Off with their heads?

I have to admit, I’m hardly a fan of Russell Brand or Jonathan Ross. The former is a whiny, shouty, loudmouth whose primary form of comedy is speaking like a 3 year-old, very fast (he’s actually a decent writer, if the rest of his Dickensian persona didn’t get in the way), and the latter an over-the-hill illiterate whose interview ‘technique’ consists of being nasty to people he doesn’t like and inserting his tongue up the anus of those he does. Hardly paragons of this country’s comic traditions.

But still, the furore over their radio show? I mean, is it really worthy of the Prime Minister and leader of the Opposition’s comment? Their original series of phone calls were crass, pathetic, unfunny (most importantly) and actually embarrassing, like a couple of schoolboys egging each other on. I’m sure the granddaughter doesn’t care (in fact, she’s probably offended by being linked sexually to either) but Andrew Sachs deserved an apology. He got one, from bot (the granddaughter has since called for their sacking, though whether this was a reaction to the reaction isn’t clear).

But the shitstorm that’s now calling for their sacking, and being front page news. I mean, is it really that much of an issue? Comedians overstep the mark all the time. It seems more that it’s the BBC, therefore paid for by our tax, and also the disclosure of Ross’ inflated (insane) salary that is the issue here. The skit was recorded, then vetted and passed by a producer, and because it’s the Beeb, it’s now thrown into issues of correct use of taxpayer’s money, broadcasting standards, and the like. The truth is, it was out of line, but that should’ve been the end of it ater an apology, and possibly discipline of the producer that approved it. The fact there were 2 complaints before the press game started, and now there are 10,000 says everything you need to know about how we act as a society.

One thing we shoudl be defending in all of this is the right to free speech. Comedians take risks about all sorts of subject matter, and they should be applauded for it, even when it’s this terrible and unfunny. But if anyone needs sacking, it’s the producer that approved it, on quality grounds alone if nothing else, and not the idiots that said it.

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21 thoughts on “Off with their heads?”

  1. My god,
    how people love to join one another in being outraged. What a bloody fuss about nothing. I am no great fan of Ross, but very much a fan of Brand, the suggestion that they should be sacked is outrageous, hey lets all get together and be outraged about the squares being outraged. Oh and one last thing, Gordon for fucks sake get on with running the country and leave this ridiculous bandwagon alone. Free Ross and Brand.

  2. Cannot agree, I’m afraid. The divulging of sexual encounters, especially over the net, without the consent of both parties- (as those comment have been) is rightly considered abusive. Such action have even led to the victim attempting to commit suicide.

    Against that background to suggest the victim does not care is to add insult to injury. She was put in an impossible situation: if she does not complaint, she can be said not to care. But if she did before the comments become notorious, the complaint itself will bring attention to the situation.

    And any experienced broadcaster or journalist is aware of that. Considering that, for those gentlemen no just to go ahead and make the comment but to insist in making them to a relative in a situation that clearly was designed to embarrass him are not just not funny, they are abusive.

    Freedom of speech has nothing to do with it. Freedom of speech does not extinguish responsibility. They were, freely, allowed to say whatever they wanted. Now is time they confront their responsibility for it.

    You argue comedians take risks, implying they should be above such responsibility. But it happens so do most people in their jobs and lives. Policemen, soldiers, doctors and even drivers take risks day in and day out. If any of them (us) makes a mistake and ruins someone’s life, we are not exempt from being responsible for our actions. Don’t quite see why comedians should.

    If I were to make phone calls to a 78 year old to inform them I had had sex with their granddaughter -describing the detail and announcing my intentions of breaking down their door to assault them- I could hardly expect to be able to justify it on the grounds that I made the phone call while at work and because I take risk at my job.

  3. Is this some kind of sick joke? The prime minister thinks he’s in a position to demand action over two comedians going a bit too far (its bound to happen every now and again – they’re comedians, get over it!) – we want you sacked you useless idiot!

  4. These two had it coming; not because of lewdness, but because they cut straight to the heart of a debate neatly and adroitly when the mood takes them. They don’t subscribe to the herd mentality and steadfastly refuse to be pigeonholed. Personally I thought some of the phone prank stuff was terribly, terribly funny, particularly the song. And this isn’t a call to an anonymous old lady; it’s to a well known comedy actor.

  5. Jaime – your reaction is just the sort of Daily Mail reader stuff that’s been all over the airwaves in the past days. I don’t imply they should be above responsibility, but as it wasn’t live, then the Beeb and their producer should’ve realised it shouldn’t be broadcast, rather than bow to the egos of two (pretty talent-free) ‘stars’.

    It’s pretty pathetic and embarrassing trying to listen to two well-paid broadcasters attempting to be ‘crazeee’ and sounding like two schoolkids trying to outdo each other. It was out of order what they said, but more than anything it’s just shit radio. Ross above all else should be cringing at all of this. 6m? What a joke. The most overpaid man in showbiz.

  6. i agree with the fact that jonathon ross is overpaid but surely the point of comedy is that sometimes people will be offended. this reaction is so out of all proportion to the offence and cameron et al looked ridiculous climbing over each other to get on a band waggon. personally i don’t listen to radio 2 but if the bbc give in on this we may as well be in USA. they have apologised for gods sake

  7. This situation has been blown totally out of proportion. I would love to Know how many of the 18000 complainers actually listened to the original broadcast.We will Probably never know but to Me it just seems like false rage & people just complaining for the sake of it. I did listen and thought it was Pure Radio Gold,it was Juvenile what they did but I was aching with Laughter. Someone wants blood and now Saturday night on radio 2 will not be the same now old Russ has resigned.

  8. I hear that only about 5 people complained, and then the media got hold of it and spun it out. How many of the outraged people actually listened to the broadcast? I heard the show live and it made me laugh out loud. If you don’t like that sort of humour, don’t listen to Brand or Ross. Why did Andrew Sachs decide to be a guest on the Russell Brand show if he didn’t know what he was letting himself in for?

    It’s frightening, this Daily Mail reaction. As Brand said, he just wants to bring happiness and light, and he’s certainly done that for me. Hari Krishna Russell.

  9. It is strange that those who have condemned Ross and Brand have ended up being the villains in some peoples’ eyes. It isn’t Daily Mail hysteria to point out that if ordinary members of the public were caught doing something like this they could face prosecution, it’s fact.
    Ross is an overpaid,smug,unfunny condescending twerp. Brand? all of the above with a generous topping of creepiness.
    Andrew Sachs is a comedy icon. A dignified one at that judging by his remarks on radio today.
    Certain public figures are fair game but a 78 year old actor and his granddaughter? That’s just bullying and bullies aren’t funny.

  10. Some of you are missing the point.
    The whole thing was not funny.
    Comedy makes people laugh, any muppet can abuse another person. The sad thing is when people laugh because they think they have to.
    Both of these people are not funny, they can not make people laugh through humour, because they do not know what humour is.
    A good comedian does not have to overly swear, or succumb to over abuse to make people laugh.
    Good comedians make people laugh because they are funny.

  11. I loathe Jonathan Ross for his ugly personality and his foul attitude to women. He is never amusing or entertaining.I think he deserves the sack.

    Russell Brand is to be congratulated for realising how badly he has behaved and I like him for that. Ross hasn’t had the decency to apologise and is clearly hoping to get back on our screens at some future date.

    I hope he’s gone for good. He was rubbish.

  12. ‘How many of the outraged people listened to the broadcast?’

    Well I have listened to it and I’m puzzled how anyone could find the bullying, embarrassment and humiliation of an old man (when he’s not even there) via sexual remarks about his granddaughter a suitable subject for ‘comedy’. To those who find it ‘hilarious’ or ‘laugh out loud funny’ is another altogether more perplexing puzzle.

    ‘He fucked your granddaughter!’ oh! how we laughed.

  13. Having listened to the broadcast on you tube- what is all the fuss about? Are BBC producers really that bored that they have nothing better to do or have they enlisted the services of Alistair campbell for publicity? A storm in a tea cup doesn’t do it justice! Stop using Ross and Brand as your scapegoats Beeb and grow up!!!

  14. Yes they did wrong but it should now be dropped as this has reached ridiculous heights. Ross is the best modern interviewer we have who normally uses humour wisely and people on his show know his techniques and style so shouldn’t be surprised. Shall we get old Parky back to boringly interview stars instead. The young “lady” at the centre of this is getting a great deal of attention and has Max Clifford already as an agent. He has classy clients doesn’t he!! I feel sorry for Mr Sachs but then he has a granddaughter who parades herself as a satanic slut in her show which she sells as an “horrific bondage show”. Nice young lady, obviously appalled and never heard bad language before!! Get Rossy to give a large donation to Children in Need and do an apology on his show and lets move on.

  15. And what of poor little Sataic Slut Georgina’s moral outrage? You’d think if she was that concerned about her grandfather’s feelings that she would perhaps refrain from any involvemant in a dance troupe that simulates bondage humiliation and sex onstage. Brand and Ross were a wee a bit daft, but Jeez, can’t we please just leave the hanging, drawing and quartering to the Satanic Sluts.

    Mr Sachs by the way, was extremely noble, gracious and forgiving in his interview. Thank god he’s not in the Mr Blimp brigade that jump on every available bandwagon.

  16. CK – I assume your post is laced with irony. Wossy is a one-dimensional idiot that either kisses arse/flirts with guests or puts them down. He’s only where he is because of the viewing public’s love of the mediocre. I feel I’ve got a shot at a seven-figure salary with him still on the telly.

    He’s not fit to lace Parky’s shoes, and I’m not even a Parkinson’s fan.

  17. the link that directed me to this site said ‘there’s some rare, if backhanded, support for the comedy duo’. well it is when ALL the newspapers are sticking together. not one of them dares stick up for freedom of speech. it was just a joke (and no i didn’t find it funny). britain has gone insane! i can’t believe the (predominantly) older generation are so concerned about this. the US election’s on Tuesday and if McCain wins we’re all screwed.

  18. The British media loves to make a mountain out of a molehill, but after listening to the calls I can’t find anything to defend Brand & Ross for. They are pathetic. Just because the man was an actor doesn’t give them any right to personally abuse members of his family.

    to ‘The Truth’ — re: “You’d think if she was that concerned about her grandfather’s feelings that she would perhaps refrain from any involvemant in a dance troupe that simulates bondage humiliation and sex onstage.”

    how *dare* you suggest that because she is in a *dance troupe* that makes her fair game for misogyny, verbal abuse and public speculation about her sex life? You fucking pig.

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