Last week’s episode of Holland’s Got Talent featured one of those “contestant looks weird/ugly/nerdy/tough but sings like an angel” things that all singing shows do now. The contestant, a bespectacled man named Xiao Wang, walked out on stage and performed a really impressive rendition of “La donna è mobile” from Verdi’s Rigoletto that should have left the judges speechless. Except it didn’t. Instead, one judge, a local TV and radio personality named Cornelis Willem Heuckeroth, used it as an opportunity to dust off a book from 1955 titled Hilarious Oriental Jokes and guffaw his way through one after another. A sampling:
- Did he say, “Which number are you singing, Number 39 with rice?” Yes, he did.
- Did he say, “Honestly, this is the best Chinese I’ve had in weeks. And it’s not a takeaway.” Yup.
- Did he interrupt a fellow judge who said Wang’s voice was a surprise to add “a suplise?” Yup yup yup.
The worst part came at the end, when one of Heuckeroth’s fellow judges informed him that he was “really not supposed to say things like that to people,” to which he replied “WHAT?” because he was either (a) too pleased with himself to hear the comment, or (b) genuinely shocked to find out that moments after another human’s triumphant moment might not be the best time to roll out your finest lazy, stereotype-based goofs about them. (See also.) Now, a number of people are calling for Simon Cowell — the top banana of the international Got Talent franchise — to fire him.
The lesson here, as it almost always is, is that you should try to not be the worst.