I was listening to Michael McIntyre on Radio 4’s Desert Islands Discs recently and was particularly moved by something he said about the vitriol aimed at him by some other comedians at an award ceremony he attended. He recalled how awful it was to have snide comments made about him in front of his wife.
I remember that evening well: I think it was the less successful Frankie Boyle (who else?) who started the ball rolling with derisive comments about Michael McIntrye and the camera shot to Michel McInytre’s table where you could clearly see him looking perplexed and asking his wife “what did he say?” and I think it was only clear to him at that moment that far from the lovely evening out for him and his wife that he had been invited to – he was about to experience the most awful discourtesy and worse, that no one would be policing that discourtesy.
I remember shouting at the TV (I know, its a dreadful habit as all who know me tell me constantly) “someone do something!” but of course no one did. It was all a big laugh wasn’t it? and at an awards ceremony the race is on to be the funniest isn’t it?
Its another blog really on why some other comedians see it as perfectly acceptable to publicly deride a clever, popular man like Michael McIntyre but suffice to say that I feel patronised by them when they attempt to tell me that I don’t really know comedy because I prefer Michael McIntyre’s warm, observant, clever, funny writing (and it is all his own I hear from an insider) than their snide, obscure, cruel, indulgent material.
However – to this blog i must return: It might be somewhat out of sync with the ethos of “funny at any cost” that permeates TV but someone should surely have policed this public discourtesy to Michael McIntyre – the people who invited Michael perhaps? Could you imagine inviting someone to your home and then standing back while other guests attempted to belittle and mock him?
I remember the same thing happening to Vivienne Westwood – again Frankie Boyle asked out loud, from the audience, “whose idea was it to have Vivienne Westwood appear with Pamela Anderson on the same stage?” with the clear insinuation that an older woman had no place on the same stage as the beautiful, younger Pamela Anderson. The fact that Vivienne Weswood saw no problem standing next to Pamela Anderson speaks volumes about the ugly assumptions of Frankie Boyle. Then, to my horror, Armando Iannucci, a writer I had always previously respected, added “its like a before and after…….” Still no one policed it, no one saw the discourtesy of inviting a talented, experienced, kind woman to an event and then to stand back and watch her being insulted without intervening. I was as disappointed that no one in the audience booed. Does all sense of integrity and decency fall away at the sight of a camera and a disco ball?
There is great talk among academics about how effective a shout of “stop!” can be when anti-social behaviour is carried out in communities – apparently if a group of onlookers stay silent it gives permission for the anti-social behaviour to continue but if they shout as a group that it is unacceptable, this can change the dynamic. Maybe the audiences and presenters at televised award ceremonies should be mindful of their collective responsibility when they are witness to such anti-social, discourteous behaviour under the glitzy ball: perhaps Jonathan Ross or Graham Norton could lead the way next time one of them is presenting at an awards ceremony?
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