t ever mean to say anything off-colour, but the boy just can’t help it. It’s not so different from the bit on Brand’s 2007 concert DVD Doing Life Live where, while riffing on a local story in the newspaper, he suddenly felt the need to explain about the time “when I sort of, a little bit, accidentally went to work [as a host on MTV UK] on September 12, 2001, dressed in a costume that can only be described as… Osama Bin Laden-esque.” dd ‘magician’ to the skill list, then, because this kind of thing is Brand’s best trick. Sure, dressing up as Bin Laden the day after the attacks on New York—which Brand actually did, not “sort of ” or “a little bit” or “accidentally”—was considered by most to be crass and tasteless. (It also proved to be a firing offense.) But being the guy forced to sheepishly look back on that serious error in judgment, seven-and-a-half years later, can be hilarious. It’s a trick augmented by both Brand’s ability to deliver prepared bits as if they’re coming off the top of his head, and to improvise gut-busting riffs during interviews. The latter skill has won him the assorted radio and TV hosting gigs on which he’s built his celebrity. Regardless, two weeks and one apology (with flowers) after the airing of the Sachs radio pranks, Brand resigned. And this is where it gets interesting. It turns out that in the week immediately following the broadcast, the BBC received relatively little feedback; Brand’s regular listeners hadn’t been shocked or offended. It was only after the Mail on Sunday published a critical article that the complaints poured in—15,000 of them in the second week alone. “I don’t think the actual calls are any longer the interesting aspect of that phenomenon,” Brand reflects now. “The interesting part is the media reaction.” Understandably, the man has a love-hate relationship with the (mostly British) media. “They control a part of you, and say what they like about that part of you. Ultimately, that’s what you say I am and what you say I believe. And you judge me on it.” Dare we put it down to the price of celebrity, and dare we remind him that it’ll all start over again when he explodes in North America? “It’s like the Native American belief that having someone take your photograph steals your soul. I feel like the process of fame steals a part of you, abstractly.” Yeah, we won’t mention it. Again, then: Perhaps it’s time for Brand to rein it all in—at least a bit? It’s already in the works. Brand has all-but quit TV (though he will be returning as host of this year’s American MTV Video Music Awards, after his 2008 spot—notorious for his incisive quips, delivered off the cuff, notably calling Britney Spears the “female Christ” and George Bush a “retarded cowboy”—saw the show’s ratings soar by 20 per cent). He’s quit radio. He’s beaten the booze and the drugs. He clearly weighs more than Johnny Depp—consider the hair alone! And he’s working on the sex; hey, who isn’t? By the way, it’s best to forget the ‘whether he’ question regarding the Sachs-related sex—Brand simply doesn’t need the extra notches. His alleged sexcapades, sure-fire UK headline-grabbers, have a knack for making the news without his help. In the last few months of 2008, gossip columns reported not only that he was dating Britney Spears but also that he brought [CONTINUED ON p60]

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42 DRIVEN May 2009 * DRIVENmag.com

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The funny pages In troubling times such as these, we know that you, dear reader, will benefit from a few stolen moments of mirth and merriment.

Bock bock Who’s there? Bock Bock who? Bock in my day, comedians didn’t need to resort to fowl language!

The funny pages Join us on a light-hearted journey replete with economic turmoil, marital infidelity, corpse preparation, nationalist bigotry, and the kinds of people who do the real grunt work in the porn business. We are confident that hilarity will ensue… Photo by Tktktk tktk

DRIVEN May 2009 * drivenmag.com 45


The funny pages

Daily dally 10 signs that Samantha Bee is cheating on you By Samantha Bee’s husband Attention, would-Bee suitors: The Daily Show with Jon

Stewart’s Samantha Bee is married. Totally, off-the-market married. To me, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart’s Jason Jones. So when I tell you that these are the top-ten signs that the woman might be cheating on you, I know what I’m talking about. You want proof? I typed them up myself! (Well, with files from Samantha Bee.) 1. An ‘M. Safer’ keeps calling and then hanging up when you answer. 2. She’s not even trying with her lies anymore. She keeps saying she’s at the office, but you work right beside her and she’s never there. 3. She asks you to wear suspenders and Ben Gay to bed. And the other night, in the throes of passion, she referred to you as Mr. King. 4. She comes home reeking of real news. 5. She changes your safe word from “cinnamon” to “ ,” which is weird because you don’t even speak Farsi. 6. Her Freudian slips are out of control. The other day instead of saying ‘socks’ she said, ‘Peter Mansbridge.’ 7. You find explicit pictures of her on NiLF-Hunter.com. The N is for News. 8. She has nicknamed her breasts Anderson and Cooper. 9. Her new IM name is I’mcheatingonyoujasonjonesgirl511 10. She is taking her role on the Best F#*%ing News Team way too literally. About the authors: Jason Jones (in case you forgot: The Daily Show with Jon Stewart) and Samantha Bee (yes, once again: The Daily Show with Jon Stewart) have entered the sanctity of your living room, weeknight after weeknight after weeknight after weeknight, but not Fridays. You’ve grown addicted to that perfect pairing: his crotchety voice delivering the truth, and her squinty eyes peering through the lies. Sharing a passion for current affairs, muck raking and holy matrimony— to each other!—Jones and Bee clearly have it all, including not just joint children but also a joint film project, Coopers’ Camera, which is cinemabound later this year. So, don’t believe anything you read. Ever. Except for the byline, because they really did write all of those lying cheating lies.

46 DRIVEN May 2009 * drivenmag.com

Photos by Mark Edward Harris


The funny pages

ith m 1:13 p witching w ves t i Mouth ubject arr tique s ou , guilt pson LES b m o. at Tho in Soh hotel

Borderliners Jokes Americans tell about Canadians

(unless we made them all up) A plane crashes exactly on the border of Alberta and Montreal. Where do they bury the survivors? In fact, they do not bury the survivors. Because they can’t dig through the permafrost. What’s worse: Your annoying younger brother who repeats everything you say and copies your sense of style, or your clingy younger brother who always wants to hang out with the big boys? Canada How do you break the ice with a rich Canadian? “So, how long have you lived in America?” What buck-toothed rodent with a flat tail is Canada’s symbol? Celine Dion What pest with black-rimmed eyes is famous for rooting through trash in Canada’s cities? Avril Lavigne Did you hear the one about Canada? No.

1:54 pm Spinach in teeth .

2:24 pm Hickey time!

P.I. Inve NIGHTL Y s Case tigatio ns # 55 3780 08 DRIVEN May 2009 * DRIVENmag.com 47


A look back at the pros and consolidation that characterized the early ’90s Canadian standup scene Once upon a punchline, in a comedy scene untainted by YouTube hijinks and one-trick viral clowns, Canada witnessed a golden age of standup. Ironically, this creative burst was triggered by an economic slump: the devastating 1990 recession, which ushered in years of job losses and suffering. Standup had boomed through the ’80s but, as the decade ended, quantity quickly eclipsed quality. “There was literally more work than there were comedians,” recalls This Hour Has 22 Minutes producer Mark Farrell, who started in standup during the greed-is-good decade. “They needed acts.” The recession changed all that. Bars once friendly to standup brought in karaoke. In Toronto, only two venues were able to stay afloat. The early ’90s became standup’s equivalent to hockey’s original-six era: tons of talent, few outlets. “The ’90s,” says Yuk Yuk’s impresario Mark Breslin, “was a time of consolidation in the comedy business.” Brent Butt “Everyone who could quit, did,” says Corner Gas star Brent Butt, part of the 1988-to-1993 Hogtown scene. “Those who stayed had no option. They had no interest in doing anything else.” While comedic Darwinism thinned the standup ranks, patrons reaped the benefits. On a typical Wednesday night, a fellow could see then-unknowns such as Farrell, Butt, Brian Hartt and Tim Steeves at the Laugh Resort—a club frequented by comics who had left the Yuk Yuk’s chain—and then catch Harland Williams, Derek Edwards, Jeremy Hotz, Chris Finn and Mike Bullard at Yuks’ Bay Street club—the standup equivalent of Maple Leaf Gardens.

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Edw

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48 DRIVEN May 2009 * drivenmag.com

Jeremy Hotz

By Andrew Clark

“Heady times,” remembers Butt. “We were all flat broke and expected to be that way for the rest of our lives. We were students of comedy. That’s when I really learned what it was to be a standup. The whole reason for having a day was so you get through it and get to a club at night. Nothing mattered until the sun went down.” A typical evening involved sets at the Resort or Yuks followed by latenight drinks at the Pilot Tavern, which became an informal club for the city’s comedy community. Comedians studied each other’s acts scrupulously in a collegial, fraternal atmosphere. While theft was strictly discouraged, unconscious emulation was a natural by-product. “It was hard not to [absorb],” says Butt. “I’d watch Chris Finn host, the way he controlled the room... I learned that from him. Lawrence Morgenstern was a big influence. I took something from everybody.” Tough times produced crack comedians. The twenty-something standups who thought they’d be forever broke wound up making it, and then some. To name but a few, Harland Williams and Jeremy Hotz are thriving Los Angeles transplants, Mike Bullard hosted Canada’s only successful talk show, Brian Hartt became a producer for Mad TV, Farrell became a writer/producer and helped create Corner Gas, Chris Finn is a writer for The Mercer Report. Brent Butt became Canada’s best-known television comedian. Standup today is, like the NHL, a league of expansion. Not to mention diluted talent. The Laugh Resort is gone, Yuk Yuk’s remains and the rest of the field is rounded out by one-night gigs. A culture of dilettantism permeates many of the nights—friends doing gags for friends. “You’re not aware of how good things are when you’re in the middle of them,” says Farrell. “There weren’t too many shitty people back then.” Butt remains a standup zealot, though he can now sell out large theatres such as Massey Hall. Settled in Vancouver, about to go to air with Hiccups, a CTV series he created for his wife (and Corner Gas co-star) Nancy Robertson, he hopes to return to more intimate settings and perhaps recapture a little of the existential zeal of the gritty 1990s. “I could sneak out, do five minutes at a small club, go home. I could slide back into the seedy, greasy underbelly of standup comedy. “I miss that greasy underbelly. There is nothing like it.”

iams Will d n a Harl Photography courtesy of Just For Laughs (hahaha.com)


The funny pages

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way Back from the Penthouse alumni find themselves in curious positions By Reb Stevenson There is a quandary that is seldom addressed at journalism school. The rules are clear when it comes to the correct use of it’s or its, but what happens when you add an extra ‘T’ to the beginning of those words and start churning out smut? As Hollywood has taught us all too well, a dalliance in XXX-land can be greeted with a shrug (Pam Anderson) or bring a career to a complete and screeching halt (Dustin Diamond). Here is a brief “where are they now?” look at former contributors to the be-allend-all of literary porn periodicals: Penthouse Forum.

communication involved Nobile accusing Heidenry of plagiarism, with a claim that Heidenry’s 2002 book What Wild Ecstasy: The Rise and Fall of the Sexual Revolution had lifted material from a 1980 Nobile article. The book went ahead; Nobile fumed. Why they didn’t mediate the classic Forum way— jello fight with thong-clad models—remains a mystery.

Alastair XXX Campbell Perhaps most famous for his stint as Tony Blair’s Director of Communications and Strategy, Alastair Campbell came from humble beginnings. A budding young writer at Cambridge, Campbell dipped his, er, quill in the Penthouse inkwell to earn some extra coin, dubbing himself the Riviera Gigolo and penning such classics as “Busking with Bagpipes.” The piper swaggered over to journalism’s serious side, becoming a news editor at Sunday Today...and suffering a nervous breakdown. But if his time at Forum taught him anything, it’s that rebounds rule. He moved to the Daily Mirror and rose through the editorial ranks, then moved into politics, holding the prestigious position at Downing Street from 1997 to 2003. Still, one of the man’s greatest achievements will always be his unwitting resolution of the eternal fact-orfiction debate surrounding Forum. The guy claimed that playing the bagpipes got him laid. C’mon.

Philip XXX Nobile Following the skirmish with Heidenry, Nobile sniffed around for another conflict. A teacher in Brooklyn as well as a prolific journalist and author (his politically charged stuff and a graphic book on female orgasm look stunning side-by-side on a bookshelf), he embarked upon a three-year crusade to expose alleged grade-fixing by other faculty members at the school where he worked. An intense investigation by authorities debunked Nobile’s case. Worse, the tables turned when students accused him of corporal punishment and failing kids without just cause. Nobile countered, insisting that it was a smear against his whistle blowing. Rumour has it that Nobile is writing a book about it, Heidenry will copy it word-for-word, Nobile will spank Heidenry, both will experience an explosive female orgasm, and then they’ll collaborate on a racy letter to Forum detailing the whole sordid affair.

John XXX Heidenry While toiling at a Catholic publishing house in New York, John Heidenry struck up a friendship with Philip Nobile, a co-worker. Hours in a bland office surrounded by religious propaganda—you can bet that visions of naughty schoolgirls and bi-curious nuns were dancing in their heads. Naturally, both Heidenry and Nobile ditched the holy books for the sinful pages of Forum. Sex, male bonding, the early ’80s—sounds like a fitting plot for Boogie Nights: The Sequel, complete with matching moustaches and congratulatory pats on the back. What actually followed reads more like a bitchy teenage drama. There was a falling out in 1986. The next

Anne XXX Hooper She looks a bit like your mom, if your mom is the sensible haircut type who donates to breast-cancer charities and takes power walks in a Lululemon track suit. And has a drawer full of giant, battery-powered sex-shop hardware. As her slick website implies, Anne Hooper is middle-aged, but she still gets some. After her stint at Forum from ’74-’80, she turned to broadcasting and published an orgy of successful sexual self-help books such as The Body Electric, Anne Hooper’s Ultimate Sex Guide and the intriguing yet frighteningly titled Fabulous Sex—Food and Erotic Exercise. Hmm: Downward doggie-style? With oysters? Hot.

Forum covers courtesy of General Media Communications, Inc., a subsidiary of FriendFinder Networks Inc. © General Media Communications, Inc. 1984, 1986. All rights reserved.

DRIVEN May 2009 * DRIVENmag.com 49


The funny pages

Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious (The Penguin Freud Library, Volume Six) By Sigmund Freud Translated and edited by James Strachey, 1960

A

ANALYZE

THIS Your Freudian slips are showing

By James Grainger

When looking back on the winding, banana-peel-strewn road of comedic history, the words German and scientist don’t exactly jump out of the scenery. So who would have guessed that the father of psychotherapy, Herr Sigmund Freud, devoted an entire book to the study of jokes. Admittedly, the title of the work in question—Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious—and its basic premise—that jokes offer a cathartic release of tensions, especially of the sexual variety—aren’t exactly the stuff of comedy gold. 50 DRIVEN May 2009 * DRIVENmag.com

quick browse through the appendices of Freud’s treatise on hilarity easily tickles the imagination of the punchline-obsessed. Always a stickler for organization, Freud includes two separate indexes: one for names and various general concepts, one strictly for the jokes. What were the resident wits and wiseacres riffing on in the cafes of the Prussian and Austro-Hungarian Empires, circa 1905? The usual subjects appear in the index: Rabbi, long-sighted Pregnant daughter Kettle, damaged Death-bed joke Girl at her toilet Knife without a blade Reading some of the more obscure entries, though, proves the old maxim that humour simply does not translate. Could any of these be funny? Family of absent fisherman (naïve) Deafness and brandy Food on the beard ( Jewish) Mayonnaise and spinach Achilles heels, four (Herr N.) Intrigued by the freakish definition, DRIVEN turned to page 57 to enjoy “Achilles heels, four.” As with most comedy, Freud’s explanation is all in the delivery: “In the course of a conversation about someone in whom there was much to praise, but much to find fault with, Herr N. remarked, ‘Yes, vanity is one of his four Achilles heels.’” Not as unfunny as a Joe Piscopo SNL retrospective, but not a sidesplitter, either. Freud, though, thinks the joke is very funny and, thankfully, tells us why: “The slight modification consists in the fact that instead of one Achilles heel, four here are in question. Four heels—but only an ass has four heels.” For those who still don’t get it, Freud offers his own clinically correct paraphrase of the joke: “Apart from his vanity, Y is an eminent man; all the same, I don’t like him—he’s an ass rather than a man.” All of which may prove that sometimes an index really is just an index. But just in case…


The funny pages objection could be made if anyone were to prefer to include this joke among the ‘condensations accompanied by modifications as substitute’ category.” Wouldn’t dream of objecting, Herr Doctor. Pass the icing sugar. “DIPSOMANIAC TUTOR” (p.88)

Taking a page out of the Foster Brooks Playbook with the meandering delivery that combines alcoholism and pedagogy—can’t miss, right?—Freud sets up the premise: “A man who had taken to drink supported himself by tutoring in a small town. His vice gradually became known, however, and as a result he lost most of his pupils.” Cue the straight man: “A friend was commissioned to urge the tutor to mend his ways. ‘Look,’ said the friend, ‘you could get the best tutoring jobs in town if you would give up drinking. So do give it up.’ ‘Who do you think you are?’ was the indignant reply. ‘I do tutoring so that I can drink. Am I to give up drinking so that I can get tutoring?’” In case the sound of revellers masticating frisbee-sized Bavarian pretzels throughout the banquet hall drowned out the punchline, Freud paraphrases the witty drunkard’s retort: “What a senseless suggestion! The important thing for me is the drinking, not the tutoring. After all, tutoring is only a means to enable me to go on drinking.”

By unpopular demand: the very most not-good Knock-knock jokes of 2009! Knock knock

Who’s there? Obama Obama who? Obama some peanuts and cracker-jack, I don’t care if I never come back For it’s root, root, root for the home team

“KING AND SURGEON” (p.112)

Substitute Prince Charles for the king in this howler and Dr. Gregory House for the surgeon and presto: instant Academy Awards night material. “A king condescended to visit a surgical clinic and came on the surgeon as he was carrying out the amputation of a leg. He accompanied the amputation’s stages with loud expressions of his royal satisfaction: ‘Bravo! bravo! my dear doctor!’ When the operation was finished, the doctor approached him and asked with a deep bow: ‘Is it your majesty’s command that I remove the other leg too?’” If the Best Adapted Screenplay presenters are delayed, Freud provides a paraphrase of the punchline: “This makes it look as though I were taking off the poor fellow’s leg by royal command and only for the royal satisfaction. After all I really have other reasons for the operation.”

“EVERY FATHOM A QUEEN” (p.117)

Freud wasn’t just about the set-up/ punchline shtick, he loved sharing a witty bon mot between the schnitzel and streudel courses. A fave was the allusion, “Every fathom a queen.” Come again? “Every fathom a queen is a modification of Shakespeare’s familiar, Every inch a king.” Well, DUH. “The allusion to this quotation,” Freud explains, “was made in reference to an aristocratic and over-life-size lady.” Ah—a fat lady joke. A fathom, for all you non-sailors out there, is a unit of length in the good old Imperial system, equal to six feet. Freud qualifies his quip for the joke collectors at the table: “No very serious

Knockworst

“SCHADCHEN JOKES ( JEWISH MARRIAGE-BROKER), DEAF BRIDE” (pp. 102-103) Freud loved Jewish tall tales, none so much as the Schadchen variety. “The bridegroom was disagreeably surprised when the bride was introduced to him, and drew the Schadchen to one side and whispered his remonstrances: ‘Why have you brought me here?’ he whispered reproachfully. ‘She’s ugly and old, she squints and has bad teeth and bleary eyes...’ — ‘You needn’t lower your voice,’ interrupted the broker, ‘she’s deaf as well.’” DRIVEN skipped the footnotes—we know a winner when we hear one.

Knock knock

Who’s there? Banana Banana who? use king movies like The Ho Ban Anna Faris from’sma talents. Bunny. She wasting her

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Who’s there? Euripides. Euripides who? Euripides MP3s, the recording industry is going to sue.

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Who’s th Police. Police who? ck-knock jokes no telling me K Police stop or I’ll taser you.

Click-click. Who’s there? More exclusive, low-quality Knock-knock jokes at DRIVENmag.com DRIVEN May 2009 * DRIVENmag.com 51


The funny pages

A not-so se

rious

undertaking

While you can’t start a funeral without f-u-n, mortuaries themselves are not typically associated with mirth. Does it necessarily follow that all morticians are humourless?  By Marcus Tamm

52 DRIVEN May 2009 * drivenmag.com

K

Power Play (which boasts a maple-leaf Images from the 2009 Oscar-nominated short logo and promThis Way Up, courtesy of Nexus Productions ises “outstanding That wouldn’t be so strange—she’s penetration and female, and works with the public. She’s also a diffusion”) and Ming (which indeed invokes the funeral-home manager, and “Oooh! Allo darlin’, stoic Chinese dynasty, and promises to put the can I have you work on me when I die?” is just one balm back in embalm, leaving the flesh looking like of the many lines she has been subjected to in over “fine translucent porcelain ware…ideal for use on 10 years on the job. children, women, the elderly, and all cases where Prentice has worked in parlours both indethe skin is particularly delicate”). pendent and corporate, in Ontario and British It all raises the question: What kind of person Columbia. In addition to the dubious flirting, she is drawn to the funeral business, and how does one has seen some mourners personally reapply makebegin? Prentice points out that morbid curiosity up to the deceased before snapping one last family need not be a prerequisite, and that the majorportrait at the open casket, and others stuff their ity of people she has worked with simply felt the handbags with cakes at the wakes. proverbial calling. It takes a certain sense of humour to do what It may also help to have a blatant disregard for she does. taboo. Prentice remembers touring an embalmingBelieve it or not, the industry’s full of it. chemicals company as a college student, and being Consider the tools of the trade: There is the unfortusent home with samples of some of the products— nately named PortiBoy embalming machine, which many of them containing ridiculously dangerous looks a little like a harmless electric mixer but could ingredients never intended for use outside of morbenefit from a moniker that didn’t conjure images tuaries. Still, one hygiene-minded fellow student of festival-site lavatories. ESCO, one of the larger took to using a cadaver disinfectant to clean the suppliers of embalming chemicals, offers a number dorm’s toilet seats. No rear ‘endings’ resulted, so of eyebrow-raising products in its catalogue. Names to speak, but one assumes that her unwitting peers include Dri-Cav (which refers to the body cavity), might have objected. ory Prentice gets hit on at work.


The funny pages

Regardless, Prentice cites the two most typical paths of entry into the funeral business as: (1) being born into a family operation (for which she qualifies, as her father was a hearse driver with a humorous penchant for picking up hitchhikers just to creep them out), and (2) surprise surprise, having an unhealthy interest in the macabre. Latter applicants are usually weeded out at the very first interview. Funeral professionals are well-versed in unspoken communication, Prentice says, pointing to “red flags” such as unnatural eagerness or preoccupation (usually with the preparation room), inappropriate comments (mostly regarding cadavers), disrespectful mode of dress (over-the-top gothic, for example), attitude (obsession with gory details) and language (immaturity, gossiping). Of those who make it through the screening process, 20 per cent discover they’re not cut out for it—and almost all of them discover this at their first hands-on embalming (where there is nothing funny about the ‘gag’ in gag reflex). Those who remain largely do not resemble their stereotypes. “I’ve only ever met two funeral directors that seemed to stand tall enough to cast long shadows,” says Prentice. But she accepts that stereotypes die hard. Upon learning what she does for a living, most people’s initial reaction is almost always, Why would you do that? Quite accustomed to being viewed as a freak, she draws her own parallels, and describes funerals as having “all the wonder and drama of the circus.” Her reasoning includes: the courting and taming of fear, the dangers of pathogens and chemicals, and the feat of restoring a cadaver to lifelike appearance. The differences? “Dowdy suits instead of glittering spandex.”

The showbiz comparison inevitably turns the conversation to HBO’s famous take on funerary culture: Six Feet Under, which Prentice “eventually got around to watching.” While she admits she has never seen a corpse sit up and discuss regrets, she allows that the show was “fairly accurate—you certainly imagine what the traits of the deceased might have been, what the circumstances were surrounding their death.” Every deceased person, she adds, is a source of intrigue. Film and TV scripts involving funeral homes often feature people hiding in caskets for surprise hijinks. Here, Prentice draws a clear line between fact and pure fiction. “I could not imagine a professional making a mockery of laying in state,” she says. “You’d be hard-pressed to come across even the most humoured of funeral directors who didn’t see their work as a service to families in need.” Professionalism is of the upmost importance. “We have fun,” she allows, “but it always remains appropriate.” In the end, what’s appropriate is probably better determined by the bereaved. In addition to suffering misguided flirtation, Prentice has also fielded her share of unusual client requests. She particularly remembers one gentleman who insisted on attending his mother’s embalming. After signing a release, stating that he wouldn’t hold the business responsible for any potential resultant psychological damages, he spent the whole procedure playing harmonica and slowly circling the work table. Odd? Yes. Funny? Possibly. If laughter is the best medicine, perhaps it can also act as a balm. Recalls Prentice: “It was, strangely, one of the most beautiful acts of love I have ever witnessed.” DRIVEN May 2009 * drivenmag.com 53


automotive *

>> By Mark Hacking

54 DRIVEN May 2009 * drivenmag.com


Nothing funny about funny cars. Seriously.

T

he question: “Funny cars”—are they funny ha-ha or funny strange? The answer: No. Often mistaken for clown cars, if not outright lumped in with them, funny cars are, in fact, completely humourless. Their extra-short wheelbase and extra-large rear tires did indeed give rise to the moniker when the vehicle type first appeared on the drag scene, in the mid-’60s. But the offbeat appearance is in fact a by-product of engineering. Per the saying about book covers and judgement: These babies can really book, so don’t judge them by the look. Consider the evidence: Just like Vin Diesel, the funny car lives its life a quarter-mile at a time. Its sole purpose is to accelerate, in a straight line, down a drag strip, as quickly as possible—full stop. Turn? No need. Brake? A parachute takes care of that. The funny car is the kind of vehicle that’s piloted by serious racers with serious handles, guys like Don “The Snake” Prudhomme, “Big Daddy” Don Garlits and John “The” Force. (OK, kidding on the definite article in that last one.) Although the funny car has an internal combustion engine and something resembling a car body, it ultimately has more in common with the Space Shuttle than with an everyday Toyota Corolla. Not convinced? Consider this: At full tilt, the funny car will develop twice as many g-forces (six) as the Space Shuttle at launch (three)—so take that, Buzz Aldrin. In fact, the funny car arguably does along the horizontal plane something comparable to a rocket along the vertical. And that engine? It’s an 8000-horsepower V8, so it’s something akin to strapping eight Bugatti Veyrons to a dogsled and taking off for a jaunt across Antarctica. One last thing: Bring your PetroCanada card when you fire up your funny car—that single quarter-mile run burns through more than 50 litres of fuel. So who’s laughing now?*

Photography courtesy of National Dragster/NHRA

DRIVEN May 2009 * drivenmag.com 55


automotive *

>>

>>

2009 Nissan 370Z By Mark Hacking

Las Vegas, Nevada—First of all: what a makeover. Shorter, lower and more muscular—if the 2009 Nissan 370Z were to decide on a second career, it could be as a midget wrestler. The replacement for the 350Z (in and of itself a very successful car, with seriously sporty DNA), this new version features distinct contours, a bolder approach and more sheer testosterone. It makes a serious statement.

56 DRIVEN May 2009 * drivenmag.com

The flared fenders, cantilevered roof design and sweeping rear quarter-windows give the 370Z an original look that harkens back to the original 240Z of the late-’60s. In particular, the headlights and taillights burst with creativity; reminiscent of the latest Nissan Maxima, they create some extreme angles—real concept car stuff. But these aren’t angles for angles’ sake, such as those found on more overwrought cars. No sir, this Z is all about angles that speak to heritage, and in a far-from condescending way. Inside the cabin, much of the low-grade plastic of the 350Z has been replaced. The 370Z has a true performance-car cockpit, with a tactile quality that encourages the condition known as lead foot. As evidence, I submit the driver’s seat, covered in anti-slip leather and different in design from the passenger seat—there’s more padding, for support in all the right places. Meanwhile, the interior layout is nothing if not

single-minded: witness the large tachometer placed front and centre in the instrument cluster, as well as the trio of centre-mounted gauges, all angled towards the driver. The not-so-subtle message: Like room service in a boutique hotel, the 370Z is open for business. Cosmetic changes aside, sports-car fans will be most interested in what lies beneath the surface. In the engine bay: a new 3.7-litre V6 engine that produces 332 hp (26 more than the old Z) and soars to 7,500 rpm. In the drivetrain: your choice of a 7-speed automatic with paddle shifters or a 6-speed manual with optional automatic rev matching (more on this later). And in the big picture: A car that maintains the outgoing model’s 54/46 front/rear weight distribution, but manages to be simultaneously lighter, by some 50 kg, and stronger. For the driving experience, we take a leisurely jaunt through the Valley of Fire before hitting


Spring Mountain Motorsports Park in Pahrump for a series of quick laps. The cars are fitted with coolers for the rear differential, power steering and transmission, but we don’t hold this against Nissan—we’re the first of many waves of journalists, and the event organizers are just hoping to keep their cars running till the end of the program. The optional Sport Package features the 6-speed manual with the aforementioned SynchroRev Match—a world’s first, and yet another sign that the modern driver is being divorced from the process of, well, driving. The system works exceedingly well. Downshift from fourth gear to second into the hairpin turn and the engine revs automatically to keep the grinding down to a bare minimum. Actually, there’s no grinding at all; kind of like a Toronto Maple Leafs hockey game. As soon as the track is memorized and the speeds escalate, though, not having to blip the throttle on downshifts just feels strange. I switch off the sport button and regain total control over the shifting process; wonky downshifts make a comeback, but so too does the feeling that I’m responsible for some of the car’s performance. (The gearbox is a notchy piece of work; the auto-rev matching makes up for the fact that shifting into second in the heat of battle is not a smooth process.) The upgraded brakes on the Sport Package don’t feel as almighty powerful as one would hope, but the steering shows a marked improvement from the previous model. At high speeds, the old 350Z had the unnerving habit of going too light. Not so with the 370Z; turn-in is precise, heft is decent and the overall feel of the car is excellent. This inspires confidence (false or otherwise), which then opens the door to pushing the Z with the traction control turned off. The Nissan responds with little slides here and there—nothing too lurid, just an indication that this two-seater is well-balanced and not completely out of place on the track. Should the mood strike. Of course, the primary purpose of the 2009 Nissan 370Z is not to be a track car; rather, it’s a flashy looking sports car capable of generating honest grins on a regular basis. With a base price of just around $40K, the new Z is also a strong contender in the bang-per-buck sweepstakes. Yes, the fancy-pants transmission, bigger brakes, bigger wheels, bigger tires and various electronic gadgets (such as the navigation system) will cost you extra—but this doesn’t take away from the fact that the lighter, faster and more aggressive 370Z is one very desirable piece of machinery indeed.*

Photography by Mark Hacking

This two-seater is well-balanced and not completely out of place on the track. Should the mood strike.

DRIVEN May 2009 * drivenmag.com 57


automotive *

>> >> 2009 Porsche Cayman S By Mark Hacking

Jerez, Spain—Motoring around the Spanish countryside in the newly revised Porsche Cayman S, one thing becomes abundantly clear: There is so little room for improvement in the engineering of this finely tuned sports car, it almost defies belief. The Cayman S sprints away from stoplights like a greyhound (the dog, not the bus), corners like a monorail (the kind that stays on the track) and generally feels as comfortable as a pair of Isotoners (blatant Kanye West reference). 58 DRIVEN May 2009 * drivenmag.com

In fairness, there may be some dissenting opinions out there. Let’s canvass them: Some might argue that the interior should feature all manner of hides from exotic animals, a sound system so booming that it guarantees permanent hearing loss, and gadgetry so complex you’d need to be a rocket surgeon to make heads or tails of it. Others might offer that the car’s 3.4-litre flat-six ought to be brushed aside to make room for a larger and more powerful engine. Still more might complain about the lack of a rear seat, the seriously uninspired design of the cup holders, and the fact that neither the front nor the rear luggage compartment is big enough to accommodate a tour-sized golf bag. All of the people described above should get a hobby—and that hobby should in no way resemble driving a sports car. Perhaps scrapbooking. Maybe mah-jongg. Possibly golf. For the uninitiated, here’s the Porsche Cayman S in a nutshell: A sleek exterior that makes the similarly engineered Porsche Boxster S road-

ster look about as sexy as a bar of Irish Spring; a level of performance that makes people rethink the Porsche 911 they’ve been eyeballing for the last decade or so; and, to top it all off, a cost savings of about $20,000 over that self-same 911. The only question is: In a recessed economy, do you opt for the original Cayman S (you know, the 2006 model you pick up for a relative song from one of those financial wizards who helped precipitate our current malaise)? Or do you select the new-for-’09 version? Let’s go to the tape… and take some measurements. For the 2009 model year, the Cayman S has received a number of upgrades, all of them quite small but still significant. In the engine department, the 3.4-litre quite ably cranks out 320 horsepower, up from 295, mainly due to a direct fuel injection system that also serves to boost fuel economy. (The base Cayman has been upgraded as well; it features a new 2.9-litre flatsix that develops 265 horsepower.) In even bigger news, the Cayman S is also available with Porsche’s racing-derived PDK


“The original Cayman S was so gorgeous, this was definitely a ‘don’t mess with success’ scenario.”

transmission, a revolutionary bit of engineering that debuted just last summer in the 2009 Porsche 911. No need to wax elegiac about this 7-speed dual-clutch automatic (for that, you can revisit the September 2008 issue of DRIVEN). Suffice to say that the PDK is slick enough to make the supermodel sitting next to you think you’re Steve McQueen behind the wheel. While the PDK is extra-quick—it scrolls through the gears faster than anyone could manage with the 6-speed manual—it also costs about $4K extra and is saddled with those nonintuitive shift buttons (ibid., Sept. 2008 DRIVEN). Thus, the purist of the pure might still prefer the triple-pedal transmission; after all, an automatic, no matter how racy, is still an automatic. (And the supermodel might not be fooled.) Having said that, the Cayman S equipped with the PDK and the optional Sports Chrono package with launch control does sprint to 100 km/h in just 4.9 seconds and tops out at 275 km/h. This version also boasts a greater power-to-weight ratio than the deservedly vaunted Porsche 911. As impressive as these numbers may be, the finest quality of the Cayman S remains its sublime handling. On one particular stretch of road in and around the region’s sherry-producing vineyards, I was becoming annoyed—not with the car, but with the road itself. You see, it was one of those classic European roads carved into the rolling hills… except it wasn’t.

While most of the corners on the classic roads are of similar radii, this sucker carried corners of all angles and descriptions. Of course, many of these turns were also blind and, in that we were driving through otherwise pastoral farmland, occupied by slow-moving vehicles of various widths. The point is: Driving this annoying road at speed required a supremely high level of confidence in the car’s ability to hold fast around precipitous contours. The Cayman S, with its lightweight midengine layout, proved to be just the ticket. The steering is unerringly precise. The car has an ability to transfer its mass from one side of the road to the next, with ease and grace. The suspension system has been revised to promote crisper handling; an available limited-slip differential has been added with the same goal in mind. (Net/net: This car has some seriously grin-inducing characteristics.) To top it all off, when that slow-moving vehicle appears directly in front of you, the four-wheel disc brakes (featuring cross-drilled, vented rotors to better dissipate heat) bring the Porsche to a grinding halt with far less drama than the average Lindsay Lohan commute. What else is there to report about the 2009 Porsche Cayman S? A new front fascia, headlights, taillights and side mirrors give the two-seater a slightly more aggressive appearance. Bigger air openings at the sides of the

front grille look suitably mean. The headlights are modelled after those of the extra-exclusive Porsche Carrera GT; they incorporate the halogen headlamps and the turn signals into a single light cluster. At the back, the LED daytime driving lights create a bent staple-shaped outline that emphasizes the vehicle’s haunches. It’s not an entirely pleasing effect, but when the brakes are engaged, the lights fill out nicely. Inside, the gains include an optional navigation system with touchscreen display, an audio system that offers iPod and USB stick connectivity, and an optional heated steering wheel (for the PDK version). Other upgrades appear here and there, but no word yet on those cup holders. To sum up, the 2009 Porsche Cayman S is a slightly faster and slicker version of the original—the model was close to perfection before and it’s another hair closer now. In fact, so gorgeous was the original Cayman S, this was definitely a “don’t mess with success” scenario. With a starting price of just over $75K, it’s likely not the kind of snap decision that your accountant will wholeheartedly support. Still, the sports-car purist in you will have no problem whatsoever rationalizing it.*

DRIVEN May 2009 * drivenmag.com 59


[“WHAM BAM RUSSELL BRAND,” CONTINUED FROM p42] the granddaughter of Che Guevara back to his hotel room. In January, GQ had Brand either boasting or joking that he sleeps with 90 women a month. When asked about it, he tells DRIVEN: “People are always pressing me to put a figure on the amount of women I sleep with and I always say that it’s really disrespectful to do so.” Statistics are “not something I ever could relate to.” It’s a convenient answer: He avoids correcting the number, leaving his sexual mythology intact. But if his ceaseless antics have pushed him out of radio and TV in Britain, the comic’s momentum over on this side of the Atlantic is only building—particularly in Hollywood. A film sequel that headlines Aldous Snow, Brand’s scene-stealing supporting character from Judd Apatow’s Forgetting Sarah Marshall, has been greenlit. So too has a remake of Dudley Moore’s star-making role in Arthur. And his agent is quick to point out a co-starring role with Jack Sparrow himself in Pirates of the Caribbean 4. Hence the idea that this guy is really about to blow up over here. If he survives, that is. Because if you were a recovered booze-guzzler and pill-popper, reprising a role as a drinkin’ & druggin’ rock star (Get Him to the Greek, the aforementioned Forgetting Sarah Marshall sequel) and going right from that to playing one of film history’s most legendary drunks, Arthur Bach, wouldn’t you be worried about a relapse? Not Russell Brand. “When I’m making a film, I focus, do research and take it all very seriously. I am drawing heavily on my experiences,” he insists, “and not having to put on fake mustaches and hats.” Or, presumably, consume real ones. Or start consuming them again.

Great, if he can keep it straight. Because here’s the thing about Brand: His stuff really is dynamite. To the point about his standup all being rooted in truth, he’s right. His current routine manages to invoke the Sachs controversy in an entirely self-deprecating yet still entertaining manner. Not bad for a faux-pas that could have ended tragically. “My initial intention was to be a very tragic actor,” Brand mentions, “but people would always laugh at me when I was doing it.” As a young adult, he attended London’s prestigious Drama Centre, “where people like Colin Firth and Paul Bettany went! It was all very heavy! A serious, take-your-clothes-off-and-cry, ‘What animal are you?’ kind of place! “I came out of it a clown.” Brand’s comic influences, his time at the Drama Centre, his chemical addictions, his romantic liaisons and most of his childhood memories are addressed in his autobiography, My Booky Wook, first published in 2007 in England, released in Canada this spring. A shockingly frank tell-all story of “drugs, determination and debauchery,” the star maintains that he did not hold back. Sort of. “I tried to be as honest, within the bounds of good taste, as I could.” Ultimately, an approximation of honesty seems to work best for Brand. Behind the showbiz image he’s created for himself, it really is his life that generates the best material. He’s a character of exponential proportions; how could he not be a magnet for comedy? Well, maybe here’s one way: What if you were to take away Brand’s omnipresent black suit and cut off those ridiculous locks—could the guy still make people laugh? “Strip me of clothes and hair?” he says, with an are-you-kidding tone. “The laughter increases. That’s when people really start laughing.” D

buyer’s market* FASHION For may Colour Coded (Pages 29-36) Page 29: Vest and pants available at Louis Vuitton (louisvuitton.com). Limited Edition Nylon magazine Nike shoes, photographer’s own. Lippi Selk’Bag available from lippiselkbag.co.uk. Page 30-31, from left to right: Jacket by Comme des Garçons SHIRT available from doverstreetmarket.com. Pants available at Gucci (gucci.com). Shoes, stylist’s own, available from Spring Court (springcourt.com). Jacket by Comme des Garçons SHIRT available from doverstreetmarket.com. Lacoste Red! Pants available at Lacoste boutiques across Canada (lacoste.com). Limited Edition Adidas BW Army C&S shoes, stylist’s own. Lippi Selk’Bags available from lippiselkbag.co.uk. Page 32: Shirt by Comme des Garcons SHIRT available from doverstreetmarket.com. Lippi Selk’Bag available from lippiselkbag.co.uk.

ERRATUM

In our December issue, the following credits were overlooked Joseph Boyden cover feature: location provided by Filmport Studios (filmportstudios.com); desk and chair courtesy of Ministry of the Interior, 80 Ossington Ave., Toronto (ministryoftheinterior.net).

Page 36: Shirt and cardigan both available at Gucci (gucci.com). Lacoste Red! Pants available at Lacoste boutiques across Canada (lacoste.com). Shoes, model’s own. Tootal scarf, stylist’s own. Loden Dager parka available at Opening Ceremony, 33 Howard St, New York (212-625-2828). Pants available at Gucci (gucci.com). Shoes available at Lacoste (lacoste.com). Lippi Selk’Bag available from lippiselkbag.co.uk.

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60 DRIVEN May 2009 * drivenmag.com

Russell Brand photo by James Lincoln; fashion, by The Cobrasnake


Harper’s APPENDIX Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s final grade-point average at Toronto’s Richview Collegiate : 95.7% Number of graduates who finished with a higher average that year : 0 Points that Stephen Harper scored for the 1978 Richview team on TV show Reach for the Top : 80 Total points for the Richview team : 160 Points scored by Richview’s opponent, Vincent Massey Collegiate : 445 Dewey decimal number referring to prime ministership of Stephen Harper : 971.073 Canadian patent number for Mildewstatic Laundry Sour : 971073 Minimum number of quotations attributed to Stephen Harper saying he would either not appoint new senators or appoint only elected senators : 4 Minimum number Stephen Harper quotations disparaging the Senate as “a dumping ground for the favoured cronies of the Prime Minister” : 2 Number of unelected senators appointed by Stephen Harper while Parliament was prorogued in December 2008 : 18 Time in months Parliament spent in the penalty box : 2 Total Ottawa Senator penalty minutes during game attended by Stephen Harper on March 2, 2006 : 24 Last time Ottawa Senators tied their record for most short-handed goals in a single period : March 2, 2006 Score of that game (Ottawa over Washington) : 7-1 Ratio of Canadians who think US President Barack Obama’s impact on Canada will likely be favourable versus unfavourable : 7:1 Amount donated to Obama campaign by North Carolina resident Stephen Harder (no relation) : $2,300 US Number of Ottawa Senators jerseys presented by Stephen Harper to US President Barack Obama : 0 Number of Ottawa Senators jerseys presented by Stephen Harper to Afghan President Hamid Karzai : 1 Number of ice-hockey rinks in Afghanistan : 0 Number of times the Stanley Cup has been brought to Afghanistan to boost morale : 2 Years left before Canada pulls troops out of Afghanistan : 2 Years left before the Toronto Maple Leafs are “going to be a contender,” according to Stephen Harper : 1 or 2 Year of Stephen Harper’s prognostication about Toronto Maple Leafs : 2006 Number of months without interruption that Stephen Harper estimates he would require to finish writing his book, started earlier this decade, on the early history of professional hockey in Toronto : 3 Number of books author Yann Martel has sent Stephen Harper in an effort to expand the Prime Minister’s “stillness” : 48 Number of those 48 books that Yann Martel identifies as “funny” : 5 (The Uncommon Reader, Alan Bennett; A Modest Proposal, Jonathan Swift; Candide, Voltaire; Animal Farm, George Orwell; A Clockwork Orange, Anthony Burgess) Number of times DRIVEN called the Prime Minister’s office to tell him about our Comedy issue and request his list of “funny books” : 6 Number you can call to request the same : 613-992-4211 (good luck!) Number of books published by Yann Martel since his 2001 break-out novel, Life of Pi : 0 Birth of pi : 1900 BC Death of pie (if unrefrigerated) : 3 days Portioning of pie if Stephen Harper has to share with three other hungry parties : Division by zero error Number of stars of Trailer Park Boys who are distant cousins to Stephen Harper, according to The Globe and Mail : 1 (Robb Wells, AKA “Ricky”) Number of stars of Trailer Park Boys who are distant cousins to Stephen Harper, according to Robb Wells, AKA “Ricky” : 0 Who arrives in Ottawa first, if Stephen Harper leaves Calgary on an eastbound train going 120 kilometres per hour at the exact same time as Michael Ignatieff leaves Manhattan on a northbound train going 75 miles per hour : Harper, because Ignatieff got an extra 15 minutes with Obama Number Stephen Harper is thinking of : 155 Reason Stephen Harper thinks 6 is afraid of 7 : 789 Approximate length, in metres, of Stephen Harper’s large intestine : 1.5 Algebraic formula of this appendix, determining material researched, compiled and written by James Grainger : X minus Y bother Who is Number 1? : You are Number 6 Figures cited are all actual figures. Sources are listed on Wikipedia and/or Facebook. “Harper’s Index” is still a registered trademark. 62 DRIVEN May 2009 * drivenmag.com


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