Tuesday 30 August 2016

Why don't you switch off the TV ?

A couple of days ago Craig included the following observation in his smorgasbord post: 
 “In a questionable editorial decision, this morning's Today chose to invite in comedian Jake Yapp to mock ITV for switching off all their channels this morning in a Team GB-related stunt to encourage children to go out and do some exercise... The BBC mocking ITV for doing something noble doesn't strike me as being very...er...noble on the part of the BBC. The one upside is that Jake, as ever, was funny. I like Jake. He does all the voices:”  

Over on the Spectator, ‘Steerpike’ has posted something about Mr. Yapp too, but rather than picking up on the ‘questionable editorial decision’ made by the BBC to mock ITV for switching itself off to encourage couch potatoes to “do something less boring instead” (like sport) -  Steerpike has chosen instead to criticise Jake Yapp for sneering at the working class. 

 I’m with Craig on this one. I thought Yapp’s little sketch was okay. Not hilarious, but …okay. It would be nice if Mr. Yapp did one about the BBC one day (for balance) - but we’ve had “Harry and Paul’s Story of the Twos’ so we should be happy with that.

Harry and Paul's Story of the Twos [couchtripper] by couchtripper

All comedians seem to range from left-leaning to hard-line leftie. The more lefty the jokes, the harder it is for non-believers to see the funny side. When a leftie comedian does their thing, even if it’s funny, non-lefties won’t crack. “Not funny” they insist, sucking a lemon.

Much as I loathe Jeremy Hardy’s bizarre anti-Israel / antisemitic politics, I have to admit that when he steers clear of that topic he can be funny. Actually, on second thoughts, that’s pushing it a bit. I used that extreme example to illustrate my point, because his slap-you-in-the-face anti-Israel ‘jokes’ are a real antidote to laughter. 
Another example of the above is Frankie Boyle. I think if he was on my side, I probably would laugh, but as it is, no. His rapier-like wit is more rapier than wit. Well, there is wit, but when the ‘joke’ hinges on a falsehood it ceases to be amusing.

Here’s another example. Many ‘critics of the left’ detest Jo Brand. She used to make one feel uncomfortable rather than amused by shocking the audience with her self-deprecating, rude, too-much-information patter. But Jo Brand’s material has matured; it’s still self-deprecating but no longer obsessively gynaecological. 
Her co-authored sitcom with Joanna Scanlan and Vicki Pepperdine “Getting On” was a mini masterpiece. (though I didn’t think her solo spin-off was up to scratch) 
Now when I see her chairing HIGNFY, I give her the benefit of the doubt. If she amuses me, despite golliwog-gate, I don’t try not to laugh.

Anyway before I go off on a lengthy list of drearily unfunny leftie comedians, which would probably contradict the point I set out to make, let me return to the reason I started to write this. What was it again? Oh yes.

Look at the comments below Steerpike’s article. They’ve veered away from the topic, as usual, and settled upon a generalised outpouring of criticism of the BBC.

It seems that the BBC’s bias is recognised by huge numbers of people. You see it everywhere. On both right and left-wing media. From the OMG Daily Mail to… even the Guardian.

BBC staff will soon be the only ones who are unaware of their elephantine bias. That’s the employed ones. They do have a habit of ‘discovering’ it when they leave.  

Gatecrash (from Craig): I agree with Sue (to paraphrase a famous pair of unfunny comedians). 

Those comments at the Spectator ought to give the BBC pause (but won't). 

More and more people are angry at the BBC - from the Corbynistas and the SNP on one side to all the many-and-various 'people like us' on the other.

The old 'complaints from both sides' no longer washes either. Both sides are firing from different sides at the same place (loathe as they might be to admit it): the place where the BBC sits.

And the BBC doesn't sit where many of us/they sit. It (generally-speaking) sits with people other than us/them, somewhere on the socially-liberal, strongly pro-EU, economically-centrist, politically left-leaning, pro-modern-Establishment spectrum between Ken Clarke and Owen Smith.

Still, here's more Jake Yapp (another one for Mr. Steerpike?)...


  1. There was a time when there was a broader spread of comedy on the BBC that included a more comfortable middle class comedy wedded to conservative (small c) values of family and home. Now it all has to be at least "edgy" in some way and very often has the humour drained out of it as a result. Some comedies do remain connected to Planet Earth - Car Share was v. good i thought.

    something definitely needs to be done about the BBC. Probably teh simplest approach is to democratise it so the licence fee payer votes in the Board members.

  2. I wonder if it counts as irony that as the new law/rules/conjob/tryon with iPlayer kicks in tomorrow, we will be deleting the BBC from any televisual exchange via our online system today.

    Given there has been nothing worth watching for weeks now, this is not seen as a real problem.

    The TV will, however, stay on. Elsewhere. Legal, decent, honest, truthful, and £145.50 a year better off.

  3. Mrs Orange wishes to watch Bake Off.

    Amusingly other than the olympics it is the only thing either of us will have watched on the BBC for a long time, I get my "fix" of bias listening to Radio 4 during the 14 hours of driving I do a week.

    We now watch Netflix, Amazon Prime and Now TV it's the cheapest option for us to legally watch what we want.

    I would dearly love to join you though Peter, I find even the happy clappy Bake Off too much these days!


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