Legal cartoons and humorous comment (c) Paul Brennan. All rights reserved.

I decided on 101 reasons as I didn’t want to depress the entire legal profession by having 1,001.
Paul Brennan, Lawyer, Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

I was there


I gave a speech at the Hong Kong Rugby Union Annual Dinner.  It was a black-tie affair.

As I started, I could see that of the
six hundred strong audience, some were milling around at the back, but in the middle behind a long table spanning horizontally across the hall was what I could only describe as a phalanx of rugby players. Jackets off, sitting facing me in shirt sleeves, arms folded, wearing their napkins on their foreheads and tucked behind their ears in the style of Egyptian pharaohs.
My opening lines failed to raise a laugh, as did anything else I had to say.  After several minutes, dinner rolls started to wing their way over the napkinned heads of the phalanx and thud against the canvas backdrop behind me. Thankfully the barrage was from a section of the audience who were either very kind or couldn’t throw straight. Unscathed, I pressed on. 

Later in the speech, a member of the audience bearing a
sort of manic grin marched military-style up to the stage with the apparent intention of helping me off. He had been drinking.  He paused, looked around, then turned and walked back to his seat. He may have taken pity upon me.  Another explanation is that I was once a judo instructor and this was mentioned by the person who introduced me. I continued without him.

When something like this happens, it is best to put it behind you. The following Monday, the speech was reported in the South China Morning Post.

A couple of months later, I gave a speech at the Lighthouse Club. It was another black-tie dinner. Then I attended the next Lighthouse Club Dinner to hear celebrated barrister Kevin Egan speak.  He was facing criminal charges of assisting disgraced government lawyer Warwick Reid to flee to the Philippines while on bail by giving him a passport and a gun. I had visited Warrick Reid, who was being held in ICAC custody.

During the introduction of Kevin Egan, the introducer thanked me for my funny (sic) speech, which had been well received, or at least no one had thrown anything.  I went up to the microphone and said, “if you knew this audience, you would have kept that gun”. I still regret saying this. I had been drinking. Fortunately, Kevin Egan took it in good heart and was later acquitted.

Years later, I joined other speakers at the National Speakers of Australia Conference to present on challenging speaking experiences. My story prompted one of the other speakers, Rodney Marks to tell of a similar occurrence. Out of a hostile audience, a drunk had mounted the stage, as they grappled and fell to the floor, he continued with his speech. The audience thought it was part of his act.


© Paul Brennan 2021. All rights Reserved.

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