The Simple, Angry Men Of 10 O’Clock Live

Julia hasn’t been watching a lot of UK television lately, so here’s writer Nick Bryan with a guest post on Channel 4’s latest attempt to ‘do’ politics:

Like many in the left-leaning, Twitter-abusing internet world, I’ve been watching Channel 4’s 10 O’Clock Live with interest. Featuring high-profile funny folk taking a swipe at the news, it seems to have launched well.

People are watching it, there are the speed bumps you’d expect from a live transmission written in a hurry, but I think it hits the mark more than it misses. Still, as the weeks go by, I start to feel they might be punching at straw men a little.

I’m not a radicalised liberal. I possess many such opinions but don’t need to take to the streets and enforce them with my fists. So although it is irritating when hardline conservatives (note the lower case C) portray all Muslims as terrorists or all disabled people as lazy, it’s also annoying when their opponents portray David Cameron as a cackling super-villain, or all bankers as snickering pigs.

At this point, I’d like to go beyond 10 O’Clock Live, as they are merely a high-profile example. If left-leaning folk want me to dislike the coalition government (and I sense that they do), explain to me properly why I should stir my venom.

Otherwise, even if I find you amusing on TV or read your column for a laugh whilst procrastinating, I’m still going to write your sincere point off as the rantings of a psychopath in the end. You mustn’t stop trying to be rational because you think most of your audience are already sympathetic.

It is possible to pull off a rant with a persuasive serious point, in fact David Mitchell did a sterling job on a recent 10 O’Clock Live, but once it spills over into raving venom, you lose your audience. Yes, I know what satire is, but putting mean words next to David Cameron’s face isn’t cunning subversion.

In fact, much like the politicians themselves running for election, you have to appeal to the centre. We live in a country where the S*n is the best-selling newspaper by far. Don’t be fooled by the disproportionate number of lefty media types on Twitter, the liberals are vastly outnumbered.

So preaching to the choir isn’t going to get your online petition up to the amount of signatures needed for anyone to give a damn. And if all this turns into a full-on hate campaign against David Cameron, it’s going to energise support for him anyway; we British love an underdog.

Be smart. Stop gibbering at me.

So what do you think? Is there a place for a good, smart funny rant at Cameron’s expense on prime time TV, or is it just pandering to the gallery? Let us know in the comments

3 Comments

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3 responses to “The Simple, Angry Men Of 10 O’Clock Live

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention The Simple, Angry Men Of 10 O’Clock Live | ten minutes hate -- Topsy.com

  2. Great article, really enjoyed reading it. My problem with this program is that they’ve decided to paint the world in black-and-white terms where there are all these evil political and financial types just waiting to be held to account for their despicable crimes. Anyone with any serious interest in current affairs probably realises that things are always more complicated and morally ambiguous than that, so it seems to me that 10 O’Clock Live is really just patronising the liberal audience it desperately tries to appeal to.

    Saying that, I think David Mitchell is really strong on this show and brings both well-targeted vitriol and informed mediation to the serious political bits. It’s just a shame that this aspect is so unbalanced by the rest of it (excluding Charlie Brooker of course).

    • Yeah. Mitchell and Brooker have both done good work in their solo segments. Whereas Jimmy Carr, oddly, has been often funny and insightful in the round table discussions, but seems to snap back to easy targets in his scripted parts. Really hope they drop that Bankers In Need joke after three long weeks.

      In the end, though, the successful parts just highlight how simplistic other bits are. I’d just appreciate a bit of acknowledgements that bankers and government ministers might have motivation beyond “because they’re evil and selfish”. Hm.

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