WITH Joe Biden on the brink of winning the US Presidency, Friday night’s satirical shows were always going to make unpleasant viewing.
It’s nothing to do with me being any sort of Donald Trump fan, because I’m not.
Intentionally or otherwise, though, he has made me laugh a lot during the course of his time in the White House, unlike his many British comedy detractors who keep saying, “He’s the gift that keeps on giving”, yet haven’t managed to say one memorably funny thing about him in four long years.
Endless comedy failure, however, is certainly no barrier to endless BBC and Channel 4 bookings, as long as you have the correct left-of-centre opinions.
So the usual smug-buckets were out in force, from 9pm on Friday.
First up, Have I Got News For You where, along with Hislop and Merton, we had three other Remainers, host Richard Ayoade, Roisin Conaty and Armando Iannucci, who spent most of the show mocking Trump for being unable to accept the result of a democratic vote and resorting to legal chicanery.
With just one dissenting voice to ring some bells for them, it might have been an entirely different, less two-faced show.
But the BBC hadn’t taken any chances, so there was no one there to say: “Hang on a minute. Aren’t you the same Ian Hislop who told Question Time, in the wake of Brexit, “After an election or referendum, even if you lose that vote, you’re entitled to go on making the argument”?
The only mercy here was that at least the BBC show’s hypocrisy lasted only half an hour.
Channel 4 had cleared the decks for a 90-minute Last Leg “US Election special”, where the regular gang were joined by Richard Osman, Jimmy Carr and Labour propagandist Ayesha Hazarika, who was wasting a chair on HIGNFY a couple of weeks ago. If you ever doubted that groupthink rules across the networks, though, it was probably dispelled when Adam Hills opened with exactly the same joke as Richard Ayoade — “The old white man won”.
The symmetry wasn’t restricted to the start, either. They also pointed out Joe Biden is close to death, played the same clip of Trump’s spiritual adviser having a moment and noticed the word “count” sounds a bit like c***.
The general mood, though, was one of elation tinged with, as Jimmy Carr said: “Disappointment so many people had voted for Trump.”
I know, I know, Jimmy. Why won’t the proles just do as the multi- millionaire, tax-avoiding Oxbridge comedian tells them? It’s a mystery to me as well.
As with HIGNFY, of course, their glee entirely blinded the panellists to their own hypocrisy. So one minute, they were decrying Trump’s use of conspiracy theories, the next every single one of them had accepted Osman’s idea that Trump will resign so “President Mike Pence” can pardon him for non-specific crimes, as an absolute fact.
I need hardly tell you that when Osman, who’s from Haywards Heath, West Sussex, described Biden’s running mate Kamala Harris as “bad ass”, absolutely no one hooted with derision at his attempts to sound cool.
They all just earnestly agreed she’s “brilliant” and “amazing”.
A deeply condescending verdict that, I’d suggest, owes everything to Kamala Harris’s colour and gender and nothing to her actual “achievements” — or record on the death penalty, which is worth Googling.
In doing so, obviously, they all put her off-limits for future ridicule and demonstrated Donald Trump’s point perfectly. Television has an institutional left-of-centre bias, across the board.
Lord knows what happens to that madman now.
But if Trump is finished, my sincerest wish is that the BBC’s Director-General Tim Davie makes good on his promise and buries Have I Got News For You, The Mash Report, Frankie Boyle’s New World Order and all those other hopeless left-wing “comedy” shows with him.
SHOPPING With Keith Lemon: “What advice would you give fellas who approach Gemma Collins?”
Position yourself downwind, run in a zig-zag pattern if she charges and hide up a tree if necessary.
Fleur shows bottle
FOUR whole days it took me to work out what the hell ITV was doing with its epically dull rowing race Don’t Rock The Boat, which finally dawdled to a finish on Friday.
Even then it wasn’t until they tried pulling the old jungle “letters from home” stunt that the penny dropped.
They were managing expectations, I think, so that no matter how disappointing the new Welsh version of I’m A Celeb seems, at least it isn’t Don’t Rock The Boat.
Such a staggeringly pointless and flawed endeavour I almost had a twinge of sympathy for ex-MP Tom Watson when he spelled out his youthful hopes and dreams to Emmerdale’s Adam Thomas: “I wanted to change the world. I joined the Labour Party young and I had lots of ideas.”
Oh so many ideas, had young Tom.
“But now you’re here,” Adam didn’t quite reply, “Watching Fleur East p*** in a bottle.”
Yet still some people will claim all political careers end in failure.
Great TV lies and delusions of the week
DIVA Forever & Ever, Gemma Collins: “I need to sample as much chocolate as possible.”
ITV, Freddie Flintoff: “Coming up, we crown the first-ever winners of Don’t Rock The Boat.” (Last-ever).
Little Mix: The Search, Jade Thirlwall: “I imagine, when you enter the gates of heaven, you’re met by Nostalia singing four-part harmonies.”
Then I might just take my chances in hell.
Gemma’s dumb animal
THE ITVBe channel’s Diva Forever & Ever series packed lumbering Essex megafauna Gemma Collins off to a donkey sanctuary in Crete last week.
And about time too, if you ask me. The girl’s had it coming.
Unfortunately, though, it turned out to be just a goodwill visit. A process which involved the GC putting the animals in a fairly meaty headlock and bellowing: “There’s something wrong with that one’s neck. It’s drooping.”
“Gemma,” replied the very patient owner, “That’s a fat roll.”
An observation that wasn’t necessarily aimed at the donkey, but certainly struck a chord with the GC, who immediately handed over a thousand euros to keep them in straw and carrots for the foreseeable.
The poor, dumb animal who continues to cause concern, however, is Gemma’s “part-time fancy man” Laurence, who’s so foolishly smitten with the Brentwood Morlock he didn’t even run for the hills at the news: “When I see you, I get that feeling in the pit of my stomach.”
We won’t find out until next year, though, if that means she’s about to mate with Laurence or eat him, as Diva Forever & Ever has now ended.
Hopefully, when it returns, Laurence will still be alive and she’ll be ready to resolve a production issue, at her one-woman show, which had her pointing out a theatre lighting gantry to Darren Day.
“I’m going to be lowered down from there.”
Darren (incredulously): “You are? On what?”
“I dunno. A bit of string or rope?”
A bit of string every time, Gemma. Trust me . . .
Corbyn’s fat lump
MISSED the end of Tuesday’s Yorkshire Vet which featured a ten-year-old collie-cross called Corbyn who had “a big fat lump under his arm”.
Did he have it successfully removed or make it Shadow Home Secretary?
Emailed in by Peter Scott. Picture research: Alfie Snelling.
AUTUMNWATCH subtitle of the week belonged to Isle of May Nature Reserve manager David Steel explaining a record-breaking invasion of chiffchaffs above the words: “We had 80 Czech chaps in one day.”
Random TV irritations
BBC1’s dreadful propaganda drama Roadkill seriously angling for a second series.
Jimmy Carr mocking Donald Trump’s appearance while sporting his heavily dyed new hair transplant, on The Last Leg.
Russell Kane’s inability to SIT BLOODY STILL. Don’t Rock The Boat employing tearful letters-from-home tactics when the contestants’ loved ones were about an hour away and on the phone every day.
And ITVBe’s Olivia Attwood describing a potential wedding venue as “Heinous. H.A.N.U.S. Heinous.” On account of the fact she’s cretinous. K.R.E.T.A.N.U.S. Cretinous.
Unexpected morons in the bagging area
TIPPING Point, Ben Shephard: “How many days are there in two fortnights?”
Ben Shephard: “In June 2019, a horse called Anthony Van Dyck won which classic horse race held at Epsom?”
Ellie: “Royal Ascot.”
Ben Shephard: “What is the most common spoken language in the Middle East region?”
JOHN Lydon trampling Susanna Reid and Piers Morgan underfoot, on Wednesday’s GMB. Sky Atlantic’s The Undoing (best drama currently on TV).
The BBC News correspondent Frank Gardner absolutely refusing to be defined by his disability on his inspirational documentary Being Frank.
Rob Rinder’s beautiful and moving tribute to his lost family, beside a mass grave, in Belarus, on BBC1’s My Family, The Holocaust And Me.
And the sheer puddle-splashing delight Autumnwatch’s Michaela Strachan displayed on learning that a 507-year-old clam had been discovered off the Fife coast:
“It’s lived through the reign of Henry VIII. If only that clam could talk . . .” It’d be on the Loose Women panel moaning about the king’s mid-life crisis. Don’t ruin it now, Michaela.
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THE SUN SAYS
We don’t have the luxury of being semi-locked down until vaccine is rolled out
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Great Sporting Insights
MICAH Richards: “As a defender you’re waiting for someone to notice and not see that.”
Paul Merson: “I thought his movement was outstanding as well, he just stands still.”
Alan McInally: “Mourinho had egg on his face. But not so much egg.”
- Compiled by Graham Wray
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