Two and a bit weeks to go and work not really started. Good to see the government treat Brexit the same way that I do writing scripts. Theresa May is probably spending today tidying her desk and sorting plugs and leads she’ll never again use into boxes. And thinking about clearing out the drain outside her kitchen, but then not doing it.
A lovely and fascinating evening of RHLSTP tonight with two guests who have found comedy and empowerment in the circumstances life has thrown at them, Matt Lucas and Rosie Jones. But are mainly just inappropriate and funny little fuckers.
It was lovely to see Matt again. It’s been maybe a decade or more since our paths last crossed (I did his radio show, “And the Winner Is”, but before that I had worked on the third series of Little Britain (though my contribution was negligible - script editing at a point when both stars knew exactly what they wanted to do) and bumped into each other a fair deal during the 90s. I’d been listening to his audio book all day and was still listening when I walked out of the toilet to find him sitting in the dressing room. Not that it was a big surprise that he was there, just weird to go from him talking to me all day to me suddenly being able to talk back.
He’s a very sweet man (though as his autobiography demonstrates with occasional enjoyable moments when he can be an idiot - I love the fact that he has been able to step back and give as honest an appraisal of himself as it’s possible for the subject to do) and we shared some not for broadcast stories back stage before heading out into the theatre for lots of fun, but also some serious self-analysis. The strength of RHLSTP is that guests have the time and space to fully dissect a subject and Matt was very interesting about the ways that the changing comedy tastes of the last decade and a half have caused Little Britain to be reappraised. It’s a very complex issue, but I think we gave a good go of examining it from all angles. Ultimately I believe that we need to be having conversations with each other about all this stuff rather than manning the social media barricades and shouting at each other. But Matt is a sensitive man and comedians generally think very hard about the effects of what they’re doing. But you can’t foresee the future or all possible reactions. And in any case not everyone will react the same - comedy will produce positive and negative effects that are beyond your control.
Rosie Jones is pretty new to the performing side of the comedy world and I am usually a bit nervous about getting new comics on too early, but having seen her perform I knew she’d be a spectacular guest and she judged the mood exactly right. She managed to occasionally shock me, which is quite an achievement, but we discussed the importance of context. Often whether a joke is truly offensive is not about what is being said, but who says it and this sweet looking disabled woman can get away with things and make them hilarious, which in the hands of someone else would be awful. I believe Barry Cryer once said that whether you get offended by a comedian is often down to whether you like the person telling the joke. Rosie is cheeky and naughty and incredibly likeable, but also strong on disabled representation and rights. Usually the show finishes at about 10.20 these days, but tonight we were kicking out at much closer to 11. I was exhausted (and still had to drive home) but very happy with what we’d recorded.
Also both guests have had supernatural experiences. So that’s a bonus.