Manos the Greek on funny side of economic crisis
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Jeff Horwich: Greece’s lenders had planned a visit to the country today, but wouldn’t you know it: the brand new finance minister’s been fainting and sick to his stomach. One day on the job — that’s all it took to send this man’s body into revolt. If Greece weren’t so sad, it would be funny. Maybe it’s still funny — at least one guy thinks so.
Manos Kanellos is a stand-up comic in London who goes by “Manos the Greek.” Manos, welcome to Marketplace.
Manos Kanellos: Good to speak to you Jeff.
Horwich: So Greece is in the news almost every single day. How does it feel to be a Greek these days?
Kanellos: On the one hand I feel sometimes embarrassed about the actions of my compatriots. On the other hand, I also do enjoy the publicity we are having. I mean, last week we were, for example, the top news on Al Jazeera.
Kanellos: The last time that Greece was on Al Jazeera was in 490 B.C. after the Battle of Marathon.
Horwich: Better late than never.
Kanellos: With the headline, “Greece saves Europe from the Persians, Europe will always owe a huge debt to Greece.”
Horwich: You’re concerned about your home country, of course — are there any solutions, as you think about what’s going on in Greece, any solutions that you’ve come up with?
Kanellos: If I was in charge, I think I would open up the economy, because we have — still — a closed economy. I would tax heavily the high-income people, the church and the ship owners — and when I say ship, I mean the boats, not the four-legged animals.
I would explain that the last 30 years has not been normal life, it was a party. The Germans are not happy to pay the bill; they do not understand what a party is. So we need to work hard and pay our taxes.
Horwich: Do the Germans even know how to party like the Greeks?
Kanellos: Exactly, they can’t. I don’t blame them — they don’t have the weather for it. Why not make holidays compulsory for all Europeans? That is one solution. But I think the more realistic solution for a way out of this crisis — a good word, by the way, it’s Greek — a good way to finish this drama — another Greek word — and avoid catastrophe — another good word — is to actually put a copyright on Greek words. If, Mr. American, you want to call your spacecraft to the moon “Apollo,” a nice Greek word, please give us some money.
Horwich: Manos Kanellos — on stage, he goes by Manos the Greek — great to talk with you, thanks very much.
Kanellos: Thank you, thanks for having me.
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