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July 18, 2024, 06:41:13 AM

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Has Jim Davidson created the worst sketch show ever?

Started by Lewman, November 16, 2023, 10:31:40 PM

Previous topic - Next topic

MoreauVasz

This is just desperately desperately sad.

Davidson used to be on TV all the time but rather than freshen up his act, he's streaming from his front room with lower production values than depressed trans women who play video games for money.

I hope it was worth it Jim!

Terry Torpid

Quote from: MoreauVasz on November 20, 2023, 06:32:20 PMDavidson used to be on TV all the time but rather than freshen up his act

I don't think that the act, even if freshened up, would be good enough to keep him on the box. There are two problems, the bigoted attitudes that run throughout his work, and the fact he's just not very funny. Some of those old racist comedians at least had good timing, charisma, stage presence, or so the story goes. Davidson is just crap, regardless of PC considerations.

MoreauVasz

Quote from: Terry Torpid on November 21, 2023, 10:39:16 AMI don't think that the act, even if freshened up, would be good enough to keep him on the box. There are two problems, the bigoted attitudes that run throughout his work, and the fact he's just not very funny. Some of those old racist comedians at least had good timing, charisma, stage presence, or so the story goes. Davidson is just crap, regardless of PC considerations.

I remember him having a sitcom and I remember that he kept doing Chalky White every time someone stuck a microphone under his nose.

I remember that seeming racist even by the standards of the 1980s. You still had a lot of blackface on TV but Davidson seemed really old fashioned in believing that a shit Jamaican accent was enough to sustain a career.

Does anyone remember what his stand-up was like back then? my impression is that, like the comedians who were a bit older than him, he failed to change with the times, got incredibly resentful, and then leaned into being incredibly racist while playing to smaller and smaller and older and older audiences.

Mr Banlon

One of my old bosses was a friend of his through the Funny-Handshake Society. Every year at the company Christmas dinner we had to watch one of Jim's hilarious stand-up videos on a big-screen.
In one of Jim's routines, he talks about having sex with a trans sex worker in Thailand. He was moaning how her fanny wasn't quite right. Extraordinary.

Maurice Yeatman

Quote from: Terry Torpid on November 21, 2023, 10:39:16 AMI don't think that the act, even if freshened up, would be good enough to keep him on the box. There are two problems, the bigoted attitudes that run throughout his work, and the fact he's just not very funny.

A third problem is that the police don't go "Nick-Nick, Nick-Nick" these days like they always used to.

Ignatius_S

Quote from: MoreauVasz on November 21, 2023, 05:05:59 PMI remember him having a sitcom and I remember that he kept doing Chalky White every time someone stuck a microphone under his nose.

I remember that seeming racist even by the standards of the 1980s. You still had a lot of blackface on TV but Davidson seemed really old fashioned in believing that a shit Jamaican accent was enough to sustain a career.

Does anyone remember what his stand-up was like back then? my impression is that, like the comedians who were a bit older than him, he failed to change with the times, got incredibly resentful, and then leaned into being incredibly racist while playing to smaller and smaller and older and older audiences.

I think your memory is playing tricks - Davidson was in two sitcoms - Up The Elephant, Round the Castle and Home James, playing the same character, Jim London (geddit!?!?!). Both were very much family-friendly fare, very safe content wise and were decent enough vehicles for Davidson, who I think Thames were trying to push as a pretty respectable light entertainer. Given that the Beeb then poached Davidson to front the enormously successful gameshow, Big Break (and then The Generation), would say that was 'job done'.

Going from memory but Up The Elephant had an early evening timeslot and the sequel, a little later but not much.

Both series had decent writers; Colin Bostick-Smith, for example, who I don't think needs any introduction, but was one of the writers for Shelley (one of the greatest sitcoms to grace ITV), Not The Nine O'Clock News, Terry and June, The Two Ronnies, Me and My Girl (inoffensive, sucessful ITV sitcom starring Richard O'Sullivan) and, Alas Smith and Jones... and Metal Mickey.

Similarly, the supporting cast in both was very good - for me, John Bardon playing Jim's dad stole the first series (the  mother was played by the late, great Rosalind Kniight) - and really, they deserved to be in something better.

I can't recall Davidson doing the Chalky White voice in either (and have watched some episodes from both not that long ago) and although I would hesitant to state it didn't happen, it certainly wasn't as endemic as you're insisting. The set-up for Up The Elephant... was cheeky, lovable scamp, Jim playing cheeky, lovable scamp, Jim. There would be a monologue at the beginning before being beset by his feckless dad, nosey neighbour etc. with mildly amusing capers.

The claim about 'You still had a lot of blackface in TV' in the 1980s is bunk. For various reasons, things were moving in the opposite direction and this emphasises just what a sea change it was was in the mid-1990s when younger comedians, such as Reeves & Mortimer and David Baddiel used in on TV.

Regarding Davidson's stand-up, it was very much in keeping with a good amount of comedians that performed both on stage and television and had different sorts of sets for each medium. I recall being told about Mr Light Entertainment himself, Bob Monkhouse, going down like a lead balloon when doing a set of blue material at a nurses' Christmas do, which he'd been booked on the basis of his television appearances.

Towards the end of Davidson's time at ITV, there were live shows that were recorded for broadcast  - IIRC, there was a series of them, but in any case, it was rubbish. From what I remember, it was broadcast lat evening and aimed at an adult audience, however, nothing too rude or near the knuckle. The one joke I remember was one that ended the show and went on tediously - it was about an old woman who visits a sex shop and comments in surprise that there's a tartan sex toy and the owner replies that it's his Thermos flask; the Smith & Jones film adaptation of Wilt has the same joke, but it worked pretty well as it was delivered so snappily.

re:  your 'impression is that, like the comedians who were a bit older than him, he failed to change with the times, got incredibly resentful, and then leaned into being incredibly racist while playing to smaller and smaller and older and older audiences' - that's a false one, I would say and a horrible generalisation; also it doesn't really fit with Davidson as one may think.

The reality in show-business is not everyone will be able to change with the times or even if they are, people will still be interested. There are those understand that and accept it as part and parcel. I would say that Little & Large are a good example - when they discussed their career, their attitude was that 'we had a great innings and not everyone gets even that' and didn't sound bitter about it.

The remark of 'like the comedians who were a bit older than him, he failed to change with the times' smacks of ageism. Les Dawson, who will always be associated with the 'old guard' appeared at an open mic night at the Comedy Store during the height of Alternative Comedy and played a blinder; IIRC, according to Louis Barfe's biography, Lennie Bennett attempted the same with sadly not the same results. As Barfe observes, it's intriguing to think what would have happened had Dawson not passed away when he did. There will always be those who are able to adapt.

In the 1980s, for pretty much all of the decade, Davidson fronted shows on ITV and had plenty of various guest spots. The following decade he was fronted big rated game shows for the BBC then other BBC shows. 

Although people may only associate him with 'adult-only' pantomimes, Davidson produced family pantomimes as well and he had a large company - at one point, I have a feeling that his company was the largest pantomime company in the UK. (Going from memory, I think Davidson also produced the original production of Buddy, which ran here for over a decade.)  However, in the early 2000s, there were tax/finance problems and he had to divest himself of the company. This is roughly when his television career was stalling and increasingly got bad press. So basically, a lot of things going wrong, not just 'he couldn't change his act.

Fucked off to Dubai and came back.

Ignatius_S

Quote from: Terry Torpid on November 21, 2023, 10:39:16 AMI don't think that the act, even if freshened up, would be good enough to keep him on the box. There are two problems, the bigoted attitudes that run throughout his work, and the fact he's just not very funny. Some of those old racist comedians at least had good timing, charisma, stage presence, or so the story goes. Davidson is just crap, regardless of PC considerations.

His play, Stand Up and Be Counted, had potential and although it didn't get good reviews, various critics did comment positively over certain elements - including Davidson's performance. (FWIW, this Guardian interviewer seemed rather charmed by him - https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2011/mar/06/jim-davidson-stand-up-be-counted).

At the time, it sounded to me that really, he needed to hand the script over to someone else to iron the issues and that he had too much control over the production.

kngen

Quote from: Terry Torpid on November 21, 2023, 10:39:16 AMI don't think that the act, even if freshened up, would be good enough to keep him on the box. There are two problems, the bigoted attitudes that run throughout his work, and the fact he's just not very funny. Some of those old racist comedians at least had good timing, charisma, stage presence, or so the story goes. Davidson is just crap, regardless of PC considerations.

I seem to remember he had a series* of stand-up concerts broadcast on BBC in the late 90s (in a similar slot to Live at the Apollo - could it have been some kind of contractual obligation forced on the Beeb after axing Big Break/Generation Game? It seemed very at odds with the attempts at inclusivity and multiculturalism the BBC was adopting at the time.)

They were quite eye-opening in terms of the paucity of his material - as much as I disliked him, I had, as Terry says above, presumed he could be lumped in with the old pros like Frank Carson, Bernard Manning and that lot. But fuck no, he stretched abysmal and abysmally meagre material to eye-watering lengths.

I have two abiding memories of these sets - one that started 'There was this thick Paddy/vermin refugee/some other minority punching bag (delete as appropriate) who walked into a pub ... (pause) Ladies and gentleman, isn't it great I can still say stuff like that in this day and age? All that political correctness nonsense can piss off (massive cheers from the audience - camera pans to a someone vaguely ethnic clapping along as if to say 'See? It's OK, folks!')

The other one, which I'm fairly sure was the following week, started, 'My old mate Jethro' ... and was a showcase of Jethro's jokes in the style of Jethro for what seemed like several hours. Very reminiscent of Bobby Davro doing Freddie Starr doing Hitler. Returns have rarely felt so diminished.

I wasn't surprised he was still the same racist arsehole that I remembered from my youth, but I don't think I was expecting just how shit a stand-up he was. So I put my foot through the TV and sent the SS Einsatzgruppen the bill.

*could have just been two, as that's how many I saw.

thenoise

Quote from: Ignatius_S on November 21, 2023, 08:59:29 PMSo basically, a lot of things going wrong, not just 'he couldn't change his act.

I thought it was around the time he stopped being Worshipful Master of the Chelsea Freemason's Lodge, after a fruity routine during a ladies night went down like a lead balloon.

Joking about beating his wife in his autobiography probably didn't help matters either.

The Bumlord

QuoteDavidson had downed several bottles of white wine and port with 23 of his guests on the top table before launching into his controversial one-man show.

QuoteFour-times married Davidson, who credits the Masons with helping him beat alcoholism



Ignatius_S

Quote from: thenoise on November 22, 2023, 09:34:27 PMI thought it was around the time he stopped being Worshipful Master of the Chelsea Freemason's Lodge, after a fruity routine during a ladies night went down like a lead balloon.

Joking about beating his wife in his autobiography probably didn't help matters either.

As I said, "However, in the early 2000s, there were tax/finance problems and he had to divest himself of the company. This is roughly when his television career was stalling and increasingly got bad press." That story was from that period so illustrates what I was saying.

I haven't read any of his autobiographies, so I would have to defer to your knowledge on that - although from what I've heard previously, he didn't joke about domestic violence but admitted it. However, when being interviewed by Piers Morgan 15 years or so, I believe he talked very flippantly and joked about claims by ex-wife (one of them) Alison Holloway.

There are various points in his career, where Davidson uses public confessional that often gave him some favourable press and personally, I feel that more than a few people have believed he's a reformed character (this time). Davidson's unexpected comeback with Celebratory Big Brother is a good example of that. Like so many things, it didn't last.

Terry Torpid

#72
Quote from: Ignatius_S on November 22, 2023, 09:53:47 PMalthough from what I've heard previously, he didn't joke about domestic violence but admitted it. However, when being interviewed by Piers Morgan 15 years or so, I believe he talked very flippantly and joked about claims by ex-wife (one of them) Alison Holloway.

Quote from: Wifebeating Bigot's AutobiographyOn the first occasion, I poked her in the eye by accident. I actually went for the mouth. Thank heaven I missed, I'd have fallen in. I just took a playful punch. Unfortunately I caught her completely wrong. The second time I gave her a shiner. I threw a bunch of keys which whacked her in the eye. Just for a giggle she kept blackening it up to make it look worse.

The bit about falling in could count as a "joke".

I mercifully didn't see his BB comeback attempt, but I did see him on some Gordon Ramsey celeb cooking contest thing, which included Brian Dowling who was on BB previously. Davidson was his usual caveman self, calling him a shirt-lifter and that kind of thing. The rest of the cast turned against Davidson, and he got the hump, acting like the victim because they were "discriminating" against him as a homophobe. Absolute crybully.

dissolute ocelot

I think the young Davidson had a certain cheeky charm, and he wasn't a bad-looking lad; he was good at creating a rapport with the audience on TV and presumably live. But a lifetime on the comedy circuit and the ravages of age mean he can't get by just on a smile and a wink, and has shown himself deficient both in character and humour. As to his success, he evidently also has a lot of ambition and drive, where a lot of people would have retired or gone into a less demanding career. But ambition and drive are not necessarily virtues, as a certain German with a dream of invading Poland found out.


gilbertharding

Basically he's the Bizarro Robin Asquith who signed a pact with the devil for a hugely successful Light Entertainment career but couldn't seem to accept it was over.

I mean, he might not have been bitter about it at first, but he certainly seems to be now.

thenoise

Quote from: Terry Torpid on November 23, 2023, 10:32:53 AMThe bit about falling in could count as a "joke".

There's the quote I remember. It's all pretty lighthearted isn't it? And the bit about her blacking up her eye to make it look worse. All very "women, eh?", hardly a mournful confession.

Ignatius_S

Quote from: Terry Torpid on November 23, 2023, 10:32:53 AMThe bit about falling in could count as a "joke".

I mercifully didn't see his BB comeback attempt, but I did see him on some Gordon Ramsey celeb cooking contest thing, which included Brian Dowling who was on BB previously. Davidson was his usual caveman self, calling him a shirt-lifter and that kind of thing. The rest of the cast turned against Davidson, and he got the hump, acting like the victim because they were "discriminating" against him as a homophobe. Absolute crybully.

Thanks for that! Do you know which one of his autobiographies that's from?

As I was was saying, I was going on what I have heard so good to see what exactly what was written. You're right about that being as an attempted 'joke' and he's clearly trying to make light of something, whilst passing it off as an accident... well, two accidents.

Re: that celebrity cooking show, that was one of the things that caused surprise when he won CBB, which was being seen as a Lazarus-like resurrection and garnered much positive (to varying degrees) press.

This Independent story - https://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/profiles/jim-davidson-the-unacceptable-face-of-comedy-emerged-this-week-as-celebrity-big-brother-s-surprise-winner-but-how-long-can-he-stay-out-of-trouble-9100367.html -  mentions what was credited to his (for want of a better word) appeal on the show and that idea of an 'older and wiser' Davidson had a lot of currency. This part of the article I found interesting - looking at factors affecting his popularity, someone commenting on his talent and that it was likely only a matter of time before this resurgence would falter:

QuoteAccording to the leading public relations consultant Mark Borkowski, it is this "wronged man" narrative, allied to some people's scorn for "political correctness", that has helped Davidson to turn round his career. "There was already sympathy for Davidson because he's been through a lot and Channel 5 had to drop him last year," Borkowski said. "He found a new, younger audience in the show because he's able to say things that someone a third of his age wouldn't get away with. It's likely that Richard Desmond wanted the channel to favour him and Channel 5 will be looking to structure new formats around Davidson."...

There remains frustration among Davidson's contemporaries that a brilliant comedy talent has been frittered away because of views that many people find objectionable. Bennett Arron, an award-winning stand-up who wrote for Davidson, recalled the star once telling a racist joke over drinks in the bar before recording a show. Bennett was appalled, but he recalled: "From the moment the first words appeared on the autocue he nailed it. Every punchline was perfect, every ad-lib very funny. I have never seen such incredible comedy timing."

Borkowski is sceptical about the longevity of Davidson's late bid for "national treasure" status. "Jim has dug a lot of graves for himself in the past," he said. "He is nitroglycerin – he could explode at any time." And while Desmond may have ambitious plans for Davidson, the bigger broadcasters may still steer clear.

Borkowski was spot on - and I would say, there was palpable sense of déjà vu. Now and then, there's a period of rehabilitation that then falls apart.

Ignatius_S

Quote from: gilbertharding on November 23, 2023, 04:07:46 PMBasically he's the Bizarro Robin Asquith who signed a pact with the devil for a hugely successful Light Entertainment career but couldn't seem to accept it was over.

I mean, he might not have been bitter about it at first, but he certainly seems to be now.

Yes, there are those that accept when careers have declined or need to be revised as part and parcel of show-business but Davidson never comes across as one.

I would agree that there's much more bitterness on display these days - and at time when most would be winding down their career.

Terry Torpid

Quote from: Ignatius_S on November 23, 2023, 06:20:22 PMThanks for that! Do you know which one of his autobiographies that's from?

Christ, I didn't know the annals of Davidson spanned multiple volumes! I've had a google and it looks like it's from The Full Monty (1994).

At first, I assumed the title was cashing in on the film (though I know it was an existing phrase) but that didn't come out till 1997.

Terry Torpid

Looking at his website, some of his DVD covers have an unsettling "porn parody" vibe.



QuoteMichael Parrish 07/12/2022
★★★★★

Good old fashioned entertainment at its best.



QuoteNicky 30/06/2023
★★★★★

I dont need to watch this to give it a review. Itl be fantastic. Just listening to jim advertising it, makes me laugh. Hes the best ever. Love yer Jim.


£12.95 £8.99
Introducing the ultimate USB Flash Drive for any Jim Davidson fan. With the ability to view your favourite Jim Davidson title from anywhere and at any time, this USB Flash Drive is the perfect accessory to take with you on the go. Whether you're lounging on the beach, travelling on a plane or train, or even just taking a taxi or bus journey, this convenient device has got you covered. There's no need for an internet connection, just plug in the USB and you're ready to go.

QuoteAlan Voltaire 27/09/2023
★✩✩✩✩

Was really excited to order my Ustreme USB Flash Drive Pre-loaded With Your Favourite Show to only then find that I had to select one of Jim Davidson's comedy specials.

Pink Gregory

shame that Charlie Drake doesn't wrap around the spine

Kankurette

Davidson is a name that crops up a lot in threads about bad celebrity encounters.

Sebastian Cobb

Quote from: Kankurette on November 23, 2023, 07:18:47 PMDavidson is a name that crops up a lot in threads about bad celebrity encounters.

I think if you've encountered him then you've only yourself to blame, frankly.

Ignatius_S

Quote from: Terry Torpid on November 23, 2023, 06:49:52 PMChrist, I didn't know the annals of Davidson spanned multiple volumes! I've had a google and it looks like it's from The Full Monty (1994).

At first, I assumed the title was cashing in on the film (though I know it was an existing phrase) but that didn't come out till 1997.

Well, when you lived and lived like Frank Jim...

thenoise

Quote from: Terry Torpid on November 23, 2023, 07:08:21 PMLooking at his website, some of his DVD covers have an unsettling "porn parody" vibe.



Imagine how many people bought this based on the title and tantalising '18' rating, only to find it was a load of boring sexist jokes and crap sub-carry on bawdiness, with nary a boob to be found.

Rolf Lundgren

Quote from: kngen on November 22, 2023, 02:18:54 PMI seem to remember he had a series* of stand-up concerts broadcast on BBC in the late 90s (in a similar slot to Live at the Apollo - could it have been some kind of contractual obligation forced on the Beeb after axing Big Break/Generation Game? It seemed very at odds with the attempts at inclusivity and multiculturalism the BBC was adopting at the time.)

I remember this too and Davidson definitely wielded power around this time. I'm sure he was responsible for changing the theme tune to The Generation Game to Emerson, Lake and Palmer's Karn Evil 9 which sounds like a HS Art thread but did genuinely happen.

He always used to finish on a song on the stand up show though and do his "But seriously" bit. One time he brought his son out to do a duet of Father and Son which was exactly as you'd imagine.

jobotic

Quote from: Rolf Lundgren on November 24, 2023, 06:02:11 PMHe always used to finish on a song on the stand up show though and do his "But seriously" bit. One time he brought his son out to do a duet of Father and Son which was exactly as you'd imagine.

I'd imagine it was heartwarming. Was it?

Maurice Yeatman

Quote from: Rolf Lundgren on November 24, 2023, 06:02:11 PMHe always used to finish on a song on the stand up show though and do his "But seriously" bit. One time he brought his son out to do a duet of Father and Son which was exactly as you'd imagine.

Quote from: jobotic on November 24, 2023, 06:31:07 PMI'd imagine it was heartwarming. Was it?

This son?
https://www.thefreelibrary.com/I%27m+not+sure+if+I%27ve+forgiven+him+yet..I%27ve+only+just+started+getting...-a088451560

"When I left Jim, he was in a black place," says Julie. I bet it wasn't Brixton.

Terry Torpid

Quote from: Maurice Yeatman on November 24, 2023, 07:01:57 PMThis son?

Wow, the first time Jim invited his kid round to his house, it was for a Hello magazine photoshoot with his other kids. A real family man.

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