IN STUPIDITY WATCH / ON SEPTEMBER 8, 2013 AT 12:07 AM /
Ben Delicious reports from Athens: Who needs satire when we have politicians saying hilarious things all of the time?
This time it was the turn of Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, who did a great stand-up routine yesterday, cracking jokes about the nation’s economy. He chose a great place to perform, a trade fair in Thessaloniki where a mass demonstration took place last week against the government’s policy of austerity, opening his act by calling Greece an ‘island of stability’ in the ever unstable region. (Greece an island? That was a good one, Antonis.) The audience responded with loud laughter, and who can blame them?
Mr Samaras, who uses his own name for his stage acts, then performed a funny sketch about everyone now talking excitedly about the Greek recovery, Grecovery, when only a few weeks ago they were talking about Greece getting kicked out of the Eurozone, Grexit. Who were these people who were saying these hilarious things, Mr Samaras preferred not to say, not to spoil the flow of jokes and witty observations.
The Greek PM, who managed to keep a straight face during his act, which made the whole thing sound even funnier, told a great joke about foreign investors falling over each other in the rush to pump some money into the mighty Greek economy, encouraged by the 6.4 per cent contraction last year and a very promising minus growth of 4.2 per cent expected this year. And if that wasn’t a sure sign of recovery then it was difficult to find anyone in the room who would have had a different view, including the four thousand cops guarding the hall where Mr Samaras was performing that day.
The climax of the routine came when PM Samaras told the audience that Greece would achieve a budget surplus in 2013, but if you discount the payments to cover the interest on the debt owed to big banks and internationals institutions. And that really got the people in the hall going, because Greece owes so much to others that any budget surplus would be nothing compared to the pay-out to service the loans.
Feeling that his jokes go down well with the people in the hall, Mr Samaras turned on the humour even more, saying that Greece has done its part in reducing its budget deficit so it was now up to the creditors to make concession and ease the debt burden. That was so funny that some people started to applaud hysterically and some needed to be hosed down, to get their senses together. One man was carried out as he couldn’t stop laughing.
Ending his routine with a brilliant sketch, Mr Samaras said, face all serious, that several years of austerity can’t overshadow thousands of years of glorious history. And the audience burst out with laughter and applauded the great comedian off the stage, because they knew he was taking the p..s.
It is expected that PM Samaras will take his act on the road now and will be performing in other Greek cities, and possibly have gigs in Brussels and Berlin, where he will me arguing for an additional bail-out for Greece, on top of the 240 billion euros that it has already received from the EU and the IMF. And if things go well for Greece, it might get another 100 billion euros and have minus growth of 3 per cent easily.