Episode seven began with David Mitchell saying he would be hosting a debate on whether we should be able to sack MPs ‘if they seem lazy, or ugly, or just generally, twats.’ Charlie Brooker indicated that he’d be talking about hidden cameras – like the ones recording his private conversations each Wednesday evening – and Jimmy Carr said he’d be speaking about the Bilderberg group, with Rich Hall making an appearance doing stand-up.
It all sounded pretty promising. Rich Hall was a new addition and in Bilderberg Carr would have something interesting to talk about, something in fact that most of the media ignores. It didn’t quite work out that way though, as Carr barely spoke about the secretive meeting and Brooker had no Newswipe at all. Lauren Laverne in fact asked Brooker ‘if anything caught his eye this week,’ – prompting the hidden camera comments – rather than, as per-usual, what his Newswipe would be about.
It really is a problem for 10’Clock Live to lose its best bit by far, but I enjoyed the episode all the same. It is quite strange though that there was no Newswipe, considering Brooker was presumably okay – appearing on the show and all – and I would have thought he writes the bulk of the bit himself. If I was to guess, I’d say it was a legal thing, cut from the script at the last minute, but that is just a guess.
Week in Review
Carr made some jokes about the MPs lobbying scandal and Tulisa Contostavlos’ cocaine arrest, before discussing the necessity of the queen’s coronation because without it ‘there’d be millions of people watching a soap opera called street.’
The celebrations were deliberately low key ‘because the queen wants to keep her powder dry for Prince Philip’s funeral next week.’ Next, a joke about lesbians having ‘nut allergies,’ one about fines for driving offences – ‘Hundred pound fines for bad drivers? It’s a bit sexist,’ – and one about the elderly, with Carr saying ‘of course, a good way to warm up pensioners in winter is cremation.’
I was reading a Guardian article about 10 O’Clock Live this week and someone in the comments pointed out the problem with Jimmy Carr. His jokes are funny, but his controversial shtick sits uncomfortably alongside satire. Or, as the commenter wrote: ‘I think he’s often funny on the show, but he’s not needed. He’s not a satirist at all and he tends to trample all over the more thoughtful comments of the other three with his gay/rape/gypsy jokes.’ He does try and do more thoughtful material a couple of times an episode, but it’s just not his thing.
Roundtable on political sleaze
The hosts then sat down to discuss the politicians caught whoring themselves out to business. ‘I think if MPs were paid more they would not be grubbing around,’ Mitchell said, which as I pointed out last week, I completely disagree with. Carr made a nice visual gag, promoting a Fijian bottle of water, and Brooker said we should get a Kickstarter together to get an MP to ask ‘who’s the biggest, most corrupt shit in here.’
They showed a screenshot from a corrupt lord’s website where he compares credibility to virginity: once it’s gone you never get it back. This is what I’d like to see more of from 10 O’Clock Live – original research. Not to make the obvious Daily Show comparison, but that show is really good at this type of thing. As is, there’s too much content on 10 O’Clock Live that we’ve already seen online.
Rich Hall’s letter from America
This was good. They’ve found a new bit that works, I think. I’m not a big fan of Rich Hall, but I enjoyed it, and there was some actual satirical content. At best, it could be 10 O’Clock Live’s version of the Doug Stanhope bits on Brooker’s Newswipe (only not as good, because Hall is no Stanhope). If they changed it up, using different comedians each week, it would be even better, assuming they got the right people.
Hall said the ‘reason there isn’t a Daily Show in the UK is that there isn’t enough daily news… when I left Hugh Grant is pissed off and when I get back Hugh Grant is still pissed of.’ Outsiders can often have a fresh perspective on a country, and it’s good to see it here. This type of humour from a foreigner is actually kind of flattering though, sort of compliments wrapped up in gentle teasing. It’s like when British people talk about how we’re all miserable, cynical sods – it’s a kind of false criticism.
Hall went on to do some good stuff about terrorism, gun culture in the US, and advertising. It was a welcome addition to the show, and I’m glad they are doing new things.
Good Week/Bad Week roundtable
They spoke about Tulisa’s cocaine arrest, with Laverne saying ‘for legal reasons we can’t speculate on whether she’s guilty or not, but for a bit of context, David, as our pop music expert, can you give us a little bit of background?’
Mitchell decided to decline the debate and instead went off on an extended joke about the tricky legality of the discussion which is pretty funny. ‘All I really know about her is that we mustn’t speculate about her guilt or innocence. I am very much afraid that there are people at home now who are speculating as to her guilt or innocence. And those people are terrible people who are in contempt of court.’
(I wonder if that was the reason Brooker had no bit this week – because he spoke about Tulisa, and it had to be cut, hence Mitchell’s rant. Watch it back and you can see Brooker giggling, and Laverne closing by saying ‘and that’s that.’ This is pure speculation though, and I think I remember someone saying we’re not supposed to do that).
The badger cull is the next talking point, with Brooker getting some good lines in. ‘It’s a very high contrast animal. It’s easy to aim at from a distance,’ he said, adding that the cull isn’t actually a good thing for cows because they’re ‘still going to get a bolt in the forehead by a guy who’s probably listening to the new Daft Punk album on his iPod.’ They also showed a clip from a Brain May song protesting the cull.
Debate on recalling MPs
Mitchell introduced the debate with a great bit on Patrick Mercer, the MP in the lobbying scandal. The discussion was on whether or not people should be able to recall MPs, by which Mitchell didn’t mean ‘remembering who the hell they are but sacking them.’
Diane Abbott, the very annoying Labour and Hackney MP was against and Old Etonian Conservative MP Zac Goldsmith was in favour, a match of opinions and people so incongruous Mitchell wondered if he’d mixed his cards up.
It was an enjoyable discussion this week. Goldsmith made a lot of sense, which is annoying because he’s another son of a millionaire, Eton educated politician and I feel I should hate him on principle. Abbott’s arguments on the other seemed to be basically arguments against democracy. She has a very elitist view that supports reinforcing concentrated power. It’s the view of someone with a massive ego: ‘I must be allowed to have my brave and noble opinions without being voted out by my constituents, who aren’t as smart as me, bless them.’
Goldsmith argued against the idea that the system would be abused saying that ‘if you’re a half-way decent MP you should have built up enough political capital to survive a recall,’ and that there is not one example in the world of a recall later labelled vexatious.
It was interesting and well controlled by Mitchell. Some people really don’t like these bits but I enjoy them when Mitchell handles them properly, and he did here, before throwing to the adverts: ‘I present to you some products you can buy.’
The episode closed with a discussion on an absurd exam question, before we got the tiny bit about the Bilderberg meetings we were promised at the start. There’s a delegate there with the name Mustafa Koc – Chairman of Koc Holding. Mitchell said this was all part of the plan: ‘We get distracted from the fact that they run the world with their hilarious names.’
I wish they’d done a larger bit on Bilderberg. I saw someone online suggest that maybe there was no Brooker bit this week because he didn’t have any decent ideas, but surely he could come up with something about a secret meeting of the world’s most powerful people being held outside London while the media barely covers it (although, to be fair, since the meeting didn’t start till Thursday, it might have been difficult to do much more than a little bit).
Episode seven was the second last in the series. Next week’s episode is on at 10:30, and with the previous week containing further exposure of corruption in parliament, the Bilderberg meeting, and The Guardian’s revelations about mass spying by intelligence agencies and companies, it has the potential to end the series on a high.
- ‘We meet here for these private meetings…that guy there, behind that machine, could have a Smartphone in his pocket.’ ‘None of the people at the other tables seem to talk as much.’
- ‘No one knows what’s on the agenda [at Bilderberg] but I imagine pretty high up is ‘what the fuck are we doing in Watford.’’
- ‘I heard that Hampstead Heath was a hotbed of anonymous gay encounters. So I did a little bit of investigating, went up there, and you know what? Inconclusive; I’ve got to go back.’
- ‘‘I have an assault rifle because I’m an avid hunter.’ Really? How many deer are coming at you?’
- ‘People know the difference between what they see on screen and real life. Really? Then why is there advertising? You people will go out and buy insurance because a meerkat told you to do it.’
- ‘Patrick Mercer loves Fiji. The only problem is that he’s not MP for Fiji he’s MP for Newark. But maybe in Fijian politics there is a massive arsehole who’s forever going on about the hopes and dreams of the people of Newark. But Mercer has decided that his Fijian obsession has so consumed him that he’s now too shit a human being to be a member of the Conservative Party. Wow. I think that puts him in the category of people who Amnesty International says are allowed to be tortured.’
- ‘Do they do that in maths exams? ‘If it takes Jim 58 tugs to achieve orgasm and it takes Tommy 26 and they both set of at three how long will Tony be waiting on his knees patiently with his mouth open?’’