Jimmy Carr... The new Bob Monkhouse??
At the British Comedy Awards last week, Jonathan Ross made a good joke about there being one day next year when Jimmy Carr isn't working. As with all good jokes, there's truth at the heart of it. Jimmy does pop up on the telly quite often - mostly short-lived quiz shows, or as a droll cynical presenter for those endless "100 Best @@@@ Moments" programmes.
For @@@@ read 'Christmas' / 'Horror' / 'Easter' / 'Game Show' / 'Reality TV' / 'Humourless' / 'Boring' / 'Repetitive' / etc. I've actually sat through one or two of those shows. When there's three hours of your life that you want to lose with no cultural or intellectual benefit to yourself, there's no better way to do it. It can't be long before we have "100 Best Jimmy Carr Moments".
How has Jimmy risen to this height of TV stardom?... Simple... Through his earlier success as a stand-up comedian. In the mid 1990's I was often at new act gigs and competitions where he was on, and I know how hard he worked. I overheard him saying how many comedy clubs he went round every night trying to get as much stage time as he could.
He was spotted by TV talent scouts, and after much more hard work on his part he must now be one of the "Top 100 TV Celebrities". I did a search on his name on blogger websites, and he is incredibly popular. He's got lots of young girlie fans. You know... The ones who hang around stage doors and book signings, hoping to have their photo taken smiling inanely next to their favourite B-list celebrity of that day.
Steve Allen makes a good point about TV success in his book where he discusses the great comedy talent Jonathan Winters... who DIDN'T have much success on TV. The point is that it isn't great talent that gets you major success on TV. The most success goes to bland performers with lesser TALENT, but great VERSATILITY.
We've seen in on British TV before, with the omnipresence of Bob Monkhouse, Bruce Forsyth, and Des O'Connor while great comedy talents like Max Wall and Chic Murray have had a very low TV profile.
Anyway... a few days ago, Channel 4 showed a Jimmy Carr stand-up concert film from 2004. I was thinking of buying that on DVD, so that's saved me £14.99. I recorded it, and have now watched it a couple of times. I don't think I'll keep it though. I'm not that sad.
As a comedian, he is actually a very effective writer of jokes based on language and other cliches of modern life. He also knows how to get extra laughs from subverting his conservative look by talking dirty. He seems quick-witted in his chatting with the audience. I appreciate the comedy he does, but I don't actually laugh at comedians who rely so heavily on joke technique any more.
These days I want a comedian to bare his soul for REAL... REAL feelings, REAL thoughts, REAL experiences, REAL problems.
SO WHY DON'T I DO THAT???
Note: That is a rhetorical question. No cruel suggestions, please.