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Call Jonathan Pie - Centrist Dad Feel Good Comedy

Started by Consignia, September 22, 2023, 07:17:27 PM

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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.

fucking ponderous

I'll never understand why the Jonathan Pie man has to pretend to be Jonathan Pie.


Sounds like a right load of cockwomble wankpuffin jigglypuff shit for budgiecunts to me.


It was heavily promoted on Radio 4, there was on particularly lame joke emphasised by the music bed cutting out.

He's like Partridge except you're supposed think he makes good satrical points

Video Game Fan 2000

when i first saw pie i assumed he was a rightwing grifter playing a centrist. other than the histrionics it leaves me completely unsure what the gag is supposed to be. is it "look, your opinions can be said by a silly person too even though you're right - isn't it good we can all laugh at ourselves"?

i dont understand the "satire" dimension of it. on a basic level modern political satire should either poke fun are the weakest parts of one's own ideology or the culpability behind views it opposes. satire in the age of ideology-doesnt-exist, from pie to oliver, is just there for warm social media fuzzies. cartoons of matt bors are the same, to give a nominally left wing example - look, i drew an argument i imagined myself winning.

i think its the lack of time and money to give left wing poors means to get into media - you can't do satire unless you're willing to punch down, but with the caveat that its you or your position you should be willing to punch down on to make a greater point or bigger laugh. there's noticeable lack of people willing to risk doing it or from positions where they're personally invested enough for it to seem like a risk or vulnerability being shown. can't have satire without risk, the safer the layers of irony and "only a character", the less meaningful that risk will be and less cartharsis as a result. pie's histrionics and john oliver's hilariously pretending to be gay or a furry strike me as the same phenom - incredibly comfy and safe people with the safest perspectives on the world doing the bare minimum of the risk or exposure necessary for satire to be funny. the emptiness of the form of unintentionally revealing stupidities without willingness to let themselves be anything other than right about anything. satirists who are afraid and unwilling to reveal undesirable things about themselves and their audience should lose their jobs, like being a pilot who's afraid of heights.

one of the reasons i think On The Hour/The Day Today is so effective is that the "Chris" presenter is not referencing real BBC or ITV newsmen, he's a grotesque of the real program you're watching - not the news programs its parodying - and Morris own media presence. its a based around one personality mocking everything media related. thats punctured in the offing by having the worst truth or reality of that set up reflected by how "Chris" is such an egomaniac bully. there's a willingness to make the ridiculousness of the persona itself the first last and butt of every joke that survives into Partridge and other things. its a big risk because if it wasn't funny, and it was actually misanthropic or bullying humour of a more standard type, it would undermine the programmes ability to hit its targets in news media and journalism so well. The Day Today is brave to lead out with its fundamental hypocrisies and flaws in worldview right in the audiences faces from the beginning. Pie or Titania Mcwhatever, they're under layers of insulation from doing this. and they're aimed at audiences that don't want their own laughter to reveal any sort of undesirable affinities or feelings about the world.

point made better else where but this is why Thick of It fell apart - it was more cutting when the target was the lot most BBC satire-viewers voted for. monstering tories won't hit has hard (and so the satire trailed off considerably when the tory cast became funnier than the labour cast, and it just became a sitcom set in politics)

i was thinking a while ago my arguing on here that Yes Minister was right wing in its presenting of government as the cause of all problems. i think i might be wrong since the premise allows this sort of audience-culpability to take place since the manipulators being civil service brings something home to the 80s BBC viewer (centrist or tory) who may well have though themselves 'above' party politics or an apolitical realist of some kind





Egyptian Feast

The funniest thing I've ever seen him in was when someone was walking through a park and got a video* of him shouting at a tripod-mounted camera.

*May not be available to non-Twitter users.



I've seen that the actor who plays him supposedly considers himself an "old school socialist"



actor pretending to be a comedian pretending to be a journalist

Video Game Fan 2000

Quote from: Midas on September 22, 2023, 08:21:03 PMactor pretending to be a socialist pretending to be a comedian pretending to be a journalist


I listened to one of these and gave up. I don't mind his stuff and seek it out, but I've liked some stuff that's shared.

I stopped listening to this podcast after 1 episode because it's easy to poke fun at an entirely made up view from general stereotypes of a phone-in caller. There's that guy that does a parody of TalkRadio callers too which I think is even worse. But it's not as funny or relevant as a takedown of what an actual politican or public figure has said.

The actor has said that Jonathan Pie was the first thing he did that became popular and brought in money, which is presumably why his creation has continued for a decade now.

As a journalist character it means he gets to make fun of both politicians and the way politics is covered, so he has a lot of scope for material. The character is exasperated at everyone else because they aren't as good as him, and politicians because they are all self-serving. So Pie being right is not necessarily a centrist political position triumphing but his substantial ego and annoyance at politics and its coverage. I suppose the phone in is an extension of that coverage.


Quote from: Video Game Fan 2000 on September 22, 2023, 07:37:16 PMwhen i first saw pie i assumed he was a rightwing grifter playing a centrist.

Given he was originally written by Andrew 'Spiked Online Comedy Unleashed etc' Doyle you were entirely correct.


Quite. Socialist? Yeah right.

Perhaps he says he's an old school socialist so he can make fun of young socialists who care about trans people and other "woke" stuff.


Would love to see this fucking soft twat riff with actual five live callers

Load of wasted scaffolders running rings round him

Sebastian Cobb


Did I mention James O'Brien (the real one) rings Pie up to give him a pep talk?


The same James O'Brien who voted for Boris Johnson for Mayor of London?

The same James O'Brien whose 10 episode chat show featured Jim Davidson 5 times?

The same James O'Brien who works for London radio station LBC, home of the likes of Iain Dale, Nick Ferrari and formerly Nigel Farage and Katie Hopkins?

Sebastian Cobb


Quote from: jobotic on September 22, 2023, 09:33:15 PMNo, a different one

Ah, fair enough.

The same James O'Brien who sat as a Member of the Irish House of Commons for Charleville?

The same James O'Brien who served as Collector of Customs for the Port of Cork until 1767?

The same James O'Brien who served time as Grand Master of the Freemasons of Munster?



I've still got Facebook acquaintances who share his dogshit videos with crying laughing emojis and "So true!" written above them. It must be nice being a cretin.




Quote from: Egyptian Feast on September 22, 2023, 08:02:52 PMThe funniest thing I've ever seen him in was when someone was walking through a park and got a video* of him shouting at a tripod-mounted camera.

*May not be available to non-Twitter users.

This makes for a really cutting reaction gif

Jonathan Pie isn't a centrist. The bloke Tom Walker's just a useful idiot for Spiked types, and James O'Brien being dumb enough to go on his show doesn't suddenly change anything.