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The corruption survival kit

One of the best things to emerge from the collapse is the general sense of humour around here. It has improved by leaps and bounds since that dreary, dull period circa 2004-2008 when Icelanders groveled at the feet of Mammon.

Spaugstofan – a weekly programme that sends up current events – had all but petered out in 2007. The humour had become tired and bland and everyone thought their days were numbered. There was nothing to make fun of.

Cut to 2009-2010 and they’ve got us in stitches practically every week.

Last nights episode was hilarious. They made endless fun of the RÚV cutbacks [RÚV of course funds their programme] — it was hilarious when the head of RÚV showed up for work on a tricycle [he’s been heavily criticized for the SUV he drove around on the company’s dime, and in the wake of the recent cutbacks announced that he’d be turning it in] and when they spoofed the Thule beer commercials [which of themselves are spoofs] by replacing the “Ísland – bezt í heimi!” with “Ísland – spilltast í heimi!” [Iceland – best in all the world / Iceland – most corrupt in all the world].

The best sketches, though, were when they were spoofing the Black Report. They had the committee members bawling their eyes out when they announced that the report would be delayed [at the actual press conference one of the investigators said that he had often been on the verge of tears about its contents] and I bawled [with laughter] myself when they announced the measures the government was taking in anticipation of the report’s release [sending a package including straitjackets, oxygen masks etc. into every home along with the report].

Seriously, sometimes I don’t know where we’d be if we couldn’t have a good, long laugh about it all.

If you’re interested, you can watch it here [some parts are even in English].

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  • sylvia hikins January 31, 2010, 1:40 pm

    It reminds me Alda of when we too were deep into the free market economy and Thatcherism and some of our best satire was spawned with ‘Spitting Image’. The Queen (who allegedly hated Thatcher) was depicted wearing a headscarf and camouflage jacket selling copies of ‘The Socialist Worker’ from a news stand on Piccadilly Circus! It’s being able to laugh at ourselves that stops us from jumping over Gullfoss. It’s good to know that satire is alive and well in Iceland.
    sylvia from viking wirral

  • Peter Reeves January 31, 2010, 3:09 pm

    Zola hits out at Gudjohnsen for West Ham snub
    13:07 31/01/10

    WEST HAM will hit Tottenham with a £5,000 bill as the war over Eidur Gudjohnsen rages on.

    The furious Hammers want their money back for putting up the 31-year-old Icelandic striker in a plush London hotel and paying for a medical before he snubbed them for a last-minute move to Spurs.

    Boss Gianfranco Zola was fuming at his his former Chelsea team-mate. He stormed: “People keep telling me that football is like this now, but what can I say? When you are dealing with people, you always expect to be treated in a certain way – with respect. We invested a lot of time in trying to bring him here, so to discover he was not coming after all left me feeling twisted and bitter.

  • icelandbob January 31, 2010, 3:24 pm

    Have to agree that Spaugstofa is a lot funnier now. Saw it last night and even my terminally cynical 20-y.o. nephew who never laughs chuckled thoughout. The pisstake of those Thule ads was brilliant

    @Sylvia Hikins
    I would say that the UK equivalent of whats happened to Spaugstofan would be with Rory Bremner. He was becoming aimless and irrelevant…. and then Tony Blair came on the scene. Rory ended up producing some of the best Satire of the past decade

  • elín January 31, 2010, 4:47 pm

    I love it when they have fun with Óli and Dorrit! Just finished up Sunday morning habit of watching last night’s Spaugstofan and today’s Silfur Egils online. I’m thinking there must be some buzz about Max Keiser’s appearance …

  • Joerg January 31, 2010, 4:52 pm

    I’m quite often watching Spaugstofan and not least thanks to your blog I manage to catch some of the jokes even with little understanding of Icelandic.

    I wonder, if this kind of satire does even have a direct impact on politics, sometimes. The veto of the President to the Icesave bill and his recent ingratiations appear like an immediate reaction to last year’s Áramótaskaup, where he had been portrayed as the lapdog of the Útrásarvíkingar. His craving for sympathy and attention seems to outweigh everything else.

    Btw., the Áramótaskaup had a wonderful last contribution with an optimistic ending.

  • Sólveig January 31, 2010, 11:01 pm

    I loled pretty hard at the survival kit – especially how you should put the straight-jacket on yourself before helping any children around. And the emergency exits… LOL.