Monday, 1 February 2010

[Television] A Disappointing Evening With Jonathan Ross

My grandmother thinks Jonathan Ross is obscene. That’s the word she always uses whenever he comes up in conversation. ‘I don’t like that Jonathan Ross,’ she says, the slits of her eyes oozing dry contempt, her scowl stabbing like shit-hooks into her jowls. ‘He’s obscene.’ What gets her goat of course, is the bad language, the kneejerk infantile sexualisation of absolutely everything and the wilful, pervasive inappropriateness. Basically all the good stuff, all the cheeky stuff that makes other people watch. But then my gran is from a different time, bless her, and consequently she's rather old-fashioned. She’s still not entirely happy with the idea of homosexuals adopting children, if you want to know the truth. But she's a good woman despite that, and I love her very much.

Also, I like Jonathan Ross. He can be overbearing at times, of course, and childish, and self-indulgent, and, frankly, borderline creepy - but Jesus, who can’t? He’s still on occasion well worth watching though, and that’s saying an awful lot. At his best, his lack of respect for propriety and showbiz protocol can be jaw-dropping. I will love him always, for example, for asking this country’s next Prime Minister whether or not he pleasured himself to thoughts of Margaret Thatcher. I think it’s actually testament to the gargantuan irreverence of that question that all traces of it have been removed from the internet. (Fiver to anyone who can find it for me.) (Video, that is - not mere mention. Tsk.)

For these reasons, when I was recently offered the opportunity to go see an episode of Friday Night With Jonathan Ross being recorded, I thought about it for a moment, then I took it. After all, if I were lucky, something amazing might happen, something magical, or at the very least something temporarily memorable.

I would have to be very lucky though, because, let’s face it, not only are chat shows in the main horrible worthless bilge, they are also, in essence, evil. With no pretensions to artistic endeavour, they are powered one hundred per cent by PR. They’re essentially live adverts, relying entirely on the public’s bland acceptance that celebrities are, by their very nature, interesting. However, even without someone as potentially unseemly as Jonathan Ross at the helm, chat shows can occasionally deliver wonderful moments of human nonsense. The various drunk appearances by Oliver Reed stand out. Serge Gainsbourg
insisting to Whitney Houston’s face that he wanted to fuck her. Muhammed Ali’s idiotic paranoid meltdown on Parkinson. Barry Gibb’s humour bypass on Clive Anderson. Tom Cruise on PCP on Oprah. David Icke giving Godhead to Wogan. These moments probably just about make the format worthwhile, but naturally, sadly, they are few and far between. Realistically, it was probably unlikely I’d be there the night Matthew Kelly shot himself, for example, or Mel Gibson revealed the new Hitler tattoo across his back, but maybe I’d be lucky and bag a devastating raconteur.

I wasn’t lucky. If you happened to have caught the show last week, you’ll know by the fact that you’ve already forgotten who the guests were, that the guests were crap.

They were, in order of sheer pointlessness, Kim Cattrall, the pubescent cast of something called Misfits and fucking Jedward. (It is, I believe, now a legal requirement that whenever John and Edward are mentioned in the showbiz compound, their name must be preceded by the repulsed intensifier fucking. Like Gregory F Peck.)



Before the horrific torture of the guests, however, there was the ignominy of queuing outside for over an hour in the drizzle. Then there was the unpleasant awkwardness of the warm-up guy. I was hoping for some budding stand-up. Instead there was this monstrous mediocrity who had members of the audience removing articles of clothing in exchange for prizes which never arrived, whilst all the while leching really inappropriately, and deeply unamusingly, over a beautiful girl in the audience. He was like a combination of redcoat reject and charmless Ted Bundy.

Embarrassing and incompetent though he was as an individual, however, it was his role on the show as a whole that was really depressing, bringing home as it did what an unmitigated crock of excrement television really is.

I remember thinking, 'let me get this straight, you’re telling me that when fucking Jedward, this pair of empty-headed showbiz suppositories walk onto a gaudy set, you want me to stand up and applaud? But that doesn’t make sense. We shouldn’t be screaming and shouting our approval at these arse-candles. We should be pelting them with effluent.'

Speaking of effluent, before Kim Cattrall’s extraordinarily dull interview, we were treated to a screening of the trailer for Sex and the City 2, which is, it has to be said, truly truly amazing. I honestly never thought I’d ever see anything that would make the original film of Sex and the City look like anything other than the celluloid tumour that it is, but this trailer actually makes it look remarkable.

So even though Ross repeatedly professed great fondness for the cast of Misfits and fucking Jedward, surely he would let Kim Cattrall have it for her part in the atrocity that the Sex and the City franchise has become. Surely.

Nope. Not a bit of it. Renowned cineaste Ross claims to love the crime against humanity that is Sex and the City, part one.

It was at this point that I properly gave up. I had been hoping for a glimpse of the no-bullshit Ross I’d seen in the past – the same man who tore Kevin Smith a new pimhole for the execrable Clerks 2 - but he seems to have moved on. He’s probably content to just sit out his BBC contract, hyping every piece of cack that comes his way and even sucking up to fucking Jedward when necessary. Well, I'm not. I'm done with him. I know, I know. He'll be gutted.

Finally, after a suitably crap performance by The Editors, it was over.

When I shuffled back out into the drizzle at around 9 o’clock, my hands buzzing with shame from all the fake applause, I actually felt good. Mostly I felt good because, apart from Nick Griffin’s appearance on Question Time, I haven’t watched a single TV programme actually on television since I moved back to London in September. Good for me.

It really is crap.



And you?

Have you ever seen a TV show recorded live and if so, was that crap too?



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17 comments:

Anonymous said...

I saw QI and it was ace. Stephen Fry was even funnier and cleverer up close, and treated everyone to lots of dirty jokes that sadly didn't make the cut. Would watch again A+++++++

I am Roszs. Hear me ROAR. Miaow. said...

I saw Light Lunch filmed a few times, way way back in the day. Dermot O'Leary was the warm up man (from tiny acorns are bland oaks grown), and the only guest I can remember was Lisa Tarbuck, who was ace.

La Bête said...

You see, that's what I was hoping for with Ross - naughty stuff that didn't make the cut. But there was nothing. Nothing.

purplegril said...

Go see something you LIKE being filmed, it'll make you feel better! I have been to QI and IT crowd and absolutely loved both.

I have also been to TOTP when I was about 16 or something for a friend's birthday - one of the most depressing things ever.

justrestingmyeyes said...

As everyone has already said, if you want yer actual "Too Hot for TV!!!!" moments, you need to see yer actual comedy panel game - or if live Outtake TV is more your style, yer actual sitcom, though they can be a tad interminable. I've been to see quite a few things, working as I do just down the road from TVC.

That also means I would have walked past you in the J-Ross queue, in the drizzle, as I nearly always do on a Thursday. That to me is almost unutterably thrilling. Which is in turn almost unutterably lame, I know.

gongman said...

Haven't had a TV for years and reading your blog confirmed for me what a good decision that has been.

After all with internet I can be my own scheduler and watch what I personally regard as quality when I wish.

Good to see the David Icke/Wogan thing again though.

Tsunamis,earthquakes,the many controlled by the few,the manipulation of events,prime ministers and presidents as puppets of the hidden true agenda...

Oh how we laughed. Mmmmmmmm.

Beleaguered Squirrel said...

TV shows recorded live... yes, but I was on all three of them. So I was bound to say they were good. Except they weren't. One was a quiz show for teenagers which was so unsuccessful that nobody has heard of it. One was a current affairs late-night let's-have-a-heated-debate thing with Lucy Meacock... not that great. And the other was Countdown, which has its own special appeal but... well. Its main demographic is old ladies and students. Not that there's anything wrong with old ladies. But they are easily offended. Rude words are edited out.

Panda said...

One of the worst first-and-only dates I have ever had... I was escorted on the tube to Canary Wharf (that in itself was bad enough), whereby I was subjected to an hour of unmitigatingly unfunny stand-up being filmed for L!VE TV. There were only about ten of us in the audience, carefully grouped to create the impression of more people, and they gave us an inch of supermarket lager in a polystyrene cup to 'warm us up.' Obviously I never saw the tosser who took me there ever again, but worse - to my disgust, some of my friends actually watched the programme and saw the camera zoom in on me doing a pretend laugh to a dreadful joke.

AndrewM said...

I'm with your grandmother.

Anonymous said...

Bonjour La Bête,
The best thing you can see on a TV is the off button. Press it, and your life suddenly improves.
Uncle Did

Panda said...

One of the worst first-and-only dates I have ever had... I was escorted on the tube to Canary Wharf (that in itself was bad enough), whereby I was subjected to an hour of unmitigatingly unfunny stand-up being filmed for L!VE TV. There were only about ten of us in the audience, carefully grouped to create the impression of more people, and they gave us an inch of supermarket lager in a polystyrene cup to 'warm us up.' Obviously I never saw the tosser who took me there ever again, but worse - to my disgust, some of my friends actually watched the programme and saw the camera zoom in on me doing a pretend laugh to a dreadful joke.

Anonymous said...

I was in the audience for one of Rory Bremner's shows. It was ok.

On the subject of chat shows. I would have loved to have been in the audience for this edition of Russell Harty's show.

http://books.google.com/books?id=Gb5ci9IF_SMC&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q=harty&f=false

Andrea/Handrejka

Innocent Loverboy said...

I've never seen one, but I've seen plenty of radio comedy being recorded - Now Show, News Quiz, HIGNFY, Huddlines, Dead Ringers - and they've all been good fun.

A mate of mine's seen It'll Be Alright On The Night being recorded though - you can see him in the audience - and he tells me that Denis Norden needed to be helped into a chair by some stage hands.

NostrilSoup said...

I saw HIGNFY and now wish I hadn't... I'd always revered Paul Merton and the way he seemed to take almost any innocuous comment and spin it out into some surreal quip, which - on TV - he does with great frequency. IRL, he only did it about 4 or 5 times over the 3 hour filming, was mostly silent the rest of the time, and all the duff jokes and awkward silence made me realise "hang on... these professional celebrity raconteurs are just like NORMAL PEOPLE. How DARE they get on telly (and not me)."

Donna Deluso said...

I thought HIGNFY was heavily scripted? Am I wrong?

Donna Deluso said...

I haven't been to a live recording but would love to be in the audience for Loose Woman - their cutting edge wit and humour astounds me.

Swineshead said...

TV's brilliant.

People who think they sound smart saying they don't bother with it can be extremely tedious.

I went to see Vanessa when I was sixteen, stoned on the drugs in Norwich. It was a vision of hell, and probably shaped my future.