Know your audience

Even though I am not a comedian I get the idea that a key element of good joke telling is knowing your audience.

Seeing two jokes fall flat on their face in the last two weeks illustrated the point perfectly.

The first was at work, when I overheard two of my colleagues talking about babysitting.

Being new, I imagined it would be a good time for some team building. After all humour can build bridges… when it is appropriate.

So one of my workmates is explaining that she is looking after one of her nephews for the weekend.

“He can be a handful,” she says. “But my boyfriend is with me so we can probably manage him together.”

Without even thinking I said: “One of you can hold him and the other can beat him!”

Stunned silence.

My housemate would have laughed his ass off!

In the second incident the joke was on me. I was on the train to Wembley to see Arsenal v Chelsea in the FA Cup and the train was rammed.

At the next stop a giant of a Chelsea fan squeezes himself on… despite the fact that I am already being felt up (not by design!) by an old man.

I was reaching for my pockets to pull out my Mp3 player and he mistakenly thought I was trying to reach for his.

Without a trace of a mile on his face he says: “If you take anything out of my pocket I will remember your face, find you and kill you.”

The he bursts into gales of laughter.

All I could think of was the quickest way of changing my pants.

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Forced sisterhood?

A million comedians have told a million jokes about the subtle and not so subtle differences between the two sexes.

Men are competitive, aggressive and forthright, while women are sensitive, intuitive and caring.

And for the most part a lot of it is utter nonsense and overblown stereotype.

Who doesn’t know (and love) aggressive members of the fairer sex and how many women adore sensitive men?

The only thing that always makes me, and probably millions of other men, laugh is the idea of sisterhood.

What is it about girl power? How are sisters doing it for themselves? And what does ‘you go girl’ actually mean?

Ironically, It’s all a load of bollocks.

How many women tell their friends they are well dressed but then tell everyone how awful they look when there back is turned?

How many woman mercilessly insult another women and then smile enthusiastically and hug and kiss them when they turn up at their local?

How many women praise each other on their looks, weight and body shape until they get into a particularly nasty argument?

Men too can be cutting and cruel…but too each other’s faces.

Most importantly, we don’t form cliques and pretend to like each other just because we have matching genitalia.

It’s silly to think that all women should get along just because they are women.

Women should take a leaf out of the manual and just admit that they are envious of their better looking rivals, be honest enough to tell each other when they look crap or open enough to tell someone a dickhead when the situation warrants it.

In some respects women really do need to man up.

Neville’s Man Utd career over?

A lot has been made of the strength in-depth of the United squad over the last two of seasons.

But while they have a wealth of attacking options up front they seem light in defence.

With both Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic missing the weekend match with Aston Villa, Gary Neville partnered Johnny Evans at the heart of the defence.

Neville was appalling from start to finish – he was beaten in the air on numerous occasions by the limited John Carew while playing in the centre.

And then when restored to full back he was tormented by the pace of Ashley Young and Gabriel Agbonlahor.

Maybe United should have kept hold of Gerard Pique?

The return of Rio and Vidic can’t come soon enough.

Canny Shearer picks right time to join Newcastle

Alan Shearer has taken up the reins for the last eight games of the season at Newcastle United – and the move is certainly a canny piece of business.

In addition to the reported £1m for the two month spell, and a further £1m if he manges to beat the drop, the Toon legend has certainly timed his arrival right.

I had blogged on his prospects of taking up the helm at St James’s Park in the past and, at the time it was move that would only serve to tarnish hi reputation.

But that has all changed – rather than take the job after Keegan resigned, with the Magpies faithful expecting a comfortable mid-table finish – he inherits a team battling against the drop.

If Newcastle go down – he’ll be a have-a-go hero who inherited the wrong team at the wrong time.

If they beat the drop his messiah status will only rise.

An evening with Walsh and the Beckhams

This week I was lucky enough to be invited for a dose of Wembley corporate hospitality by Royal Bank of Scotland Insurance.

Having never been in one of the boex at Wembley, I was impressed with the surroundings and, of course, made sure I had as much free beer and pies as possible.

Before the game started, someone mentioned that the Beckham’s had a box at Wembley, which happened to be just a couple of boxes down from our own.

Once they game had kicked off Victoria came out of  with the boys and took their sets, which, in part was more exciting than the game itself.

I never thought that seeing famous people would massively excite me – after all they are just like me and you – but happen to be exposed to the glare of the media. 

And for the time being I was relatively calm.

Even when Brooklyn started play-fighting with one of numerous security guards and was disciplined by his Victoria in public I was not overwhelmed by their star status.

However, that was all about to change.

After half-time, out of nowhere, Tommy Walsh came to share I box and I couldn’t contain myslef.

Before, he had even taken his seat I had enthusiastically thrust my hand towards him and introduced myself.

As he sat talking about his journey – I was listening.

As he was regailing the PRs with tales of charity football with David Beckham – I was listening.

When he was telling his young son about his friendship with the guys in Spandau Ballet – I was listnening.

I was so absorbed I didn’t actually see much of the second half and I managed to take a couple of stealth picture of him.

Even though Heat Magazine wasn’t interested in them I didn’t care… I bloody love Ground Force!