No one on deserves this more


The time has come to celebrate a genuine winner. No, no; nothing to do with sport this time, but rather the long-awaited unveiling of our annual TV Christmas Crackpot of the Year Award, a prestigious honour previously won by such luminaries as TV One weatherman Brendan Horan and Sensing Murder psychic Deb Webber.

Yes, that’s right, it’s time to acknowledge the folk who, if nothing else, created such comedy and farce on their watch that any serious intent was quickly forgotten, leaving international audiences dumbfounded, their countrymen laughing, and their extended families heading for the Deed Poll office.

I know, New Zealanders have seen their fair share of odd-bods over the years but when it comes to the Christmas Crackpot Award, our annual chance to identify the year’s looniest television tune, 2009 has thrown up a number of quality contenders.

So much so, that I can now reveal that Webber was unable to defend her title, despite making huge strides on the field during the Aisling Symes’ tragedy, when she was effectively used by TV One as an advertising chattel. In fact she didn’t even make the final two.

Well ahead of Webber in the Laughing Stocks Stakes was Laurie Clarke, producer of TV2’s Target series, and in particular, the man responsible for the episode in which a Ponsonby cafe was incorrectly accused of serving contaminated food. He later admitted the test samples had been confused, and that there was no basis for the claims.

Clarke’s nuttiest call? It came in the immediate aftermath as the cafe owners were desperately trying to survive the libel, when he explained that the individual responsible for making the error had been sacked, therefore all was well again. In any other year Clarke would’ve been a runaway winner.

There were also some well-credentialed cameos, although none was able to carry the day. Act MP and former Sensible Sentencing Trust lawyer David Garrett deserves a special mention for a stellar performance on Q+A, in which he enhanced a reputation for telling some of the truth, and for apologising for previous apologies.

But there can only be one winner and such was his performance day-in, day-out, that Remote expects few complaints over the final choice. Seldom, in the field of making inappropriate comment and tarnishing a nation’s international credibility, has one man stood out so clearly above all others.

His credentials? For starters, a sexist if not misogynistic attitude towards all things female. Teenaged mothers were slappers, Greenpeace spokeswoman Stephanie Mills was “a lady with a moustache”, Britain’s Got Talent star Susan Boyle was “retarded”. He wasn’t even above giggling at “boobs”.

Our 2009 Christmas Crackpot once spoke of his belief that all student flatters were P-smokers, called for Wellington’s street people to be jailed and for obese children to be taken off their parents. He didn’t like public transport apparently, because he had to sit where other people’s bums had been.

In short, there could have been no other winner. Paul Henry, take a bow. You are a true legend.