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Personal Trade Week: Swap your house, your job, your life…


What wouldn’t you trade for an Atari 2600? It’s got wood in it. Like every video console should.

If you could make any trade, what would it be?

The AFL Trade Period is over for another year, but far more interesting would be if this concept was trialled out in the big wide world.

(Note: For the non-AFL crowd, the AFL Trade Period occurs at the end of the season and is, as it sounds, a period when players from different clubs are traded for other players or picks in the National Draft.)

Initially, I thought of my stuff that still has some value, but I don’t need anymore.

Assorted furniture, an Atari 2600, Get Smart VHS collection, He-Man bedsheets, Choose Your Own Adventure books, and my mechanical engineering degree.

The problem is, nobody wants any of that stuff. If you don’t believe me, put it on eBay for a $1 and see what happens. You’d be lucky to get a dollar for it.

AFL clubs quickly found out the same thing. The players they didn’t want, even though they might have still had some value, nobody else wanted them either.

Unwanted players are delisted, then they disappear off to the lower leagues. For the furniture and the rest of my stuff, the lower leagues are known as the “nature strip” on “hard rubbish day”.

As if I’d ever throw out my awesome stuff. I’m keeping it all, one day it’ll be worth thousands. Apart from the furniture and my engineering degree.

Options abound if we consider trades on a personal level.

For all those gifts and mementos of a relationship that have value, but you can’t bear to keep or use once it’s over? Selling them seems a bit harsh, and you never get close to their true value, so there should be a monthly swap meet strictly for unwanted romantic gifts. On a side note, anyone want a barely used Pandora Bracelet? Email me.

Pandora Braclet

In French, the word ‘Pandora’ means ‘overpriced bogan crap’.

We could also have websites for trading unwanted Xmas presents, pets and relatives. It’s not okay to sell people, that’s slavery, but swapping them has to be legal. Otherwise, how is the AFL Trade Period even allowed to exist?

Emotion swap is one concept that wouldn’t work. It’d just be a whole lot of sad people, waiting for the happy people to show up, while the jealous people would be so possessive they wouldn’t even trade it away, and despite all the enthusiastic people in attendance, the lazy people they’d be hoping to trade with would never leave the house.

Job trade week would be a winner. It’d stop people being stuck in jobs that they hate, and you’d avoid all that horrible interviewing rubbish, where employers have to sort through all the long-term unemployable.

Relationship-swap would solve a similar problem and it would mean nobody would have to deal with the disappointment of online dating, drunken nightclub mistakes and spending any time alone.

As would house swap, which has the added bonus of avoiding the extortionate fees charged by real estate agents.

Real Estate Agents

These are Real Estate Agents. Easily identified by their lack of souls.

Oh and it’d be a rule that everyone involved in a trade would have to agree to it first, just like in the AFL. However that’s not much of a choice, as once you’re told you’re being offered up for trade, there are very few people who’d want to hang around.

The main reason none of this will work is the same reason why so few trades are done in the AFL. People are greedy, and are so intent on holding out for the best possible deal that they miss out entirely.

So at the end of the AFL trade period, there’s always a flurry of deals as clubs settle for the best they’re going to get.

Fortunately, there’s no such trade deadline for jobs, relationships and houses.

The down side of this is that too many of us stick with what we’ve got, too scared to risk it for something better because it might just turn out worse.


Listen to me chatting about this during a recent RadioNational interview.

This article first appeared on The Big Smoke:


Xavier Toby is a writer and comedian

Follow me on Twitter: @xaviertoby

Like me on Facebook: www.facebook.com/xaviertoby

Buy my first book (read a bit for free):


For speaking engagements, comedy performances, writing assignments and all other enquires: me@xaviertoby.com


Pay-per-laugh comedy clubs will have spread around the world by 2016

Pay Per Laugh Graphic

See? It’s a real thing. It really is a real thing. Eek.

Spain’s comedy clubs are in such dire straits that they’re now charging patrons per laugh…

Dating websites charge you for each match, online advertisers pay-per-click, and we pay-per-drop for petrol…and LSD.

Very soon, I imagine, we’ll be paying-per-view for YouTube cat videos, per-perve for porn and every time we want to get our own money out of our very own bank accounts, we’ll be paying for that too.

What an outrage!

It’d be far easier if we went back to paying for everything in liquor, which was the first official currency of Australia. Until we drank it all.

We’re turning into a user-pays society…so why not have a comedy club where you pay-per-laugh?

That’s exactly what’s happened at the Teatreneu Club in Barcelona, Spain.

(As opposed to Barcelona, Venezuela, or Barcelona Way on the Gold Coast, Queensland.)

Anyway, facial recognition software has been built into tablet computers attached to the back of each chair and it notes each time a person laughs during a show.

There’s no mention, unfortunately, of how a person is charged if they’ve already got a funny looking face.

Apparently, each laugh costs you around 40 cents and patrons can only be billed a maximum of $30 for the evening.

This is all the Spanish government’s fault. They increased the taxes on theatrical shows from 8 to 21 percent back in 2012, so the clubs had to do something.

Now, I often don’t make predictions in these articles, but watch this:

“Pay-per-laugh comedy clubs will have spread around the world by 2016.”

I put it in quote marks, because you can quote me on that.

Comedy clubs around the world are struggling big time.

Thanks to YouTube, television comedy specials and even comedy festivals, fewer and fewer people are actually going to comedy clubs.

People also used to think “comedy” meant “funny”.

However, thanks to shows like The Big Bang Theory, Two and Half Men and any Adam Sandler movie made after the year 2000, many people now think “comedy” means “extremely unfunny”.

So I work as a comedian and I can tell you that many comedy clubs in Australia, the UK and USA fill their rooms by charging nearly nothing, or nothing at all.

People just aren’t as willing to pay to go to comedy clubs anymore.

This concept has shown that they are willing to pay, however, if they laugh.

Here’s the big problem with this concept.

Ask anyone why they go to a comedy show. It’s not for the overpriced drinks or the ease of parking. It’s to laugh.

This concept encourages people to not do the thing that they’ve gone to that specific place to specifically do.

That’s like a bar that doesn’t want you to drink, a racetrack that won’t take your bets, or a reality TV star that won’t do absolutely everything they’re told in front of the camera.

Or a peep show that’s run out of tissues.

If I was performing at a pay-per-laugh club, I’d never want to go on first. Put me on after most in the audience have reached their maximum laugh quota, so they aren’t holding back.

Actually, if I was being paid to perform, I’d go on wherever I was told to. It’s a paying gig, and I’m not an idiot.

The number one rule in comedy is not to make people think, entertain them, or have them question their political leanings. If you can do those things, as a comedian, that’s fantastic.

However, before you do anything else, you need to make them laugh.

A comedy club that encourages people NOT to do that is just really dumb.

There’s also the problem of comedians forgoing any of the aforementioned lofty goals, because they’re forced to wring out as many laughs as possible.

Thus reducing any possibility that comedy ever had of becoming an artform to zero…and making it entertainment solely for the lowest common denominator.

But whatevs.

Apparently laughter is contagious and cliches are never wrong, so maybe it will work.

Also, it’ll mean all the seats at this comedy thingy will have iPads in them.

People love iPads.

This article first appeared on The Big Smoke:


Xavier Toby is a writer and comedian

Follow me on Twitter: @xaviertoby

Like me on Facebook: www.facebook.com/xaviertoby

Buy my first book (read a bit for free):


For speaking engagements, comedy performances, writing assignments and all other enquires: me@xaviertoby.com


Having a tongue for detail


Apparently at the moment, this is what’s big in Japan. Yep, eyeball licking.

Out of Bosnia comes the story of a tongue with a twist.

A grandmother, Hava Cebic, is claiming that she can cure people by licking their eyeballs. The story appeared in the Daily Mail.

Of course.

She can’t, but she says she can, and plenty of people believe her.

So how did she discover that she had this talent? How many things did she lick before she found it that it was specifically only eyeballs she could cure? And how much damage did she cause along the way?

“Alright kids, we’re going to Grandma’s!” says Mum.
“Come on kids, get in the car,” says Dad.
The parents look around the house. The kids are gone.
“They’ve run away again,” says Mum.
“I don’t blame them,” says Dad. “Tell me again why we just can’t get her a cat to lick?”
“We tried that. She licked the poor thing to death.”

Apparently Hava Cebic discovered she had this talent as a little girl when she pinned down her brother and licked his eyeball after he complained of dry eyes. Lucky the kid didn’t complain of a sore bum.

Mrs Cebic can supposedly help with dry eyes, allergies, conjunctivitis and high eye pressure. Which is just like high blood pressure, except it’s not real.

People come from Sarajevo, Zenica, Tuzla, Kaknja, and Croatia to “lap up” the benefits of Hava Cebic’s magic tongue and she seems to have a real taste for this work as well, recording all the names of the people she’s helped over the years on her “lick-list”.
She also hopes her tongue will be cut off when she dies so it can continue licking disease and causing a (taste) sensation long after she’s gone.

So, this story made the news so we can all read about her and laugh. However, hoax cures have been around as long as disease.
Mrs Cebic provides the same service as any tarot card reader, astrologist, miracle diet pill, Reiki session, hypnotherapist, or any other garbage that science has proved doesn’t work. She provides hope and an easy answer.

Laugh at her if you like, but plenty of people in first world countries spend billions on this crap.  We’re surrounded by them. You might know them. You might even be one of them.

Is this story even newsworthy?

Probably not, but it’s what the news has become.

Sure this sort of thing has always been part of the news, the odd spot is as old as the front page, but the freak show has become the lead story.

News used to entertain, and provide a portrait of problems and issues from around the world.

Now it’s pure entertainment aimed at the lowest common denominator.

This article also mentions “oculolinctus” – eyeball licking as an expression of affection, which is a craze currently sliding, slipping and salivating its way through Japan.

At least Hava Cebic washes her tongue first using alcohol, but don’t worry, she seldom swallows.

The Japanese haven’t been washing and have been spreading disease. Yuck.

Really, they need to either start putting their tongues in condoms, or wear glasses.

This article first appeared on The Big Smoke:


Xavier Toby is a writer and comedian

Follow me on Twitter: @xaviertoby

Like me on Facebook: www.facebook.com/xaviertoby

Buy my first book (read a bit for free):


For speaking engagements, comedy performances, writing assignments and all other enquires: me@xaviertoby.com


Luxy: A new app for the #onepercent…of F-wits

Nothing says 'luxury' like spelling mistakes on your marketing materials.

Nothing says ‘luxury’ like spelling mistakes on your marketing materials.

“Luxy” is a new dating app that is calling itself “Tinder, minus the poor people”.

What it should be calling itself is “Tinder for complete fuckwits”.

Or, “Tinder, but even more shallow if you thought that was possible”.

Or, “Tinder, minus the last ounce of humanity”.

Or, “Literally trying to cash in on Tinder.”

Luxy works the same way as Tinder, with that whole swipe right for yes and left for no.

Here’s my top tip of the week – swiping is for flies, not humans.

So, Luxy is this new dating app that’s apparently only for millionaires, super models, celebs, CEOs, and other “one percenters”.

Basically, it’s for rich men to meet shallow girls.

Instead of a dating app, Luxy is more like a high-end brothel. Actually, it is a high-end brothel, while Tinder is just a street corner in a dodgy neighbourhood.

Luxy doesn’t come with any income verification, but does include a filter to weed out low-income prospects by neighbourhood.

So as well as the “one percent”, I imagine it’ll also include anyone who’s worked out how to pretend to be part of that “esteemed crew”. Nerds and losers rejoice, this app screams out for you to trick rich people or gold diggers into bed.

Instead of Snapchatting prospective dates pics of their penises, will guys just be Snapchatting, I don’t know, their penises wrapped in cash with gold chains hanging off the end?

Really, I’ve got no problem with this. Sub-humans that I don’t want anything to do with will use Luxy to meet other sub-humans for meaningless experiences.

Just like Tinder, but with more expensive meals, limos instead of taxis, and ending in similar disappointing sexual experiences on sheets with a slightly higher thread-count.

It’s all another attempt to fill this massive hole (yuk-yuk) called “being human” with immediate but ultimately vacuous noise.


I hate living in a world where there are humans who sit around and waste our oxygen on inventing things like this.

Anyway, I’m too busy for Tinder and all the clones trying to cash in on its success.

I’m just the loser writing about it who prefers to meet prospective partners the old-fashioned way – going to bars and building up the confidence to talk to by imbibing so much alcohol that by the time I’m ready to make an approach, nobody can understand what I’m saying.

This article first appeared on The Big Smoke:


Xavier Toby is a writer and comedian

Follow me on Twitter: @xaviertoby

Like me on Facebook: www.facebook.com/xaviertoby

Buy my first book (read a bit for free):


For speaking engagements, comedy gigs, writing assignments and all other enquires: me@xaviertoby.com



DIY invisibility is now an actual real thing

Wonder Woman's invisible plane. So why can we see it?

If Wonder Woman’s plane is so invisible, why can we see it?

Scientists at the University of Rochester in the USA recently revealed how to make stuff invisible.


Most other articles and even the press release from the University of Rochester itself compared this discovery to Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak, and nothing else. Which was a bit dumb for two main reasons.

Firstly, this invention has nothing to do with Harry Potter as one is real, and the other is not.

Also, one works really well because it’s not real, while the other has taken a few good photos but that’s about all.

It’s an optical illusion which disappears immediately once you shift your perspective, similar to holiday snaps of someone holding the Eiffel Tower between their fingers, looking down on the leaning tower of Pisa, or stepping over a seemingly tiny Sydney Harbour Bridge.


This picture isn’t clever, it’s annoying. Pretty sky though.

Secondly, the concept of invisibility did not start with Harry Potter, although it’s the only reference ever used. There’s the invisible man, Wonder Woman’s invisible jet, the way I was made to feel invisible at my high school formal, along with countless other previous incarnations.

Invisible Man

The Invisible Man from 1933. Imagine how old he looks now?

Magicians also have a right to feel miffed. They’ve been using mirrors, dodgy jokes and sleight of hand for centuries to make stuff ‘disappear’, and the ‘disappearing act’ is a trick several of my ex-girlfriends seem to have perfected, but still it’s all been about Harry’s cloak.


Here’s a picture from right back when magicians could only make stuff disappear in black and white.

According to doctoral student Joseph Choi some possible uses of this invention include, ‘surgery, in the military, interior design, art, and possibly cloaking a trailer on the back of a semi so the driver can see directly behind him.’

More useful might be hiding all you can eat buffets from the overweight, drugs from addicts and rubbish tips from everyone. Which is the problem with invisibility. You’re never making anything actually disappear, you’re just hiding it.

The addict hasn’t learnt to deal with their addiction, and although you can’t see it, they’ll still be the same environmental ramifications for the rubbish dump.

It’s an old conversation starter, ‘What would you choose? Invisibility or the ability to fly?’


I’d take the ability to fly and sleep. Like this winner.

If you choose invisibility, it’s always with nefarious objectives. Stealing, eavesdropping, secretly seeing people naked. Surely that’s what the inventors were really thinking?

So are there any significant, world-changing applications for invisibility? I can’t think of one. If you can, be a champion and leave a comment? Cheers.

Really, these scientists should be focussing on something far more meaningful, and that’s working out how we can all fly. It’d seriously cut down your commute to work, eliminate cars and airport security checkpoints, and it’d be fun.

This invisibility experiment can apparently be repeated with minimal cost or know-how. 

I’m not going to bother, I severely struggle with a set of instructions and an allen key, but if you want to have a crack, here’s how:


This article first appeared (ha!) in the Brisbane Courier Mail:


Xavier Toby is a writer and comedian

Follow me on Twitter: @xaviertoby

Like me on Facebook: www.facebook.com/xaviertoby

Buy my first book (read a bit for free):


For speaking engagements, comedy gigs, writing assignments and all other enquires: me@xaviertoby.com

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