Monday 3 November 2014

The joke is on Frankie Boyle

Here we have Frankie Boyle whining in the Grauniad, now that Farage has called out comedy panel shows as biased against Ukip. I don't think there is a particular bias against Ukip. It goes much deeper than that. The BBC is out of touch. More so than ever.

I don't especially mind that TV and radio comedy is basically a platform for sneering left wingers. It has always been that way and one is not in the habit of shouting at the sky for being blue. And let's not pretend for a moment that the Now Show, News Quiz and the likes aren't sniveling leftist propaganda shows who can barely conceal their contempt for the working classes. I don't even mind that either. TVs and radios have off switches.

What irks me though is the waste of air space that could be filled by talented comedians. Good comedy has always been counter-establishment. Back in the days of Thatcher we had Ben Elton and a whole host of lefty comedians ripping into the government. But now they are the establishment. The soft-left, social democrat consensus is the establishment and has been for a while - and mainstream comedy hasn't woken up to that. The Tories are hardly what you would call red meat conservatism so digging up the old leftism for another spin round the block just isn't going to cut it.

There are a few sparky originals like Doug Stanhope and Steve Hughes who are broadly libertarian - and they're really funny. But leftist comedy is tired, hackneyed, dull, unoriginal, anachronistic, unimaginative and grossly conformist to the point of nausea.

It's not that BBC and liberal comedy is left wing that bothers me. It's just that they, especially Frankie Boyle, are just not funny. They take themselves far too seriously - as though we should laugh - but really take their boring lefty mantras as genuine political commentary. To which my answer is, get over yourselves you pompous arses. You are completely out of touch and far leftism is actually a much smaller audience than you think.

You can't get away with making George Bush and Thatcher the punchline to every joke. Comedy has to innovate and it has to tweak the nose of orthodoxy. And Frankie Boyle's narrative couldn't be more conformist orthodox if he tried. Were it the 70's and Citizen Smith were still en-vogue, he might have a salvageable career, but this strikes me as petulance from a seriously naive and lamentably dull man who fancies himself as a comedian.

There's plenty about Ukip to laugh at, and Farage is an object of comedy all by himself, but sneers are not witty and cocking a snook at anyone who doesn't subscribe to your worldview isn't insightful satire either. They've lost the plot and their heads are so far up their own arses they can't even see it.

Boyle complains that:
"The idea of an increasing liberal, left-leaning bias in TV comedy seems to ignore all evidence. It’s harder than ever to get a joke on television about Britain’s wars, or US foreign policy. "
That's because it's all been done to death ten years ago and it's not very funny. But he'd rather see it as conspiracy because he can't entertain the notion, even for a moment, that he's not remotely creative or funny. Truly innovative counter establishment comedy forces its way to the front. So much so even the BBC can't ignore it. So if they're ignoring poor Frankie, he should look closer to home.

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