Talking to Ian Hislop

Seeing as JKG has been delighting me in the comments of late with clips from the BBC quiz program HIGNFY, I thought I’d return the favour by posting this extract from Mark Lawson talking to Ian Hislop, the quick-witted panelist from the aforementioned show and current editor of Private Eye magazine.

It’s the last part of six, but if you follow this link, it will take you to the place where you can easily access the remainder of the interview that covers lots of interesting subjects such as privacy and libel laws (subjects of particular interest to me, unfortunately) in addition to a lot of chatty banter that’s probably just as well ignored.

However, if you’re feeling a bit keen on the subject and somewhat intrepid (or perhaps just bored or having difficulty sleeping) there’s also a Channel 4 documentary Hislop presented a while back about Sir Robert Baden-Powell and the Scouting movement that’s completely fascinating. As a former Cub who was always somewhat puzzled by the whole thing, it explained a lot…

By the way, don’t you think the HIGNFY format would make a great show for one of our Canadian broadcast networks to shamelessly copy? For instance, maybe the CBC could take a refreshing breather from their horribly frantic, err, exciting new format to have a bit of lighthearted fun with the tiresome “news” they’re so keen on pointlessly jazzing up?

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20 Comments

Filed under British Politics, Humour

20 responses to “Talking to Ian Hislop

  1. jkg

    Brilliant! Thank you Red. I saw this on the “related videos,” when I was looking up Hislop’s foray into Question Time, another segment, which I think would be a nice addition to Canadian punditsphere. Imagine the At Issue panel actually answering questions from the audience on a more regular basis.

    For the rest of the commenters, I do encourage watching HIGNFY as well as some other funny panel shows, but HIGNFY is a good model of what we should have in Canada. As much as everyone likes Rick Mercer, I find him a bit too benign these days, but something would tell me that if he was able to sit down and have a go at an MP for an hour, he would take all the safeties off. My question would be though, who would be the equivalent of Ian Hislop here in Canada? Hislop is well known satirist who has skewered even other media types throughout the years. I am at a loss who would be a good approximation to him.

    To me, despite all the whining Canadians do about government, it is surprising that the comic class has not reflected that sentiment to its full extent. Otherwise, I think it would be more irreverent. 22 Minutes seems to be as close as it can get presently, but there should be more.

    One final note: For those of you who enjoy a little more edgy and cringe humour styles, I would direct you to Mock The Week, but this clip is a little silly just because I didn’t want to get into the crazy and funny ones here:

  2. Navvy

    I’ve been annoyed that none of the panel shows put out podcasts. The only one I can find is 8 Out of 10 Cats but I think they stopped doing it.

  3. I wondered about that too… Scott Feschuk might be quite good at it. He’s got the right combination of acerbic wit and playfulness. The Paul Merton counterpart might actually be a bit more difficult to replicate. Mike MacDonald perhaps? Or perhaps Ron James (if he wasn’t so busy all the time) As for the chair, that’s a bit of a stumper… Brent Butt or Steve Smith maybe? Anyway, that’s my stab at being a casting director.

    Thanks for the MTW clip, btw. I find the improv stuff on that show kind of tiresome (too many years watching Whose Line Is It Anyway? in earlier times) but the newsreel dubs are hilarious. Here’s one of my favourites:

    “What ho, peasants!”

  4. Navvy — BBC ‘s online offerings are a bit of late. Used to be that you could get almost anything current or archived streaming through RealAudio but it’s a limited bunch of programs these days.

    There are still some good ones available however. This week’s The Now Show, for example.

  5. Navvy

    Thanks red. I like them for the gym, but now that I’ve been through all the Ricky Gervais podcasts and the 8/10 cats ones, I’m having a surprisingly hard time finding anything funny out of the millions of podcasts available for download. I’ll give it a listen.

  6. Ti-Guy

    For instance, maybe the CBC could take a refreshing breather from their horribly frantic, err, exciting new format…

    No kidding. I caught Power and Politics yesterday and I’m really dismayed by how they’ve replaced Don Newsman’s one hour of relatively sober and straightforward politics reporting with two hours, half of which is pointless gibber. At one point, Evan Solomon and Rosemary Barton where burbling on one side of the screen, while the other side was taken up with a completely pointless live shot of MP’s standing up in the HoC for a recorded division on the NDP’s motion for a public inquiry, complete with the sound feed of the MP’s names being read out. All the while, the bottom of the screen is being taken up with a news ticker and…Jesus Christ…the weather conditions across the country. It was just noise and visual clutter. Worst of all, it’s not a format that’s amenable to a podcast, which is how I used to keep up with Don Newman’s program.

    By the way, don’t you think the HIGNFY format would make a great show for one of our Canadian broadcast networks to shamelessly copy?

    I just really don’t know if there’s the talent left in this country to do it, quite honestly. With the exception of Quebeckers and Newfoundlanders, political correctness and right wing fauxtrage have pretty much destroyed people’s ability to take risks with political humour. We let one or two people (like Rick Mercer) get away with a very mild version of political satire, isolated on their own shows, but otherwise, the dull careerists in charge just won’t won’t have it.

    Too bad, because I’m sure it would be a hit.

  7. Ti-Guy

    My last comment seems to have been sucked into your spam queue.

  8. I’ll go see if I can find it… Odd the way that works sometimes.

  9. Crap. I don’t know where it went. It was there in the spam catcher (along with some post in Russian telling me where to get Viagara online without a prescription) and I hit the “Not Spam” option and then it disappeared.

    Sorry about that. I quickly scanned over it and there didn’t seem to be any reason for it to even be filtered out in the first place (e.g., sometimes if lots of links are included in a comment that’s enough to set it off) .

  10. Ti-Guy

    Crap. I thought about saving the comment when it didn’t make it through, but I assumed it could be dug out of the spam filter. I have a horrible allergy to writing things up twice.

    I am outraged, Red Tory. Outraged! 😉

    Anyway, it was basically a rant about Power and Politics replacing one hour of Don Newman’s relatively sober and straightforward political reporting with two hours of hyperactive gibber, complete with pointless split-screens, news tickers and…Jesus Christ…the weather across the country. I reached the end of the line yesterday when Evan Solomon and Rosemary Barton burbled away on one side of the screen while the other was taken up with a live shot of the MP’s standing for recorded division in the House, complete with sound feed of their names being called. Nothing but five minutes of noise and visual clutter. And worst of all, it’s not a format that’s transferable to podcast, which is how I usually caught up with Don Newman’s show.

    I could go on…user–fucking-generated content (unscientific online polls, requests for the audience to ‘tell us what you think’, man-on-the-street interviews with inarticulate nobodies) elaborate pantomimes to simulate off-the-cuff banter, etc. etc. all add up to two hours of a complete waste of time.

    Retool CBC, or cancel it now before more resources are wasted.

    Another point was more on topic. I don’t think there’s the talent in this country to create a show like HIGNFY. Political correctness and right wing fauxtrage (probably the same thing) have bred out of most people the ability to take risks and say something interesting, novel or even entertaining when reporting on politics.

  11. Ti-Guy

    It happened again.

  12. Oh, cheese n’ rice…

    I’ll go look. And this time I’ll copy and paste beforehand, okay?

  13. Okay, so where did it go? I haven’t a clue, but here’s your comment:

    Crap. I thought about saving the comment when it didn’t make it through, but I assumed it could be dug out of the spam filter. I have a horrible allergy to writing things up twice.

    I am outraged, Red Tory. Outraged! 😉

    Anyway, it was basically a rant about Power and Politics replacing one hour of Don Newman’s relatively sober and straightforward political reporting with two hours of hyperactive gibber, complete with pointless split-screens, news tickers and…Jesus Christ…the weather across the country. I reached the end of the line yesterday when Evan Solomon and Rosemary Barton burbled away on one side of the screen while the other was taken up with a live shot of the MP’s standing for recorded division in the House, complete with sound feed of their names being called. Nothing but five minutes of noise and visual clutter. And worst of all, it’s not a format that’s transferable to podcast, which is how I usually caught up with Don Newman’s show.

    I could go on…user–fucking-generated content (unscientific online polls, requests for the audience to ‘tell us what you think’, man-on-the-street interviews with inarticulate nobodies) elaborate pantomimes to simulate off-the-cuff banter, etc. etc. all add up to two hours of a complete waste of time.

    Retool CBC, or cancel it now before more resources are wasted.

    Another point was more on topic. I don’t think there’s the talent in this country to create a show like HIGNFY. Political correctness and right wing fauxtrage (probably the same thing) have bred out of most people the ability to take risks and say something interesting, novel or even entertaining when reporting on politics.

    I haven’t even read the whole thing, but I’ll come back sometime this evening and laugh, I’m sure. Kind of busy at the moment…

  14. jkg

    Why is it that we cannot produce a decent crop of satirical comedians? I am not old enough to remember Second City, but was there a time when there was a class of satirists. I DO remember Kids In The Hall, but that was more of a Gen X thing. It was still funny.

    It says something of that thinness when Steyn is considered a “satirist.”

  15. Ti-Guy

    Why is it that we cannot produce a decent crop of satirical comedians?

    They all move to the States.

    I thought we’d be seeing more of Kate Rigg but she moved to the New York and bills herself as an Asian American now.

    The bit she has where she combines an Indonesian phone worker with 3rd World sweatshops is hilarious:

    Phone sex worker: How you are tonight? Ooh, care to show me your great big American know-how? I wearing something special tonight…silk/cotton panty made by my cousin Siti is Kathy Lee sweatshop. She very small but she work all night for you!

  16. jkg

    Yes, I forgot about the obvious answer that talented comedians go to the United States. Some go to the U.K. Stewart Francis (Can), Rich Hall (US), and Reginald D. Hunter (US) are featured on those panel shows like QI (another of my favourites).

    I hate to nostalgic, but as far as can tell, that last upswing of good, robust and intrinsically Canadian comedy was the late 80’s, early 90’s. I cannot help but see the timelessness of this sketch by Dave Foley:

    I have to admit; I have never heard of Kate Rigg. From I see cursorily, she is pretty good. I am curious how she would compare to Margaret Cho. However, wasn’t her “Chink-O-Rama” paralleled “Spice-O-Rama” by John Lequizamo?

  17. jkg

    *did her …by John Leguizamo?

  18. jkg

    *parallel

    okay, I hope that is it. Sorry

  19. JKG — Is it just me, or does that Dave Foley character seem eerily like Glenn Beck?

  20. jkg

    I know, Red, it is really eerie how spot on the imitation is. It is practically prophetic.

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