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Chestnuts 2003


by Kenneth Lyen

I've been watching every single episode of Chestnuts ever since Jonathan twisted my arm to watch circa AD 1900.

And I can honestly say that with each year, it hurts me more and more to watch. I'm sorry, but that's the honest truth. With each passing year, it forces me to laugh longer and louder ... until my stomach really hurts. Not to mention the pharyngitis I get from all that raucous laughter. I suggest that you provide free Tiger Balm to rub on our stomachs during the show. "Lower down, please!" And some Lucozade for the throat (does Lucozade still exist?). "Deeper, please!"

It's a show whose production values are improving annually. The props look more authentic, the costumes come from a higher class of costumier, the arrangement is improving (you get more Bang for your bucks... sorry Wenfu, but I've been waiting for a decade to make this joke!). And with improved sound, I can almost hear some of the jokes... which is a pity since it stops me from sleeping through the show.

Set design is minimalistic (ie non-existent), and I hope next year we'll have a set design to match Les Miz or Phantom. I guess with such bad economic climes, you are forced to limit yourself to a total cast size of two.

I particularly like the Empress Dowager with her long fingernails. But I didn't think the real Empress Dowager looked quite so beautiful as the joker who played her (who was she?). Nevertheless the whole Forbidden City series is outstanding. Pity Dick and Kit didn't show up to applaud.

Even Eric Khoo and Royston Tan seemed to appreciate 15 Homeruns. Hey, where was the other Neo (Jack)?

I also like the interview with the guest artist. Where did you get such sexy bananas? ... I mean the fruit. The Matrix and Lord of the Rings segments are classic examples of how to blender apples and oranges. You really get your money's worth as you can watch two blockbusters for the price of one. What great chemistry Sean and Jonathan have! They catalyse each other causing a chain reaction, and the resulting explosive laughter nearly brought down the house.

As usual, Chestnuts assaults our senses with jokes that take us right to the cutting edge of respectability and goodness, then they chop off our sense of decency and propriety.

The skit on censorship is particularly clear in explaining the different ratings. You should video it and send it to the Censorship Board, so that they can better rate future films. Of course I'm offended that such an innocent and educational show as Chestnuts should attract an R(A) rating. Have our dear Censors no sense of values... or art... or humour?

I would recommend Chestnuts to be an O'level text for the not too distant future. Excuse me, I never joke about such serious matters. There's a great earning potential here. You can create a syllabus, write textbooks, set exam questions and supply model answers. This would give our educational system a much needed boost. Singapore's creativity index would shoot right out of the measurable scales. And we can export Chestnuts as a subject for all nations to study and pirate. Chestnuts can be a brand name to rival McDonald's. It can boast that it is free from mad cows and mad comedians. Okay, I can't vouch for the comedians... but I am confident that there are no mad cows... oh sorry madam!

I am looking forward to next year's Chestnuts. And yes Jonathan, do please twist my arm... again... ooh... oooh... oooowwww... more... more please! That was good!!!

PS Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

26 December 2003