Moving from the UK to NZ is the entertainer's equivalent to being put out to pasture, I would think. That's what Michael Barrymore has done. We know this because today he couldn't stop telling us. He was the Master of Ceremonies at Thrive Auckland.
When Barrymore wasn't banging on and on and ON about himself - making constant references to the scandal and times that forced him from his motherland to start over, he was being crude, condescending and at times, completely unintelligible - in fact, for a man who has been sober over two years he sure was slurring a lot by the end. And what an ending - I didn't leave Thrive enthused or uplifted or motivated - I left it drained, embarrassed and slightly depressed thanks to New Zealand's newest, and possibly worst Master of Ceremonies. (sorry Chic Littlewood, but your reign couldn't last forever - Willie McNab's past-it anyway)
There were highlights though, and they were basically seperated into two groups: those who could handle Barrymore's weirdness, and those who could not. I won't worry about those who could not (though Mayor John Banks actually put the lecturn between himself and Barrymore when the MC left the couch in a mock-menacing and moved towards the Mayor of Auckland City when he had called him "Mr Connelly")
Award for Best Presentation of the Day: Murray Thom. Inspirational, sensible, humourous with all his money where his mouth is. He told us all that opportunities are small and whisper to you so you have to be ever vigilent for them. He also said the one thing today I felt the need to write down: "There's nothing wrong with it versus there's everything right with it"
Award for Most Adorable Presenter of the Day: Bob Jones is always irreverent, sharp, hilarious and forgetful - well not always forgetful, but it seemed today whilst answering a viagra question from Mr Barrymore, that he was in fact sitting in front of 2000 guests. He told us the secret of his success: Think. He said we have to think more, read more and stop wasting time. He also told the story of the day his affection for "coloured" girls started.
Award for Funniest Accountant: John Shewan was hilarious. It's a real shame that his voice doesn't have a touch more volume and a tad more modulation because what he says is important, interesting, and at times very funny.
Award for Best Accompanying Media for Presentation: Geoff Ross, Chief Vodka Bloke, 42 Below. He said very interesting stuff about marketing, too. Anyone who makes vodka has to be a good bloke, and he's smart too.
Award for Weirdest Thing: James purchased the tickets so we could sit together. The seats we were allocated where the *exact* two that Greg and I had for the Billy Connelly concert the other month. Spooky? I think so.
I went to sleep twice this afteroon: first listening to the "inspirational stylings" of some joker in a hat-and-bare-feet, then with Thrive's big drawcard. James admitted dozing off during those too - they were just such personality-free-zones!
The food was pretty good, there was free tubs of Movenpick ice cream. Lots of suits and an overwhelming pakeha/european presence.