When Harry Met Sally – the writing is flawless. Or any of the Hallmark Christmas movies, all unintentionally hilarious. Usual plot: stressed city slicker has to save Christmas by finding true love before the stroke of midnight.
The funniest person I know …
My mum, albeit inadvertently. She’s always saying things like: “Oh, such terrible traffic today … town came to a complete handstand.”
The funniest item of clothing I’ve ever owned …
I used to get my much older brothers’ hand-me-downs, which meant I wore flares in the 90s. I once found a coin in my pocket that was no longer legal tender.
The funniest heckle I’ve ever had …
I once got hit on the head with a vol-au-vent. Far more powerful than any words.
The funniest meal I’ve ever eaten …
Any meal out involving my dad featured some crazy attempt to cut costs. We once went to an Indian restaurant and to save money we had microwaved poppadoms at home beforehand.
The funniest hairstyle I’ve ever had …
Up until three months ago I’d have said when I had “go-faster stripes” shaved into the side of my head, aged 18. But then lockdown started …
The funniest dream I’ve ever had …
About a year ago, I dreamed Romesh Ranganthan was picked out of the crowd to play for Arsenal. And he was rubbish. The main detail I remember is that he was in smart work shoes.
ReincarNathan series two starts Thursday 9 July, 6.30pm, Radio 4, and on BBC Sounds
That’s what irreverent and satirical comedian Hannibal Buress brings to the stage.
Nowhere was this comedic aesthetic more on display than at one of Buress’ favorite Northeast Ohioappearances. His memory of the 2013 show at the Grog Shop in Cleveland Heights remains as vivid as ever.
“At the time, I was doing my song ‘Gibberish Rap,’” said Buress, calling from the Chicago. “I was really into the production of it, so we hired a lot of local costumed characters in each city. In Cleveland, we got this Incredible Hulk who was really dancing. I think we also had a Mario.
“(Lorain-based comedian) Ramon (Rivas II) had a couple of friends agree to come on stage and do balloon animals. It was chaos. That was a fun one. I had a great time.”
Getting his start nearly 20 years ago, the Windy City-based comedian’s resume includes brief stints writing for “Saturday Night Live” and “30 Rock.” He also appeared in the hilarious “The Eric Andre Show” and feature film “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” as well as made the late-night talk show rounds.
That turned out to be just fine because the timing of his most recent special “Miami Nights,” which debuted on YouTube this summer, couldn’t have been any more apropos considering the current climate in the country.
The centerpiece of the special is his unlawful 2017 arrest in Miami.
“There are some people in those positions, police officers, who aren’t really emotionally suited to be in the spot — including this guy that I interacted with,” Buress said. “With everything that’s happening, it forces them to really look within at how people are being evaluated when they go into those positions, because it’s a very important position. You want folks who are stable.
“The thing with [the police officer who arrested him] is he had been disciplined. He had off-duty incidents where he ran from the police. He was a fugitive, and I got arrested by him somehow. It’ll take some time for things to fix themselves, but there’s a lot of work being done and there’s a lot of work to do.”
Speaking of work, Buress remains as busy as possible during the pandemic. Not only did he recently release the first episode of his new gambling-centered podcast, “Splitting 10s,” but he’s also looking to get back on the road.
Buress’ “Let’s See How This Goes” drive-in theater tour kicks off in Northeast Ohio with a gig Sept. 22 at North Ridgeville’s Auto-O-Rama Twin Drive In.
Mind you, Buress admitted it’s been decades since the last time he visited a drive-in theater, but everyone has to get a bit out of his or her comfort zone these days.
“I saw that Marc Rebillet and Bert Kreischer did a drive-in theater tour, so I decided to try it out,” Buress said. “It’s something new. Some comedy clubs are open, but you’re not really able to do full capacity. The drive-in-show experience is still something that’s kind of fresh, so I think it’ll be dope for people.”
While fans attending the show can expect new material, there’s one fresh topic he won’t be talking about. Buress said he doesn’t have any COVID-19 material.
“Hell, no,” Buress laughed. “Nope. No pandemic jokes. People don’t want to hear that.”
Are gig workers — think Uber drivers or Door Dashers — seeking to trade their flexible occupations for a full-time, 40-hour-week job?
Two recent surveys suggest they’re not interested. A survey of 1,000 on-demand drivers, commissioned by Uber and conducted by a duo of polling firms representing clients on the political left and right, finds that 85 percent prefer some version of their current flexible arrangement. Another survey — this one of 1,000 independent contractors, and commissioned by Lyft — concluded that 71 percent want to retain their current status.
Both surveys suggest that workers are happy with their “gig.” Don’t tell that to labor unions and their allies. To bolster their opposition to Proposition 22 — an initiative on the fall ballot that would solidify on-demand drivers’ and shoppers’ status — labor has pointed to a handful of comforting studies suggesting that gig workers are exploited.
The first, released through a San Francisco city commission, claimed that most gig workers work full-time schedules and earn poverty-level wages while doing so. But records requests, reported by the Washington Free Beacon, discovered that this conclusion was based on a convenience survey of respondents identified by a labor group–many of whom were paid for their answers. The study organizer acknowledged that the survey–which was drafted to “support organizing” — was “not representative” of gig workers’ experiences.
Speaking of unrepresentative: Labor and its allies have also hinged their case on a 2019 working paper from Veena Dubal, a law professor at the University of California-Hastings. In her paper, Dubal dismisses the numerous statistical surveys showing that on-demand drivers don’t want to be employees. Her own conclusions are based on “unstructured conversations with drivers in driver organizing meetings” — among other unrepresentative sources.
Got that? Having sought out the unhappy few among the on-demand shopper and driver community, Dubal concludes that all drivers in the state must feel similarly.
This anti-empirical stance by labor and its academic allies, and their unwillingness to acknowledge that shoppers and drivers prefer their “gigs,” has dangerous consequences. In a recent legal brief, rideshare company Uber described in damning detail what would happen should it be forced to convert its independent drivers into full-time employees.
An estimated 75 percent of current drivers would lose access to the Uber employment model–resulting in one million lost employment opportunities. (The legal brief notes that these facts are undisputed by the company’s opponents.) Prices would increase for riders by anywhere from 20 to 120 percent; the company further explains that “at least a quarter of rides would no longer be available, with certain cities experiencing a decrease of 40-60 percent.”
The stories behind these statistics are heartbreaking. The Uber brief recites the story of one driver who uses the app to support her two children. One of her children has special needs, which means she can’t work a traditional schedule. If Uber in its current form was no longer available, she wouldn’t be able to support herself.
Another driver is the caregiver for her ailing husband and uses the on-demand app to earn extra income. Yet another has a wife in poor health and couldn’t work a 40-hour-per-week job even if he wanted to. The brief cites several other stories, noting that hundreds of thousands of other drivers have their own personal reasons for working in the gig economy.
The data are clear: For gig workers, flexibility is a perk of the job, not a bug. California legislators, and their constituents, should base their decisions about the future of the gig economy based on robust surveys that reflect this opinion — rather than flawed reports that tell their funders what they want to hear.
Jeff Joseph is a professor at the George Washington University School of Business
Hiring managers already have a much more complex choice than in the past. It’s not just whether to hire a traditional employee to get a job done — the procurement supply chain is much larger. Today’s choices include using a staffing agency temp, engaging an independent contractor, calling in an SOW consultant or turning to an online work platform. And technology continues to bring changes — with Covid-19 speeding up the evolution.
“I would argue that times of crisis and times of change, like we are in today, will help propel the next stage of digital transformation,” SIA President Barry Asin said in a keynote speech Thursday kicking off the Collaboration in the Gig Economy virtual conference.
Asin cited technological change wrought by the last recession: In 2007, only 24% of large companies had a VMS in place at its start in 2007; by 2020, the percentage had grown to 64%.
Fast forward to today — there was $1 billion in venture capital funding focused on the HR tech space in the second quarter alone.
Large companies that use staffing are more and more turning to tech. SIA data found 43% of large staffing buyers foresee an increase in usage of online staffing/talent pool in the next 10 years. Evolving concepts such as direct sourcing are already used by 30% of buyers, and 49% plan to put a direct-sourcing program in place within the next two years; much of it fueled by new tech offerings.
“I think that what we’re seeing — particularly for the traditional service providers in the talent supply chain — is a real digital transformation, and the current crisis is accelerating that digital transformation,” Asin said. “And it’s accelerating it for all the players involved at the different points of that supply chain.”
Already, 54 million Americans did gig work in 2019, approximately 34% of workforce, according to SIA data. That amounts to $1.3 trillion in spend with the largest share going to independent contractors. SIA defines the gig economy as including all types of contingent work, including
staffing agency temporary workers
directly hired temporaries
online platform workers
The Collaboration in the Gig Economy Conference brings together all parts of the ecosystem to talk the latest trends and advances. Attendees include enterprise buyers, staffing suppliers, VMS/MSP companies, human cloud/on demand platforms and technology solutions providers.
“There is a wave and a transformational change that we are seeing in society,” Asin said. “Many of you are on the leading edge of that change.”