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Rob Newman: anyone else here a fan of his post 2000 work & career arc?

Started by tribalfusion, January 12, 2022, 07:04:43 PM

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Would you describe yourself as someone who thinks well of Rob Newman's post-2000 comedy?

Yes definitely
4 (19%)
Yes somewhat
11 (52.4%)
No; I noticed a name I don't like in his Twitter follows
0 (0%)
No; I noticed more than one name I don't like in his Twitter follows
1 (4.8%)
I don't really care about ideas or comedy, I just like talking about TERFs
5 (23.8%)

Total Members Voted: 21

tribalfusion

With all the Baddiel noise circulating these days (including in a lengthy thread right here), I thought it might be nice to have a thread about Rob here.

I think his transformation from his early years to what he became post 2000 is one of the biggest overhauls I've seen from a comedian who had achieved significant success in the industry.

It's also noteworthy because unlike some comics who have tended to become more conservative as time has gone by, quite the opposite has occurred in Newman's case.

The main issue I have is that I don't get to see all that much comedy from him these days (I don't live in the UK so I only see what makes it online or into recorded form in general).

Any other fans on here and any thoughts in general on him and his work?


Shit Good Nose

I've mentioned several times on here before I was dragged by a mate (who was/is a massive Newman fan) to see him do one of his poetry shows in a very small pub in Bristol.  Most of those who paid the £5 (or was it £10?  Can't remember now) on the door to see him (and there weren't many) left in the first twenty minutes and by the end there were only about five people (including me and my mate) still there.  Genuinely one of the most toe curling, fist chewing and downright embarrassing live events I've ever attended.  That being said, we both felt sorry for him (it's not as if he was being a prick or rude to the audience or anything, just very very poor poetry) and bought him a drink.  We chatted for a bit and he was very pleasant, but really didn't want to talk about MWE or Baddiel.

Also his History of Time Backwards thing was blatantly ripped off from Time Trumpet.

So, in answer to the question - no.


EDIT - forgot to add that I now know the poetry thing was short-lived and not entirely representative of his usual material.  History thing was still duff though, IMO.

DrGreggles

That Oil show was great, and the WiP he did in 2019(?) was really strong.

Only solo stuff I've seen from him though.

bgmnts


j_u_d_a_s

Sadly he follows quite a lot of TERF and TERF adjacent accounts on twitter. Which is a shame because he was one of my heroes growing up and was definitely the better half of his double act with Baddiel.

tribalfusion

Quote from: DrGreggles on January 12, 2022, 07:24:43 PMThat Oil show was great, and the WiP he did in 2019(?) was really strong.

Only solo stuff I've seen from him though.


Yep History of Oil I thought was fantastic and very politically astute. There's also from Caliban to the Taliban which picks up where that one left off which I thoroughly enjoyed as well.

tribalfusion

Quote from: j_u_d_a_s on January 12, 2022, 08:04:21 PMSadly he follows quite a lot of TERF and TERF adjacent accounts on twitter. Which is a shame because he was one of my heroes growing up and was definitely the better half of his double act with Baddiel.

I haven't seen him approve of anything having to do with that. He also follows a lot of very left accounts as well on Twitter for whatever that is worth.

j_u_d_a_s

Quote from: tribalfusion on January 12, 2022, 08:58:26 PMI haven't seen him approve of anything having to do with that. He also follows a lot of very left accounts as well on Twitter for whatever that is worth.

So... he only follows accounts he agrees with?

In any case if he's not said anything about trans rights yet follows a load of TERF accounts, I'm going to err on the side of him being at the very least friendly with their ideology. Again I say this as a fan of his work.

peanutbutter

His followings seem like a pretty bizarre bunch on the whole. I don't see any terf leaning in the ones near the bottom (i.e. the most recent ones) which you'd imagine there would be if he was at all in that wormhole? Seeing a few in the middle though so he may have dabbled and backtracked?

I liked the oil one, not sure I'd think much of it now.



When scrolling through his followers I saw Iannucci and was wondering how I haven't seen him on twitter in ages, assumed I must've muted him but apparently not. Shite from Iannucci and Schnieder used to find its way into my feed regularly.

Bigfella

Heard some of his radio stuff.  Some heavily laboured gags but he has a charming inventive nature which makes it worth the effort.  I'm going to keep an eye out for cheap DVDs of his stand up.

ProvanFan

He introduced me to Magritte as a six year old. Didn't shape me as a person or anything, but it happened.


The Culture Bunker

I got to interview him many years ago, 2003 I think, after he did a gig in some tiny room in Soho and he was really lovely, obviously very passionate about the political side of things. This must have been around he had that 'Fountain at the Centre of the World' book out. I was about 22 myself at the time, trying not be starstruck as '... In Pieces' was maybe the first comedy show I remember really enjoying (that or 'The Smell of R&M', whichever came out first) but I made an effort to barely mention that and MWE and focus on what he was doing - he seemed slightly impressed that I knew who the Durutti Column were and commented that I looked a bit like Vini Reilly, which I probably did back then, being 6ft 5 tall and 10 stone.

I saw him again a few times over the years and it seemed his career was back on the up - played to a full house with Mark Thomas at the Salford Lowry in 2005, another good turnout at Bury Met around 2011, but the last time, maybe three or four years ago, he had about 20 turn up to see him in Manchester. During it, he mentioned he had a kid these days, and I wondered whether his audience were in the same point and, combined with years of Tory rule, just couldn't face comedy routines about anything even slightly political.

Favourite comedy bit of his: talking about Richard Burton being banned by the BBC for critical comments about Churchill and doing a spot on impression of the man being unable to make love to Elizabeth Taylor due to rage at being denied his rightful role on Hi-de-Hi by that "scab bastard Paul Shane".

I do hope he's not gone down that TERF road - that would be pretty depressing.

Pimhole

Quote from: peanutbutter on January 13, 2022, 02:05:53 AMHis followings seem like a pretty bizarre bunch on the whole. I don't see any terf leaning in the ones near the bottom (i.e. the most recent ones) which you'd imagine there would be if he was at all in that wormhole? Seeing a few in the middle though so he may have dabbled and backtracked?

The ones near the bottom are the oldest follows. Twitter shows you mutuals first, then most recent follows.

So he's been following all the main ones for quite a while and seemed to follow them in a big batch (pic), then you've got recent follows like LGB Alliance, Malcolm Clark, Maya Forstater and the like, who basically only post transphobia and post a lot. And seems to follow zero trans people or prominent allies, so it's not a "keeping tabs on both sides" thing like Mary Beard. His timeline must be an absolute sewer.



I also quite liked the oil thing at the time but that was 16 years ago now. Tried his Radio 4 stuff but couldn't get into it.

icehaven

I last saw him live about 8-10 years ago in Brighton so there was a pretty good turnout, can't remember what show it was but it was enjoyable enough. In the mid 90s in Pieces was one of the first comedy shows I'd loved and me and my best friend at the time must have watched the live at Wembley video a hundred times.

I also remember absolutely loving his novel Manners and it set me off reading novels by comedians (which has had wildly varying returns over the years so cheers for that Rob), but I've never reread it as I have a sneaking suspicion I wouldn't love it as much as I did then. There's one bit in it where the main protagonist, a policeman, describes seeing Mick Jones from The Clash in the street while on duty and approaches him to tell him how much he loved the band and how much impact they had on him, only for Jones to sneerily reply "Where did we go wrong?" I always wondered if that was based on a real encounter (not Newman's own obviously) so if anyone else meets him at a poorly attended show could you check, cheers.

Petey Pate

I've only seen him live once, but he pretty much died on his arse. It was at a benefit gig for a charity for orangutans that Bill Bailey was headlining, and I got the impression that much of the audience was sat there thinking 'where's Bill?'. Paul Foot was on before him and also went down badly, though I found him really funny (long routine about why living rooms should be known as the 'slowly dying room'). Newman on the other hand wasn't so great, doing an almost joke-free set devoted to debunking Richard Dawkins' The Selfish Gene, which later became the basis of a Radio 4 series he did.

peanutbutter

Quote from: Pimhole on January 13, 2022, 08:51:19 AMThe ones near the bottom are the oldest follows. Twitter shows you mutuals first, then most recent follows.
Pretty sure they flipped it around a few months ago, after mutuals you've oldest follows and the newest ones are last.

That 6 all at once isn't great but his followings as a whole are quite bad, I've no clue how active he is in on twitter but I'd guess not very just on the incoherency of the list I saw. Can imagine the terf crew just being way more visible on his social circles than any prominent allies?
Regardless of whether he's a terf or not, I'd say his twitter followings do say something or another about him, like regardless of his political leanings he's operating in a bit of a bubble of his own that maybe in the 90s was just unavoidable but now leaves him seeming like a bit of a weird irrelevant outlier.

dissolute ocelot

Quote from: peanutbutter on January 13, 2022, 10:33:59 AMThat 6 all at once isn't great but his followings as a whole are quite bad, I've no clue how active he is in on twitter but I'd guess not very just on the incoherency of the list I saw. Can imagine the terf crew just being way more visible on his social circles than any prominent allies?
Regardless of whether he's a terf or not, I'd say his twitter followings do say something or another about him, like regardless of his political leanings he's operating in a bit of a bubble of his own that maybe in the 90s was just unavoidable but now leaves him seeming like a bit of a weird irrelevant outlier.


He just seems to use Twitter for self-advertising with the occasional campaigning thing, but is definitely not active on it. Certainly not good to be following a bunch of hatemongers, but I can't find any evidence that he has an opinion on trans issues (beyond a joke about Eddie Izzard getting paid less as a woman, which Mumsnet got excited about but isn't really evidence of TERFery).

Pimhole

Maybe he has a 'assistant' for twitter. Or maybe it was a series of middle-aged moments.

tribalfusion

I can't believe this has turned into a very strange and partial examination of people Rob follows on Twitter, an app he barely uses and where he hasn't made a single comment about the topic which seems of so much interest to a few people here. I guess it's time to compile some of Rob's other follows on Twitter and we can put them on the scales and see if he's a witch.



Bristol Rad History
Kontext TV
Tribune
English Radical History
Richard Seymour
Edward Snowden
Lesbianandgaynews
Kate Aronoff
Philosophy of Science Journal
History of Philosophy of Science Journal
Hilary Wainwright
Philosophers for Sustainability
Faiza Shaheen
Julia Salazar
Autonomous Design Group
Adam Tooze
Claire Hymer (Novara)
Bertrand Russell Society
People & Planet
Double Down News
Sunrise Movement
Left Anchor
Public Citizen
Jason Hickel
Mariana Mazzucato
Molly Crabapple
Grace Blakely
AOC
David Graeber
Jacobin
Buletin of the Atomic Scientists
Vandana Shiva
Richard Wolff
CND
Daily Radical History
Novara Media
Ash Sarkar
Naomi Klein

 

j_u_d_a_s

Have to ask, would you give someone the benefit of the doubt when you found out they followed Richard Spencer?

tribalfusion

Quote from: j_u_d_a_s on January 13, 2022, 08:56:41 PMHave to ask, would you give someone the benefit of the doubt when you found out they followed Richard Spencer?

Sure. I've followed people I don't like at all because I am interested in reading them and seeing what's going on. If he hypothetically followed almost ONLY Spencer or those like Spencer that would be different (and JK Rowling, whatever I think of her isn't Spencer either for that matter)

But we are talking about a guy who also follows all of these and more:


Bristol Rad History
Kontext TV
Tribune
English Radical History
Richard Seymour
Edward Snowden
Lesbianandgaynews
Kate Aronoff
Philosophy of Science Journal
History of Philosophy of Science Journal
Hilary Wainwright
Philosophers for Sustainability
Faiza Shaheen
Julia Salazar
Autonomous Design Group
Adam Tooze
Claire Hymer (Novara)
Bertrand Russell Society
People & Planet
Double Down News
Sunrise Movement
Left Anchor
Public Citizen
Jason Hickel
Mariana Mazzucato
Molly Crabapple
Grace Blakely
AOC
David Graeber
Jacobin
Buletin of the Atomic Scientists
Vandana Shiva
Richard Wolff
CND
Daily Radical History
Novara Media
Ash Sarkar
Naomi Klein




Quote from: tribalfusion on January 13, 2022, 08:24:31 PMI can't believe this has turned into a very strange and partial examination of people Rob follows on Twitter,

you almost exclusively post about the political views of assorted comedians but can't believe your thread has turned into an examination of someone's beliefs?

tribalfusion

Quote from: Stone Cold Steve Austin on January 13, 2022, 10:17:28 PMyou almost exclusively post about the political views of assorted comedians but can't believe your thread has turned into an examination of someone's beliefs?

Except it isn't an 'examination of his beliefs'

It's a discussion of a few people he has followed on Twitter which draws unsubstantiated conclusions from those while abstracting from the many, many other follows and what those might say if we want to pretend to know what someone believes from a list of Twitter follows (a very inexact exercise at best)

The fact that I have to spell that out is a bit sad.

ProvanFan


somersetchris

If he's following LGB Alliance and a load of terfs it's not 'unsubstantiated conclusions' because that's literally the substance.

You don't follow LGB Alliance by accident. Even if he doesn't use Twitter, when he did use it he decided these were the people he wanted to hear from. And if you've ever seen any of their timelines, they are single-issue posters.

DrGreggles

Maybe he was researching them for a 'bit' or a book? He's never commented on it either way, so jumping to conclusions doesn't help anyone.
Following someone on social media doesn't mean you agree with them. A lot of us are all over BC on numerous platforms, for example - sometimes under several names.

j_u_d_a_s

Quote from: DrGreggles on January 14, 2022, 12:46:58 AMMaybe he was researching them for a 'bit' or a book? He's never commented on it either way, so jumping to conclusions doesn't help anyone.
Following someone on social media doesn't mean you agree with them. A lot of us are all over BC on numerous platforms, for example - sometimes under several names.

Why is this easier for you to believe than him following TERF accounts is due to him being, at the very least, sympathetic to their position? Yes, granted, he hasn't said anything about trans issues publicly but in lieu of him clarifying his position, the evidence ain't great.

bgmnts

Not really arsed about him following some divs on twitter he hasnt gone mega glinner it might just be random follows.

Totally forgot about his radio 4 thing. I dont remember it except it being maybe a series of thought experiments? I remember listening to it on the BBC radio 4 app thing though. I must have liked it a bit. But yeah two decent shows and a random radio 4 show that wasn't that funny. Not the best return for presumably the better half of the biggest comedy act of the early 90s.

tribalfusion

Quote from: somersetchris on January 14, 2022, 12:37:02 AMIf he's following LGB Alliance and a load of terfs it's not 'unsubstantiated conclusions' because that's literally the substance.

You don't follow LGB Alliance by accident. Even if he doesn't use Twitter, when he did use it he decided these were the people he wanted to hear from. And if you've ever seen any of their timelines, they are single-issue posters.

If that's all you took from the long list I just posted, then I think you're a single issue poster and not terribly coherent either from the looks of it. I'll post them again:



Bristol Rad History
Kontext TV
Tribune
English Radical History
Richard Seymour
Edward Snowden
Lesbianandgaynews
Kate Aronoff
Philosophy of Science Journal
History of Philosophy of Science Journal
Hilary Wainwright
Philosophers for Sustainability
Faiza Shaheen
Julia Salazar
Autonomous Design Group
Adam Tooze
Claire Hymer (Novara)
Bertrand Russell Society
People & Planet
Double Down News
Sunrise Movement
Left Anchor
Public Citizen
Jason Hickel
Mariana Mazzucato
Molly Crabapple
Grace Blakely
AOC
David Graeber
Jacobin
Buletin of the Atomic Scientists
Vandana Shiva
Richard Wolff
CND
Daily Radical History
Novara Media
Ash Sarkar
Naomi Klein


So with a list like that with loads of left and radical follows and without even introducing a single actual comment from Newman, you're willing to slam the guy.

You're welcome to it but anyone who would do that is not doing so based on anything like evidence and reason.