Millennials: Do You Really Have Anything To Complain About?

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They’re easily written off as “Generation Snowflake”, but comedian Conor Drum thinks millennials have a lot to cope with. From facing the prospect of never owning a home to being the last lonely singleton in your friendship group, no wonder there’s been a rise in the “quarter-life crisis”.

On the other hand, there’s veteran comedian Stuart Black, who’s barely clawed his way through decades of drugs, drink and hedonism, and picked up a few hard-won life lessons on his journey to sobriety and sanity.

See what they have to say:

Conor Drum

I got into avocados around the time I realised home-ownership was less likely than a lottery win. Avocados are versatile, easier to come by than a down payment for a mortgage and a symbol of this generation’s financial ineptitude. I can see why they are so popular amongst “the kids”.

Generational inequality has concerned me for a while now. Sadly, our elders will never get to experience driverless cars, teleportation or digitally-based eternal life. In exchange, most of us will never experience homeownership, job security, a decent pension or hope for the future.

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You see economics works like this now: our parents earned that money their house is now worth, regardless of it being twenty times what they paid for it. Your expectations are too high, that’s what the problem is. That degree you are still paying off was free in their day but that’s your fault for trying. That entry-level job they started with is now an internship, because young people are lazy. That bedsit they stayed in for a few quid a month when they first moved out is now over half your monthly income after tax. But that’s because their generation are amazing at business and yours is spoilt. Remember that.

So what can we do? Stop wasting money on luxuries like fresh fruit? Sell some organs? Have a revolution? I don’t think we need to go that far. There’s no choice but to work harder than they ever had to and deal with it. But just a little understanding from the generation above wouldn’t go astray. It’s in their interest – after all we will be picking their care homes…although they’ll have to pay for them.

Last month my phone got stolen by a gang of moped-lads. In my mind – from watching too many YouTube clips – I was mentally prepared for a robbery like this, whereby I would spin kick the ringleader in the nuts and escape on one of their mopeds. I gave chase, but because I was carrying a backpack and a banging hangover, I got about ten steps before I resigned myself to the fact that the phone was gone and I was sweaty.

The worst part of the robbery was that I had nearly finished paying off my phone contract. This was my first experience of building equity. It was my pathetic little nest egg. When my dad was my age, his equity was the house where his wife and kids lived, that he bought on a single income with no degree.

Stuart Black

Oh Conor, Conor, Conor (and other Millenials reading this). Life is tough. I’ll give you that. I’m from Generation X, and I guess I’m supposed to give you some advice about how life works, and how you “don’t realise how good you have it”. But the thing is…

You’re actually sort-of correct. You have been f*cked over. What a world you’ve been given.

I really want to give you some tips but you wouldn’t listen. I know this because when I was your age, a middle-aged man took me aside for some ‘sage advice’. The sage advice was: mix it with onion, and make stuffing (Paxo). But I didn’t listen. I was too busy thinking about my hand-held device. And by that I mean penis (the original hand-held device).

I did grow up surrounded by the golden opportunities that are not available to you, like affordable houses and free education but, believe it or not, I couldn’t see them. Those things are only obvious looking back from the future. Thirty years from now you’ll look back and wonder how you missed yours. I missed all mine. I failed my exams, and went on the dole for five years. So when a lot of Xers were stockpiling real estate, and destroying the ozone layer, I was getting off my tits on LSD, and experimenting with the perfect amount of codeine to go with a litre of cider. Okay, I was also destroying the ozone layer due to my magnificent Morrissey quiff (hairspray still contained CFC’s until 1996).

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It’s not all gloom for you guys though. As you say, my generation won’t be around to witness the amazing technology the future promises. Just imagine: the dawn of true artificial intelligence! It will be the jewel in the scientific crown of humankind. A mathematical miracle, born in quantum computers and installed in super-light all-terrain carbon fibre humanoids. Witnessing that is something you will have over me. Although, I do suspect they’ll be solely in the employ of the military and will one day hunt you down like dogs across the rubble of the houses you will never own.

My final thought is this:

As Millennials, you will one day leave us Xers behind, and head into the glorious future, and I suppose what I’m saying is: trust no one; make friends with a lawyer; wear shoes you can fight in; stockpile butter; and good luck. (Sorry about the Polar Bears.)

Conor Drum laments losing his final single friend in All My Friends Are Dead at the Laughing Horse @ Bar 50 at the Edinburgh Fringe, August 3-27, 6pm.

Stuart Black returns with It’s The End Of The World As We Know It at Just The Tonic @ The Tron, August 3-27 (not 14), 11.40pm. Tickets available at www.edfringe.com.

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