We are at Day Two into the next Festivus Year, 2012, so I hope you’ve begun accumulating and documenting your Grievances to Air next December 23rd. You won’t remember the early ones unless you write them down!
My first Grievance of 2012 is that Facebook has begun bundling similar-sounding status updates atop my news feed, so that when I ask my friend Ruth where she’s going dancing on Xmas Eve, that message posted to her wall gets bundled in with Senator David Vitter’s family Christmas Eve message atop my news feed.
And now all I can think about is swaddling clothes.
On Tuesday night last week, we taped the show. I met Tom (he’s nice and quite laid-back off camera, and not very short) and the divine Downton ladies (swoon) and the lovely Inbetweeners chaps (yay) and I did my song and everyone laughed and Tom said it was great and when it was done I ran off set onto the back of a waiting motorbike, got from South Bank to the Hammersmith Apollo in 13 minutes, walked into the building, straight on to stage to sing White Wine in the Sun with Professor Brian Cox. Rock n roll.
Subsequently, Suzi and her team edited the show and everybody was happy. Suzi felt it had a nice balance of big-ticket celeb action, local talent, and a nice bit of that cheeky, iconoclastic spirit for which Jonathan is known and widely loved.
And then someone got nervous and sent the tape to ITV’s director of television, Peter Fincham.
And Peter Fincham demanded that I be cut from the show.
He did this because he’s scared of the ranty, shit-stirring, right-wing press, and of the small minority of Brits who believe they have a right to go through life protected from anything that challenges them in any way.
Yesterday I wrote a big rant about comedy and risk and conservatism; about the fact that my joke has no victim; about sacredness (oh God, not again!) and about the importance of laughing at dumb but pervasive ideas. But I trashed it because it’s boring and takes it all too seriously. It’s hardly the end of the world.
But I have to admit I’m really fucking disappointed.
It’s 2011. The appropriate reaction to people who think Jesus is a supernatural being is mild embarrassment, sighing tolerance and patient education.
And anger when they’re being bigots.
Oh, and satire. There’s always satire.
With full awareness that next year could be worse (can you imagine!?) I want to wish every one of you a happy healthy New Year full of self-awareness and revolution. And here’s to less influence from right-wing bigots and the panderers thereto.