The Leader Austria wants. You?

Photo Credit: CNN

The winds of change in the world of 21st Century politics bring with it a younger vibe into the system.

A 39 year old French man married to a woman twice his age becomes president, and New Zealand is buzzing with the news that Jacinda Ardern is poised to become its new prime minister. In Austria, early results suggest that 31 year old Sebastian Kurtz is Austria’s next chancellor and back in 2015 we’d thought Justin Trudeau was young! In retrospect, the world probably has him to thank for the new trend of voting in young leaders. I recall when Trudeau became Prime Minister, we could not believe it. He was 43 years old and was already at the helm of Canada’s affairs. Barack Obama was 48 when he became president in 2009, years younger than George W Bush. Little did we know that his was only the beginning…

I can’t help but route all these developments home.

Nigeria.

On the 26th of July 2017, the Nigerian National Assembly passed into law a bill that proposes 35 as the minimum age for the office of the president. Hottest news of the day without a doubt. It trended on Social Media for days! Now however I , like many other Nigerian, am wondering if we dare hope that 2019 will bring with it Fresh blood. I have seen posters of people and I am googling to know more about them: some I’m impressed by and others have made my heart whisper, ‘ You too?’

Don’t get me wrong, I’m pleased by the show of new faces but I’m also wondering what skills and changes they will bring to the table. A lot of manifestos are hinged on the candidate’s youth. But you see, it is not just youth we need. Even Chinua Achebe explained what is required for a youth to lead in any society. He said and I paraphrase, ‘When a child washes his hands well he can sit and eat with the elders.’

It’s about the manifesto and how much they commit to executing it once they get into power.

According to CNN, Sebastian is offering the people of Austria a crackdown on immigration and they want him for that. I can think of a number of things I want my future Nigerian President to focus on and trust me when I say it will not be a one point agenda!

Over the next few weeks I’ll write about the sort of person I will be casting my vote for. My vote is just one but it is very powerful. Just to be clear: I’m not voting for anyone who is above a certain age- we need fresh blood in our system but those coming in need to bring in the change Nigeria needs. What kind of leader do you want? Do tell!

Interview with Comedian, Simon Taylor

Have you watched a comedy skit or a stand-up performance and wondered why everyone around you was laughing because you did not find any bit of it funny? Well Simon Taylor’s performance is not one of those. His humour cuts across culture, age and geographical location; a firm reason why he is going on a worldwide tour.
He was the host on Australia’s Channel 31’s late night talk show Live on Bowen along with Beat Streets with Simon Taylor. He has written for The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on NBC and Shaun Micallef’s Mad as Hell on the ABC. These along with his stand-up routines have resulted in him wining several industry awards including The Hotel Barkly Comedian of The Year Award and The Imarginarium Comedian of The Year Award. He is currently writing a show for Netflix.
I caught up with Simon for a chat at a Café in New York’s East Village.


Amina: When and how did you get into comedy?

Simon: When I was 8-years-old I was on school camp. There was a talent competition and I wanted be a stand-up comedian. I didn’t get any laughs that night, except for one teacher. That was enough for me to get hooked and want to be a performer. So I blame that teacher for laughing that night and making me believe I could be a comedian.

Amina: Can you remember the first time you performed on stage; what was that like?

Simon: The very first time was when I was 5-years-old and I was doing an Elvis impersonation at school. I think I loved the attention. But eventually I realised I wasn’t a good singer, that’s probably why I moved to comedy.

Amina: And comedy turned out right. I have to say one of my favourite skits-the first I saw of you actually- was that one in which you were looking for a new place to live. I think one of the things I like is the fact that it is fresh material. So how do you come up with your material?

Simon: I just live my life and make mistakes. Usually my comedy comes dumb things I do or from trying too hard to be cool. So as long as I keep making mistakes and being an idiot I should always have material.

Amina: …but would you say being funny is something you are born with or something that can be learnt?

Simon: Some people have a natural aptitude for being funny, but it’s still learned like any other skill. It basically comes from trial and error. If you do something that gets a laugh, you keep doing it. If you don’t get a laugh, well then you’ve learned what’s not funny about you.

Amina: I think that’s a great formula for not just comedy. Note to self, ‘Trial and Error’ is good. Who inspires you the most and in what way?

Simon: The people I really like are the brainy writers. Mindy Kaling, who wrote and starred in The Office, has a brilliant comedy mind. Ali Wong’s last special inspired me a lot, just so many jokes thick and fast. I admire Sarah Silverman as a human being and as a comic who brings her heart on stage. She once drove me home from a show and I feel that she gave me more life advice in that thirty minutes than I’d gotten throughout college.

Amina: What are you most proud of and why?

Simon: Writing for The Tonight Show was a big deal because it’s such a prestigious show. I’m proud of the jokes I wrote for that show, especially because I was so young and didn’t really know what I was doing. But I kept writing until I worked out what was funniest. I wrote thousands and thousands of jokes, so I’m happy with everything I learned while on that show.

Amina: The Tonight Show is huge. I liked it then with Leno and now Jimmy Fallon. What is the most difficult part of being a comedian?

Simon: Being on tour is fun, but I sometimes hate being away from my friends and family. I send them post cards a lot though. Turns out the postal service isn’t very reliable though.

Amina: No. Not always reliable! What are you currently working on?

Simon: I’m about to go on tour around Australia, so fly over if you want to see my set.

Simon’s Encore tour in Australia is a must see so check out the dates:

  • Sydney: November 17, 2017
  • Melbourne: November 18, 2017
  • Adelaide: November 23, 2017

You can follow can follow him @MrSimonTaylor on Twitter for updates on his shows in the US and Other Countries.

Copyright © Amina Maikori. All rights Reserved.