Monday 20 February 2012

This bit is kind of pointless but I am just leaving it in here as to be honest this was quite a dull day and by leaving it in I am contributing to what I see as the minimum length of the blog (I am also trying to make this heading as long as possible for the same reason – though I haven’t realised I will end up writing loads of stuff about Michael McIntyre meaning that I will actually  have written an annoyingly long blog)

Some more great entertainment today in the comments of an article on The Guardian website.

To be fair the article is pretty poor/pointless. The kind of comedians he talks about – Bishop, Kay – have built their careers on establishing making jokes about shared experiences. Yes, I am sure people lose touch somewhat but they have generally been not-rich (‘normal’) for long enough to make sense of what makes people laugh and subsequently to be embarrassed by the fact that they are now multi-millionaires when on stage. And, yes, Peter Kay has just been doing the same routine for years anyway.

The anger the article raises in commenters – both towards each other and to comedians – is, frankly, awesome. I did a big section analysing and commenting on the comments here but I’ve just deleted it as it was possibly the most inane thing I have ever typed. I had, in essence, just  become a part of the conversation of morons on there. And this what I am doing now is definitely not like that –  they are mainly wrong. Especially the ones attacking Frank Skinner.

McIntyre Uncovered

Reading the article and the comments did, inevitably, mean that Michael McIntyre’s name would rear its head. I don’t think it’s a revelation that I don’t like him. I have also not hidden that this is because I just don’t like him. I don’t like his face or his voice. I dislike his face and voice is a more accurate statement. It kinds of nags that I despise him so much that I couldn’t comment on him as a comedian.

I have changed that: I just watched four or five of his ‘top bits’ as decreed by You Tube. That’s right, I put myself out there. I opened my mind (a little bit) to the hottest thing in British comedy. There was actually a perverse part of my head looking forward to the possibility that he might make me laugh. Such is my capacity for self-loathing that I would somewhat enjoy having to eat all my hate-filled words about him.

I don’t have to eat my words. I had to give up on about half of them before the end and they were often only a minute or so in length.

The first one I watched was about kilts. The premise of the bit was that Scottish people wore kilts to be as different as possible from English people. He did some role playing which involved a terrible Scottish accent. I honestly just didn’t think it was funny at all. Whereas this makes a similar-ish point only it is funny.

The second one I watched I couldn’t resist watching, aware that the title Man U vs Man City could create all kinds of bile in my hate-organs (my organs). And you know what? It contained the only funny observation of the 15 minutes I spent watching these videos. And he credited the joke to his wife. He says how his wife pointed out that ‘Man United’ and ‘Man City’ both sounded like the names of gay clubs. It’s not the greatest piece of wit ever but it’s not bad. And then he spent about 40 seconds ‘acting gay’ and saying he was in Man United and that later he would go to Man City; essentially making the same joke again only in a long-winded way. He doesn’t go all the way to ruining the joke. His best work.

(This example thing is something almost all stand-ups do this saying something and then doing about 6 examples of someone doing that thing. I fucking hate it. On the radio this morning they were talking about the balls in sports giving out random electric shocks to make sport more interesting. Right, I get what you are saying with that. But then they have to go on “like someone would be running with the ball in rugby and they would get an electric shock” “yeah yeah or someone would be playing basketball and they would catch the ball and it would shock them”. Yeah, I got it. I don like examples of things that are obvious – is this coming across?)

The next one I watched was entitled The French. At least this wont be xenophobic, I thought: the BBC wouldn’t make someone plundering small minded racism the centre of their light entertainment output. And – initially – I was proven right. He is interacting with French people in the audience. His first joke is that English people ALWAYS  say ‘un peu’ when asked if they speak French. I would say that this was being widely ambitious if I was being honest. But people saying ‘un peu’ is actually a decent response for people who know some basic French sayings. It means ‘a bit’ if you are stupid enough not to know what ‘un peu’ means; that is Michael McIntyre saying you are stupid, not me.

Apart from anything else the joke kind of relies on the audience knowing what ‘un peu’ means. If I was assuming the audience spoke decent polite French phrases conveying they only spoke a small amount of phrases I would question whether or not my joke was, on some level, kind of not sure what it was mocking. But ‘un peu’ is all English people know. Then he says something else English people know in French. It would be pedantic to point out he just said that they only know ‘un peu’ and then said another phrase they knew so I am not going to say it.

Actually if I was being really pedantic I would be sort of proving him right. Because he says the other phrase English people know is “Ou est le gare?” when the train station is a feminine noun and the phrase should be “ou est LA gare?”  So he’s right ‘un peu’ is the only phrase English people know, if he is the English person.

Then it seems like he might have been funny with the remark “have you hidden them from us?” after he has said about only knowing “Ou est le gare?” Because asking where something is and that being what we all say (we do though don’t we?) implies there could be something hidden. It’s not, though, it’s what people say when they want to know where a train station is when they are in France and things don’t have to be intentionally hidden by someone for someone to need to know where something is.

Then, after 20 seconds, he gets into that French people all say errrrrrrrrrrrrrghhh between all their words. They do don’t they? All French people talk in exactly the same way don’t they? When Alan Partridge made a very similar remark about 17 years ago I am almost certain it was meant by the writers of Knowing Me, Knowing You to be satirising the small-time mentality of racist stereotypes some English people held of the French. I am sure that is what McIntyre is doing here as well. And not just actually making a shit, racist joke.

Finally I watched this longer clip of MM in action, an excerpt from his live DVD.  It’s not terrible. That’s as nice as I can be. If I thought it was witty and made me smile I would say it did. I would. But it didn’t. If I had paid to go to the Frog and Bucket or the Comedy Store and someone did that five minutes I would think they had no chance of making it unless they stopped doing the material they were doing and started doing something funny.

I’m not saying he hasn’t picked a decent comic situation for a bit of stand-up. Or that the inital thing about his own discomfort in the changing rooms and a desire to quickly clothe himself didn’t have some potential. Then he goes into a joke about men cleaning their backsides with towels in that way – you know what I am describing (him describing), the flossing style. Not the way I towel myself, but I can’t share his exasperation at anyone who does it. His reason seems to be that his he doesn’t need to as “I don’t leak water from my arse”. Well, Michael, I don’t know what you are doing in the shower but I tend to emerge having wet the surface area of my being.

And from that stage he was just describing men with their cocks out. And impersonating men walking around with their cocks out. And having generic conversations – that’s right, with their cocks out. He was just lying in the end; creating scenarios that only existed in his stand-up for him to mock.

I’m not just being picky. He makes a joke that the pants are the last thing these men put on, y’know so they can walk around with their cocks out, because that’s what men do.  And he then makes the slightly surreal suggestion that they have stuff like top hats and shoes and socks on before they put underpants and trousers on. That is kind of funny given this hypothetical premise that ‘men’ in this bit don’t want to put trousers on. For me, that’s fine to make the ridiculous joke there. But then he starts attacking it as though it’s actually what happens. It doesn’t.

Ultimately I just dislike him but I would have admitted it if I had thought he was good after watching these clips. I’m sure there might be some good stuff that just didn’t fall in this sample and if I see it I will admit it. But for now I am just going to remain as an ardent un-fan who hates his face, hates his voice and doesn’t think he is that funny.

As opposed to this which is THE shit rather than shit.

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