Billy T James on Horis, Coconuts, Chinks, Wogs, Niggers, and Poms.

Transcript from Billy T Live at ‘Pips’, (Whangarei) recording, 1985

Hey, thank you very much ladies and gentlemen. Good evening and welcome here to Pips. Good evening! {audience: Good evening!} Hey, okay. Kia ora! {Kia ora!} Oh, we got some of those here tonight, eh? Talofa. Have we got any of those? No, they haven’t come this far north yet. You give them another 7 months, boy, and they’ll all be up here. Lookout. They’re on TV now, They’ll get in anywhere.

Hey listen, before I go any further, and I got to tell you … and I got to say this every time because I’ve been told by the management because we’ve got so many different, like, ethnic groups in, I’m not allowed to do ethnic jokes, anything insulting or slanderous about any ethnic minority groups.

In fact, he made me take upon myself the American Pledge of Allegiance which says and I quote; I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and the Republic for which it stands and when it is one nation under God with freedom and justice for everyone; including Horis, Coconuts, Chinks, Wogs, Niggers, Poms and [???].

We are not allowed to do any of those ethnic jokes Okay? Because normally, eh, normally what I do, I do all the Maori gags first and then I can pick on anybody I like after that, right. But tonight, seeing we’ve got a few cuzzie bros out there, I’m going to get straight into everyone else, boy.

Yeah, like the Poms. We’ve got any Poms here? {Yes.} Hang on, leave the Poms alone. They’re okay. I tell you what, if it wasn’t for the Poms you’d be the same colour as me, mate. So leave them alone, okay? That’s right. You won’t like that. You can’t get the bloody flat or anything, you know. I mean you’ve got to admire the Poms right? I mean they’ll fight for their country. They’ll defend their country. The trouble is that they won’t bloody live in it.

You know what I’m saying? Yeah. Still, what about … no shut up, listen … what about Aussies. We’ve got any horse scratchers tonight? {Yeah! No! No! Yeah!} I remember this first time I flew into Sydney. Looked down, saw the opera house; looked like five nuns in a scrum sticking up there. And I’m not sure … no, no, hang on, shut up … I’m not sure if it’s the Irish in the Australians but in George St in Sydney they’ve got a building called Australia Square and it’s a round building. Yeah, eh. Kings Cross? – it’s full of bloody queens. Admittedly, most of them are New Zealand queens, but you know.

I went into this place … Jeez, you’ll laugh … not a lot … but I went into this place right and it was one of those gay bars, not that I go into gay … I just went into there for a jack, right? … When I mean a jack, I mean a look, right. I don’t mean … no, shut up … no, behave … I mean, this place was incredible, right? They had 15 guys for every guy, right. So I walked into there I said … no shut up, listen … I said to the waiter, “Giz a double” and he brought out a fellah who looked just like me. I said, “Get out of here, eh? I’m no bloody shirt lifter, boy.” Yeah.

Hey, listen, have you all had a feed? A kai, have you? I went downtown … we went to this, um, Chinese place, I think it was a Chinese weight watchers restaurant. It was called Wow Fat … nah, nah … Did you .. you’ve got to watch these places, eh. These Chinese guys, I mean, first of all they’re loaded, right, and they get cheap labour out from Hong Kong, on the $10 immigrant plan, right, and they give them a crash course in English and they send them out to the tables.

Well, we struck one of these turkeys this night. We’re standing in the middle of the foyer, staring at the dragons on the roof (yawn). This guy comes up and he said, “What you want?!” I said, “What?” He said, “What you want?!” I felt like saying, “What you got?!” I thought nah, I better not. They do all that – Bom! Bom! Bom! Dit! Dit! Ohhh, there’s no need for that, man. So, so I said … be cool, race relations conciliator, you know, be cool … so I said, “I don’t know, give us, um, steak and chips.”

He said, “Steak and shit!” “No,” I said, “Steak and chips.” “Yeah, steak and shit!” I said, “All right, I’ll have chicken and chips, then.” “Oh, you want shicken and shit now.”

I said, “Listen,” I said, “What sort of soup … what sort of soup you got?” He said, “Soup! Wait a minute … we got, ah … bok, bok, bok, bok, bok.” I said, “What’s that, chicken?” He said, “No, mushroom.” I said, “Why did you make a noise like a chicken for?” He said, “I can’t make a noise like a mushroom.” Checky hua, eh?

I said, “Just bring the soup, will you?” So he brings the soup out, right, and he’s got his bloody thumb stuck in the soup, see. I said, “You’ve got your thumb in my soup.” He said, “I got rheumatism and the doctor tell me I got to put it in something warm.” Ha, ha, ha … I said, “Oh yeah … ha, ha … why don’t you stick it up your arse?” Ha, ha. He said, “Yeah, I do – when I’m in the kitchen.”

Eh, haw, haw, haw, that’s why you’ve got to watch them, boy, yeah. When was the elections, right? Did you all vote, did you all have a vote in the election and that? Do you reckon the right fellahs sort of got in office and that? Do you reckon? {Yeah. No.} I wanted to check that out because I didn’t voted. Didn’t you? No. Why not? I wasn’t even on the bloody roll, I tell you, I tell you why I didn’t go on it. It was a form of protest really, eh, because that is when a lot of you guys got a new name – CAUCASIANS. Right? Because that’s what it had on the electoral roll form. Right across the top it’s got CAUCASIANS and underneath that it’s got OTHER PEOPLE. That was us!! OTHER PEOPLE!!!

And what we’ve got to do, we’ve got to work out what percentage of us is CAUCASIAN and what percentage of us is OTHER PEOPLE. Which is difficult for me because I’m part Scottish, part Maori. Half of me wants to get drunk. The other half doesn’t want to pay for it. I mean it’s difficult boy. It is. Right. It’s the case for a lot of us, yeah. What I like doing, eh, what I like doing is comparing the way CAUCASIANS handle things, as opposed to way OTHER PEOPLE handle things.

I find a lot of the kids … I find the Maori kids much more enterprising. A caucasian kid will come up to me and say, “G’day Billy, can I have your autograph?” I’ll go, “Yeah, man” scribble, scribble. A Maori kid will come up and say, “G’day Billy, giz us two dollars.” And he’ll wait for it! And then he’ll go, “Oh, can you give me it in 20 cent pieces?” What a waste, right, yeah. Jeez.

I know one kid came up to me down here and he said, “D’you wanna buy a car, Billy? Ho ho he he.” I thought he was being smart, you know. And he said, “No it’s cheap, it’s a Valliant, man.” I said, “Yeah, what’s wrong with it?” He said, “Oh, it’s got a bit of water in the carb.” I said, “Where is it?” He said, “In the harbour.” Eh? Yeah?

Kids are a lot more mature now that what we were at say age … well, when I was at say age 10. I mean, but it was hard in those days too. I mean, I come from a big family, right. I mean, we got what 12 … um um … 17 in our family, right. I mean, we put our mother up on a pedastal, eh. We had to, to keep the old man away from her, you know. No, no, it was hard, eh. It was hard, it was hard, boy. Bloody hard.

Our mother, our mother used to get all our clothes from a war surplus supply store. I mean it was really hard for a 10 year old kid going to school dressed as a Japanese admiral. It was.

2 thoughts on “Billy T James on Horis, Coconuts, Chinks, Wogs, Niggers, and Poms.

  1. There ya go, John Hatfield! Shove that up your race-baiting arse.

    One of the best-ever moments of New Zealand television was Billy T’s comeback special, when he and Howard Morrison read ‘Te News’. The look on Howard’s face when he read an item about the Governor General, Dame Titewhai Harawira, was absolute comedy gold.


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