Hamish Blake got fat. And it’s hilarious.
Had he asked me, I wouldn’t have used the word fat to describe him physically. I’d have said padded. Or maybe…. cuddly. But in the first Hamish & Andy podcast of 2011, fat is the adjective Hamish chose for himself. “I’m fat. Let’s deal with this,” he announced before explaining how he’d gained weight for a film role, despite there being no mention of it in the script.
His character Dino, Hamish said, was “a 28 year old emotional sort of bogan” in the film called Two Little Boys, which is set in 1992. And in Hamish’s artistic interpretation? Dino was not a buff guy. “What I’m saying is good actors add layers to their character,” he observed, “and I’ve put about sixty on mine.”
And so it went. I laughed. Out loud. A lot. Is this bad? I certainly wasn’t laughing at fat people. I was laughing at Hamish because he was laughing at himself. Admittedly, I’d laugh if Hamish read an excel spreadsheet but more than just funny, he made it seem like no big deal. Just something that had happened to him. Slightly unfortunate. A bit inconvenient. Like a too-short haircut or sunburn.
Now let’s pretend Hamish was a woman. Called Hameesha (sorry, stay with me). Imagine that while on holidays, Hameesha –also a famous TV and radio personality – packed on some kilos and when she returned to work, her weight was brought up on air. Do you think she’d be having a big laugh about her new size with her comedy partner? Would anyone else? Hell to the no.
Hameesha would be feeling intensely self-conscious and would be mortified if anyone brought up her weight publicly or privately. Her manager would be fielding offers from diet companies and women’s magazines, all throwing money, all gagging for Hameesha to publicly detail her deep unhappiness about her weight, her inner struggles with food and her outer struggles with her bum.
With or without her participation, stories would appear asserting how much she “hates her body” or sarcastically gushing over her “new curves” next to paparazzi shots of her looking as big as possible while swimming or eating ice-cream. If and when Hameesha lost weight, there would be twice as many stories about how much she “loves her new body!”.
And if she didn’t look skinny enough in the ‘after’ picture?
The photo would be altered. With a couple of clicks she’d be stretched to make her look anything up to a foot taller and three sizes smaller. Her thighs, waist, upper arms and bum would be carved into by Dr Photoshop. And her stretch marks, freckles and cellulite would be obliterated by a computer. A few more clicks and hey presto she’d look like a Victoria’s Secret model. Isn’t that BRILLIANT? Aren’t you INSPIRED?