It’s not hard to imagine the thought process behind the creation of 10 O’Clock Live. It’s child’s play, actually, to picture loathsome telly executives, ensconced behind their walls of glass, fashionable beards salted with granules of cocaine, casting avaricious eyes towards Comedy Central’s Daily Show and The Colbert Report, thinking ‘why don’t we make anything as fucking awful and smug as that?’ Thus, in 2010, Channel 4’s Alternative Election Night was born.
10 O’Clock Live, its progeny, appears to be continuing the campaign for the ‘Nation’s Hippest Lefty News Source’ trophy, currently held by horrible fence-sitting shithead Jon Stewart. Sadly, predictably, it fails utterly. The first series was dog shit, everyone knows that, even if they enjoyed it. But the new one is a big, tall, frosty dog shit smoothie, blended with a bit of sheep shit for roughage, and served in a smashed glass.
The issue is obvious, really. You simply can’t maintain any kind of compelling alternative political stance in a corporate media climate and expect anyone to commission you, watch you, or even listen to you. So what we’re left with is the same reactionary, centre-right, fact-obscuring, establishment-fellating news coverage you get everywhere else, but with some bigoted and scatological jokes to make it appear subversive. Like Mock of the Week crossed with Viz.
To its credit, in 2011, 10 O’Clock Live did manage to break lockstep with the rest of the news media to deliver something at least approaching realistic satire, with their oh-so-hilarious regular ‘Bankers In Need’ skit. How heartening then, to see Lauren Laverne standing up last week to row the whole thing back to shore just as quick as her willowy arms could carry her, humiliating everyone concerned.
In a monologue of absolutely staggering cowardice, she concludes that banking executives might very well be vicious, criminally irresponsible cunts fucking up everything for everyone that isn’t them; but if we’re mean to them, then the oconomy might collapse or something (hint it’s imploding like fuck irregardless, mate). For 10 O’Clock Live, as for every single other corporate news outlet, the London Stock Exchange is akin to a strange and inscrutable Mayan god to which we must feed a constant string of virgins, unemployables and disableds, just so Derek Cameron can keep his city mates in swan butties. So, who’s first on the block, metalheads?
To this one can add: ‘ironic’ racist jokes care of Jimmy ‘James’ Carr – which may (or may not) be appropriate in his stand-up, but which sound absolutely fucking tone-deaf here; spluttering, word-tumbling ineptitude from hilariously mis-cast ‘debate’ chairman Derek Mitchell, who somehow manages to be both tepid and offensive all at once; and a completely one-note performance by everyone’s favourite bitter sarcasm merchant Charleston Brooker, who hasn’t dropped a funny word, even by accident, since he decided being mean to his privileged celebrity friends was beneath him.
Here’s the Charlie Brooker joke formula. Step one: imagine thing. Step two: imagine thing but wacky. Step three: shout “WHAT NEXT, A ROBOT PRIME MINISTER????” and produce a prop to illustrate how wacky the thing you’ve imagined is. Perhaps put prop on head. Cue laughter.
Fuck off Brooker, I used to like you.
I haven’t watched this week’s episode yet because frankly, I’ve not been well, and I don’t want to jeopardise my recovery by jerking my knee off. But I’m totally looking forward to more ‘funny arab’ jokes, uncritical repetition of unsubstantiated ‘facts’ about official enemies, endless cutaways to the audience of braying student shitheads, and our four presenters once again making honorary team members out of their idiot guests – such as Alastair ‘Lord Fuckshit’ Campbell – and somehow not retching their Pret A Manger luncheons all over them. And just for an extra poop Malteser on top, this show has completely, irrevocably wrecked Jon Spencer Blues Explosion for me. So thanks for that.
If this is the alternative to the Auntie Beeb propaganda machine, then just slap a Fiona Bruce mask on my head and call me Mr Mainstream.