It's been slim pickings for radio 4 comedy at the moment, so I've had scrape the bottom of the BBC sounds barrel for things to listen during my runs. And the gunk coming into my eats is Call Jonathan Pie. Extending the YouTube character to a radio show.
The set up is a bit like Down The Line, except they don't have material to do something like that, so we get the bits of the behind scenes so we hear Pie talking to his crew during the travel etc. It's broadly topical; I think it's running on Radio 4 at the moment, but was fully released a couple of months ago on BBC Sounds. So the topics are broadbrush.
I think what makes it so nauesting to listen to, is that the whole set up is set with Pie being right everything. His centrist views, that both sides of the political divide are as bad as each other, that middle is the one true way, are constantly affirmed. All the callers are strawmen who exist purely to galvanise his points. His assistants also play into this. Pie is occasionally humilated, but only because he's ultimately right. There's no playful characters like Down the Line. And the swearing becomes a tad juvenile at times. It's not completely without laughs, but it's threadbare.
Anyone else listened to this? I feel it may be deliberatly poorly promoted, so I wouldn't be surprised.
This idea, which would have seemed odd not all that long ago, has gained more currency in recent years in the United States, in particular, but also more than one might imagine in the rest of the English-speaking world.
There are many ways to interpret 'conservative' certainly, so feel free to discuss that. In any case, it's a question that I find intriguing and disturbing as well.
Some of you may recall a thread I started a while back about left-wing comedians as well. It was noteworthy that virtually all the suggestions for left-wing comedians were of veterans that had been around for quite some time. Almost no one mentioned any avowedly left-wing comedians who had emerged in the past 5 or even 10 years.
Among other things, in the UK, I think the tepid political characteristics (I'm being generous) of the comedy scene, were highlighted by the various responses (and lack thereof in many cases) to the Corbyn slander campaign, with very few noteworthy exceptions like Alexei Sayle and Josie Long. Even CAB favorite James Acaster said some rather obtuse things politically during that period of time, to say nothing of some of the other liberal stalwarts.
More generally, people like Russell Brand, Louis CK and Dave Chappelle have become various shades of putrid, and they are not alone of course.
Of course, many comedians are 'socially liberal', as the saying goes, however that's very thin gruel and I wonder about some general tendencies in the stand-up world moving forward.
Channel 4 have scheduled a 90 min long Dispatches special with no announced subject yet for Saturday night. Rumour mill's been turning a bit about this over the past day or so.
Could be related to a "big story" that the Sunday Times are also supposedly dropping, could be an apparent exposé of many prominent late 80s/90s/00s comedy types for Me Too-adjacent sleaze and other wrongness.
Or it could just be an overdue final death knell for Dan Wootton by the mainstream. Who knows?
Jesus Christ, it's really fucking brilliant, isn't it?
It just struck me a few weeks ago how insanely good it was, and I had an urge to watch it again now. Lots of stuff I'd never fully appreciated before or which just flew past me like "may contain wine", "Beyonce is my spirit animal", a bobblehead of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
I'm just here to sort of fill in at the start of the day to pad the day out, because there's not much going on. Steve Barclay seems to have sorted out the crisis in general practice by deciding that you can't have a crisis in general practice if general practice doesn't exist.
He also seems to realise that you can tell patients anything because he's not going to be here in 18 months to carry the can. In fact, Wes Streeting is going to have to do that. He's going to have to answer to the service, which will at that time be carried out by Superdrug and children with stethoscopes.
Katie phoned me up and she said, 'Hello, I'm Katie Bramall-Stainer [UK LMCs Conference chair], and I think that Matt Hancock should have his eyes pulled out through Andrew Lansley's arse'. She said, 'I'm chairing the LMC conference and you will be saying a few words at the start.'
And I said, 'Okay, but really, what can I usefully say to a room full of doctors? I don't know anything that they don't know. I can't do that. I'm like a Harley Street GP, I'm not properly qualified.'
She said to say something about being a patient from a patient's point of view. And I said, 'Well, okay, I still consider myself quite lucky because I hardly ever go to the doctor. I don't really feel like a patient.' Which was true at the start of the call.
Three hours later, I had ruptured eardrums. A nosebleed. I felt dizzy. I felt faint. I had stabbing chest pains. Breathlessness. It was very much like the time I phoned Babylon and they diagnosed trigger thumb.
Actually, I should say I'm worse than under-qualified to speak to you, because both of my parents were GPs. So my idea of your job is that all you have to do is say, 'Leave it alone, and it'll get better.'
I grew up in a rural practice in the early 1960s. The surgery was in the house, the practice phone rang in the kitchen. It was 24/7 care. At that point, it was a stressful life. My parents' standing orders – what they were paying out – was greater than their combined income, and across the country practices were dropping like flies. It was before The Family Doctor Charter of 1965. Of course, I understood very little about the stress of general practice at that stage, I was two. So one day, on a Sunday, everyone in church got some idea, because when the communion bell rang, I shouted out, 'Bloody phone!'.