I abandoned my trivial show and organised a march. Well, I thought about it

Daily newspapers are too much for me these days. The Mirror used to make me smile and the Independent gave me pause for thought, but the truth is that they no longer amuse me with their smug headlines, manipulative journalism and ghastly stories about political duels, dead soldiers and tortured puppies. It's over. Sod that. I turn instead to the local papers. They are far more entertaining, and there is nothing there to frighten the horses or put me off my breakfast.

Take the Hythe Herald, for example: "Naked man climbs town hall," says the front page. That's more like it. "At one time he was dangling from the town hall clock." Dangling in which sense - they do not tell us. And if your day isn't complete without news of the local Brownie troupe, fear not. "Intrepid Folkestone Brownies were flying high when they took a trip on the London Eye and cruised the River Thames. Tawny Owl Gina Ruddock, who organised the trip, said: 'The day was a great success and the Brownies were a credit to Folkestone.'" I dare say Gina did her best, too.

There's more. Sandgate Library will now remain open at lunchtimes, a 1940s-themed dance night has raised £300 for the St Mary-in-the-Marsh village hall project, a ghostly lady has appeared at the Ship Inn reeking of fish, and Saga Services employees now end their week with "dress-down Fridays". With news like this, who needs a dreary broadsheet or a tacky tabloid?

I was in South Africa last week to do a turn for the Cape Town International Comedy Festival and in the What's On section of a suburban freebie I noted that the "Depression and Anxiety" group holds a meeting every Wednesday. Staying in affluent Camps Bay, dining on oysters in sea-view restaurants, I found it hard to imagine what anyone had to be depressed about in such a beautiful land. I was so busy looking out to sea for whales, sea lions or Prince Harry's girlfriend that it took me a day or so to realise what was afoot on the streets outside my five-star hotel.

From the terrace where I sat with my fellow diners, I noticed the security guard discourage a beggar from disturbing our meal with a no-nonsense push to the face. Just a minute, I thought . . . how come all the rich, healthy-looking people are white and all the poor, sickly people are black? Seems a bit odd. What's going on here?

My refusal to absorb news any harder than the activities of the Women's Institute suddenly broke down and I set about informing myself about the cold facts of the matter. Distressing news, I'm sure you'll agree: 40 per cent of South Africans live in abject poverty, 27 per cent are unemployed, five million live with HIV/Aids.

The health minister (the snappily named Ms Manto Tshabalala-Msimang) doesn't see the need for life-saving antiretroviral drugs and suggests the consumption of beetroot, lemon and garlic instead.

This would be quaint if it wasn't for the fact that a thousand people are dying every day. Needless to say, I abandoned my trivial camp comedy shows and organised a march to parliament demanding ARVs now and the redistribution of wealth asap. Well, I thought about it, but unfortunately I was contractually obliged to trowel on my make-up every night and make jokes about erections. My sincere objections to such genocide would have to wait.

Then I remembered this column. I witter on each fortnight about nothing in particular, but I have you, a captive audience of political lefties who would like nothing more than to be motivated into action on behalf of the deprived black folk of South Africa. You know it's true. I'm far too busy with my career, but you can do the legwork for me.

Write to Ms Manto and the ANC and tell them it just won't do. Tell them I sent you.