Thursday, 14 May 2009

I do not trust Baron Von Trap

Christmas is coming and with the dull inevitability of a Geri Halliwell comeback attempt, this means office parties. Comedy had its equivalent, The British Comedy Awards televised recently. Producers were expecting high ratings for its triumphant return after last year’s show went un-broadcast following allegations that ITV were being creative with viewers’ votes. Instead figures were down and television execs were forced to ponder the effect of the removal of its resident presenter, a certain Jonathan Ross, and his replacement, chastened bad boy Angus –rent an auto cue- Dayton. The Comedy Awards are notorious for the bad behaviour of its guests; Spike Milligan referring to Prince Charles as a grovelling so and so, Julian Clary’s scandalous joke about an encounter with Norman Lamount, and Michael Barrymore ripping out of Jonathan Ross’s auto cue, just some personal favourites. This year, the only bad behaviour; a wonderfully twisted dedication of his award to Karen Mathews from Alan Carr, didn’t even happen on camera and many found the event slightly boring. Dull, beige, neutered comedy the inevitable result of the newspaper community’s determination of late, to find insult in every single joke that is slightly interestingComedy is about taking risks and saying, as the cliché goes, the unsayable. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t but freedom of speech shouldn’t depend on whether a joke is funny or not. Much has been made of the smugness and tediousness of the offending Russell Brand radio show but if Brand and Ross’s antics had simply been funnier would that have made it alright? Censored comedy isn’t only restricting the comedian, it’s insulting the audience. It’s suggesting that they cannot be trusted with anything slightly edgy without fainting with insult and putting the complaints department on speed dial. Like confused children they need comedy that confirms their safe view of the world and pats them gently on the head. You wouldn’t expect that from any other art form so why comedy? The result will be comedy that no one really cares about not least the comedians themselves. It’s also important to note, how last year’s controversy quickly turns into today’s classics. I personally remember the hoopla fifteen years ago, in Ireland that surrounded the first episode of “Fr. Ted”. Now they have an annual “Father Ted” Festival. I think they should have got Anthea Turner of Cliff Richard to replace Ross, then after a while a bit of inappropriate sexual banter, even full on sexual assault from Wossy would seem like halcyon days.I was not, you may not be surprised to hear, at The Comedy Awards and I’m glad. I hate parties, almost as much as I loathe night clubs and I have a suspicion, if they are honest, the majority of people do too. If I said to you that I loved the cinema, but I insisted on having four pints, two JD and cokes and ten shots of sambuca before I sat foot in a multiplex, then couldn’t remember anything, you’d think, how weird ?why doesn’t Gráinne know she hates the bloody place? Clubs are boring, seedy, sweaty taverns of tedium, deliberately made as mindboggling depressing as possible, so you need to get as wasted as possible to survive the experience. What I find confusing is the meticulous effort made my young women, dancing stiffly in shoes that are to dancing what cement boots are to swimming, to go to a dark, sweaty place, full of temporarily drink blinded people, yet tomorrow, will be wandering around in the glaring daylight sun, make up free, not a care in the world. The whole experience is sold on a lie. Just as top designers make their money from people paying for their branded perfume when they can’t afford their couture clothes, the minimum waged workers splurge on ten pound cocktails at name nightclubs, assured for at least one night, that they are living the dream. I think clubs should come with a disclaimer, spoilt nineteen year old girls will elbow you all night, dodgy old men will try to dry hump you, you will feel both guilty and annoyed by the lady selling toiletries in the ladies (why should I give you fifty pence for handing me a hand towel?- Gráinne- she probably got into this country in the back of a truck, give her fifty measly pence). My personal nadir occurs when the dj finally plays a song you adore only for you to immediately start hating it on seeing a floor full of boozed bankers sing along to every word. Thanks for ruining The Killers for me guys...Forget about going out, it’s safer to stay in. Although, I would like to take this opportunity to air a few concerns I have about “The Sound of Music” everybody’s favourite St.Stephen’s day/ Boxing Day treat. The film equivalent of a stuffing and brown sauce sandwich has some inconsistencies that have always troubled me. Maria is told that the children are a nightmare and the reason the nannies never last. Yet on arrival it becomes obvious the children are a delight and the Captain is hitting on her before she has time to take off her wimple. I’ve a feeling there’s another reason why the Von Trapps can’t keep a nanny and it’s nothing to do with the kids not wanting a nanny. It’s the quiet ones you have to look out for, at least with Russell Brand, you know what you’re getting...

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