RIGHT now, Newcastle comedian Gareth Wasik could claim to be the funniest man in the country.
His album Jesus Can't Play Rugby sits atop the iTunes comedy charts, ahead of Hamish and Andy, more Hamish and Andy, Tim Minchin and - gasp - Monty Python.
Wasik was travelling in the UK when it hit No. 1, and his brother phoned in the middle of the night to deliver the news.
"I wasn't expecting it," the Singleton-born comic and former Merewether Carlton inside centre told Topics.
"I couldn't get back to sleep."
The album isn't dissimilar in style to the Twelfth Man series, and follows the adventures of Jesus as he battles to overcome his lack of prowess at the game they play in heaven. Wasik points out that it pillories all religions equally.
"Jesus and Muhammad find out they're half brothers, and Buddha's in the front row," he said.
You can buy the album on iTunes.
But why would you, when we have two CD copies to give away? They'll go to the first two readers who can tell us:
In Gareth Wasik's Jesus Can't Play Rugby, which turncoat disciple defects to the opposition? Hint: J - - as.
Early rise, Quality ride
TOPICS rode a bike for charity on Friday, and we're not asking for praise.
But if you want to give it anyway, keep in mind that it was for Camp Quality and we had to be up at 5.30am. Just so you have all the facts. It was pretty generous.
The "ride-off", between a team of Hunter celebrities (plus Topics) and a Camp Quality squad of fit people, happened on Todd Sergeant's breakfast radio show on 2NUR FM.
Our team featured the likes of NBN's Jane Goldsmith, Paul Lobb and Gavin Morris, and Newcastle MP Tim Owen.
It was like a Hunter version of a charity single, with more panting and less Boy George. We, er, came second, and the ride-off raised $2500 in caller donations.
The Camp Quality riders will embark on a 1000-kilometre ride next month from Ipswich, Queensland, to Newcastle. You can find out more or donate by calling 4947 8311 or visiting campquality.org.au.
Dads' jobs discussed
A RECENT conversation that involved John Ferris, of Muswellbrook, and some friends turned to what unusual jobs their fathers had held.
"I remembered dad's first job back in the 1920s was as a Dog walloper," recalls John.
"The shops in the country towns used to put display tables out the front. They hired young blokes, gave them a stick, and the job was to chase the dogs away to stop them peeing on the table legs."
Another bloke's dad, it was revealed, had been what was commonly known as a Turd-burglar.
The correct designation, at least according to the council, was Sanitation Specialist.
"Those days the dunny was a small building out the back," explains John.
"His job was to collect the cans of poo and replace them with empty ones ready for another week."
Another was an Emu-bobber.
"These were the blokes who walked behind the ploughs picking up rocks and sticks."
Do you know of any others?