Charlottetown man’s hobby lets him air his political observations
© Photo special to The Guardian
Lloyd Kerry, left, gives Shaun Majumder, of This Hour Has 22 Minutes one of his t-shirts during a set visit.
A Charlottetown man is using humour emblazoned on a series of t-shirts as a platform for political protest and the public is buying into it.
Lloyd Kerry’s t-shirt-making hobby called Men In Black T-Shirts has earned him a few extra dollars, but it’s the political statements and the laughs he gets out of people that make it worthwhile. And who better to poke fun at than political figures.
Kerry’s t-shirt enterprise started last spring when he watched an episode of This Hour Has 22 Minutes. During this particular episode they did a spoof on surprise home visits by Employment Insurance auditors, titled PEI-EI-PIs Prince Edward Island Employment Insurance Private Investigators.
The sketch was very popular, so much so Kerry decided to turn the idea into a comedic t-shirt.
With full support of the show, Kerry made t-shirts that read, PEI EI PI and below it are the answers an EI claimant must file to receive their claim — No-No-No-Yes-No.
It was during a taping of the show’s season finale where Kerry realized he might have caught on to a great idea.
“I was sitting at the front row of the audience with one of the shirts on when the cast came out to meet the audience, Shaun Majumder said, ‘Oh look it’s t-shirt guy,’ and he came over and said ‘I love your shirts man,’ so I gave him a free one.”
Since then, Kerry has been selling his product to the public and has been paying very close attention to the news, searching for his next victim, often saying to himself, “this is too good,” when a political figure blunders.
“I try to do it in a funny way and without slandering anybody,” he said.
Kerry manages to capture these blunders and gives them a comedic spin using cartoons, all to generate a laugh from the public and highlight the imperfections of the governments. Whether it’s capturing the Rob Ford’s alleged crack pipe storyline in his “Ford Plumbing” t-shirt, which illustrates a plumber who specializes in fixing cracks, or Mike Duffy in his “Stuff the Duff!!” t-shirt, which features a larger gentleman getting stuffed in a garbage can.
With Duffy in the news again, Kerry’s recent t-shirt “Abolish the Senate” comes at a perfect time, especially in the midst of whispers of a Senate reform.
“I look at it as a form of political protest. It’s a little easier than carrying a picket sign or occupying an office.”
For as long as politicians are making news, Kerry will be there waiting to make a t-shirts along side them.
“People say it’s a great idea and they really do make such great t-shirts.”
Kerry’s six t-shirt designs can be found on his website: www.meninblacktshirts.com