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On stuff that’s funny

14th September 2008

Are you like me? I don’t mean handsome, debonair and unflinchingly honest about yourself. No. I mean are you fed up with the astonishing lack of quality comedy on British television? You’re not? Really? Well I am. Fed up, that is. With British comedy. Fed up to the hilt. Force-fed up, if you like. Fed up squared. Squared on toast. Fed up squared on toast to the power ten (If you’ve just joined us we’re talking about being fed up with British comedy). So you see I’m fed up – and angry. Oh yes, I’m angry too. Perhaps I didn’t mention that before. But I’m angry. Very angry. Furious, in fact. F*cking furious. P*ssing sh*tting f*cking furious. It insults my intelligence, offends my sensibilities and if ever I have the misfortune to catch some by accident, it makes my elbows ache.

Now: there is nothing I would like more than to go into painstaking detail on this matter but I fear for all sorts of reasons this would be a mistake, not least because one day – maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon – I hope to write something for the BBC and I don’t need some busybody researcher coming across this blog during the commissioning stage, informing the Head of Comedy that I hate any number of shows they gave the nod to, being banished to Flitwick and having to eke out a living peeling potatoes for an unforgiving and cruel master named Archie.

Secret Reason for Rant

Truth be told one of the reasons for this mini-rant was to show you some funny stuff. I fear that, fed as we are a steady stream of mediocrity, some of us are in danger of forgetting just how funny proper funny can be. Here’s a reminder in the shape of a clip from The Goon Show featuring Spike Milligan and Peter Sellers.

(originally recorded for radio, the visuals have been added more recently)

And Now For Something Completey Different

I was recently approached by the editor of a new magazine to come up with a column idea. I replied, “a quarter to six” (I’m a little hard of hearing), then, realising my error, quickly followed this up with, “of course!”. The magazine is for private members clubs only – but not just any old private members clubs. Really swanky ones. The kind peopled by those who are rich, famous, trustfunded or connected beyond most of our comprehensions. I chewed it over, undertook some hands-on research and submitted it under the title, ‘Night Owl’. The editor liked it but he also, quite rightly, realised the problem inherent in trying to write such a piece. To be authentic it had to be by someone who knew that world. They had to be ‘in’. I was ‘out’. Since I was ‘out’ it couldn’t work. We agreed he should get someone like Mark Ronson to do it instead. Anyway since otherwise it would never have seen the light of day but would instead have slowly taken on a brownish hue festering away in the ‘My Documents’ folder of my lapdog, I thought I’d paste it below. I warn you though, it’s a bit rude. So if you’re family over 55 or my girlfriend’s mum, please don’t read it. Those that do and make it to the end will be rewarded by another comedy clip.

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Night Owl

“Are you free next Thursday?” “Yes,” said Dirty Pete. “Good. We’re on the guest list for the party of the century.” “Good,” said Dirty Pete. “Will there be ladies?” “Yes.” “Good,” said Dirty Pete. “I like ladies.”

I’ve known Dirty Pete for ten years. We used to flat together. Before that he was plain old ‘Pete’. I don’t know whether I should tell you why I added the ‘Dirty’. It’s pretty repellent and I’m uncertain whether I should foist it upon you, unbidden. Mmm. I know: I’ll write it really small. If you want to read it you’ll have to squint or even fetch a magnifying glass. That way you will have participated in your own corruption. Here goes:

We once had a party, Pete drank a bottle of sherry in five minutes, passed out, then during the night shat in the corner right next to my friend’s ear. Plus he’s really dirty in general. You know. Ladies and stuff.

Anyway on the Thursday in question Pete and I met outside Kensington High Street tube. “Is Kimberley Stewart going to kiss my winky?” he said. It was true that Miss Kimberley Stewart, daughter of Rod, was going to be present but the chances of her kissing his winky were, in my opinion, slimmer than the winky in question. “That’s what I’ve been telling everyone. That Kimberley Stewart will kiss it.” We sauntered around and found a bar for pre-drink drinks. “Check her out,” said Dirty Pete, raising his eyebrows in the direction of a busty brunette. “I wouldn’t mind thumbing her a lift. Tell me why we’re here again?” I explained to Pete that I was writing a brand new column for ******** Magazine and this was, shall we say, an evening of inspiration – and free Champagne. “Is it a strip club?” asked Pete. I was reminded of the occasion when, over four pints of Kronenberg, Pete persuaded me to go with him to Stringfellows where he spent the night trying to convince the dancers he was the director of a modelling agency, whilst every five minutes cupping my ear and whispering, “I know what you’re going to say but I really think this one likes me…”

It was Time

After a couple of sharpeners we were off down the high street, our booze-enhanced swagger crowding the pavement as we boisterously guffawed our way to the venue. “This is it then,” I said. “Tally-ho,” said Pete. I checked in with the doorman. “Mr Wordsworth, we’ve been expecting you. Come this way.” He led us down to the club – a club of such gargantuan chandeliers that I bumped into DJ Shadow as I stared up at them – and to our own table, complete with Krug on ice. “This is the life, ain’t it?” I said. “Where are the girls?” replied Pete. Pretty soon he was rewarded as a succession of beauties turned up. Each one outdid the last, culminating in the arrival of an astonishingly tidy young blonde. “F*ck me,” observed Pete, “she’s so hot she’d melt my cock.”

As the evening progressed we became drunker and the atmosphere increasingly debauched. There was a heady concoction in the air, a mixture of fresh lilies, sweat and sexual possibility. “I’m a speech writer for Barack Obama,” I heard Pete say to the girl with the melting potential. “You’re very pretty. Who are you here with?” She smiled and pointed towards an equally stunning, leggy blonde. “Her name’s Kimberley.” Pete nudged me, winked and said, “Watch this.” He stood up and walked arm in arm with melting girl towards Kimberley. After whispering in Kimberley’s ear for what seemed like an eternity, she took his available arm and the three of them disappeared from view in the general direction of the private room. Almost immediately Heidi Klum came and sat next to me. We chatted for over half an hour and I made her laugh out loud 31 times. At the end she wrote her number on my hand. “Call me,” she said, and kissed me on the cheek for a full five seconds. Pete returned and sat in Heidi’s place. “So,” I enquired, flushed with my own successes, “did Kimberley kiss it then?” “No,” he replied. “But her friend did.”

The Truth

OK. Now do you want to know what really happened? We left the bar – OK, it was more of a pub than a bar. And boy, it was a miserable pub, full of miserable people. Pete hadn’t eaten and was already complaining of indigestion. “It’s number 63-65 High Street, right?” “Right. So it must be on the other side.” We crossed over “Here’s 61-63,” said Pete. “So 63-65 must be the next one.” We walked five paces and looked up. We were outside a department store. Confused, we walked back the other way, then up and down for a further fifteen minutes. “I don’t understand,” said Pete. “It’s as if it’s in a secret location only those in the know know, you know?” I called them up. “We’re coming to your club tonight but we can’t seem to find you anywhere…” I received a haughty reply and turned to Pete. “Jesus, apparently they’re not even open until 11pm.” It was 8:30. “We are on the guest list, you know. Can’t we just…we can’t? Oh. OK. Thanks.”

We looked at each other. “I can’t stay out til then,” said Pete. “I’ve got a 9am in Dorking. Plus the wife will wonder where I am.” (oh yeah, Pete’s married). “You’re right,” I said. “I myself have to cycle to Canterbury the day after tomorrow, for charity. As you know Pete I do a lot of good work for charity. I guess we’re going to have to call it a day.” And with that we shook hands and parted.

The following morning I awoke with a disappointingly clear head. I reached down and checked my phone. There was a text message from Pete: It read: “stopped off at stringflws on way home. didn’t get in til 4. wife utterly pist with me. was worth it tho. think i’m in there with one of them”.

(The End)

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Well Done

You made it this far. You are one of the chosen few. As promised one more clip. This is from Comic Relief c.2002. Comedy gold.

Velly funny, n’est pas? I think so anyway. That’s all for this week. Nice of you to drop by. Take care – and don’t have nightmares.