Notepad on Life

October 1, 2012

Question Time for Coogan – was that really the best you’ve got?

Filed under: politics,TV — - @ 1:49 pm
Tags: , ,
Steve Coogan holding a producer credit for The...

Steve Coogan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Much as stand-up comedy might be the new rock and roll these days, I have suggested before (here and here) that there is a danger in confusing a talent for observational humour with a gift for enlightened social commentary.

Hopefully, that danger is now apparent to whomever it was decided to give Steve Coogan another crack at Question Time last Thursday.

I groaned in equal measure when I saw his name and Kirstie Allsop‘s among the panelists but while I thought the TV real estate maven might be the one who would struggle, she was completely comfortable in this setting: a balanced combination of passion and cogent argument.

Coogan, on the other hand, was dreadful. So he doesn’t like Tories? Fair enough but one pointed barb would have transmitted as much. Instead, he laid his contempt on with a trowel at every opportunity, like some desperate end-of-pier summer turn scared to stray too far from his comfort blanket of tits-and-bum gags. It felt like 1985 all over again.

Quickly establishing himself as dull and two-dimensional and with little of substance to offer, Coogan’s nadir came in response to a question concerning the apparent indifference by the authorities to the grooming of minors for sex by Asian males in Lancashire.

For a right-on leftie like Coogan, this is shark-infested territory, indicating as it does a problem within the Muslim community so apparent that even those whose political livelihoods have depended largely on the Muslim vote have been forced to address it publicly.

Not Mr Cutting-edge Comedian, however. Criticise non-whites? The man has his image to think of.  So he flaps helplessly from the 32:40 mark onwards in the video here, dancing around the elephant in the room like Fred Astaire on five cans of Strongbow. Catholics, you’ll note, get a name-check. Always safe to shellack Christianity, of course and indeed mandatory in the comedy business. But utter the word ‘Muslim’ in a pejorative context? A team of wild horses couldn’t have dragged it across his lips.

Now the mess Catholicism has got it into over its child abuse scandal will taint that church forever and its cover-ups have been almost as appalling as the abuse itself. You mention one culprit, however, you mention all, or you mention none. That’s how panellists in grown-up debate programmes justify asking for our time, by even-handedly proffering opinion without fear or favour. If you’re not up to that, get out of town.

If this was Steve Coogan’s stab at gravitas, he should be in no doubt that he’s blown it. In a truly karmic world he would have left the stage last Thursday to be confronted by Alan Partridge, asking him if he had any idea how lame that was…

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1 Comment »

  1. […] you’ve never watched Steve Coogan on Question Time, so still cling to the notion that entertainers make natural social […]

    Pingback by Whom did Live Aid aid, exactly? Beware the pontificating celebrity | Notepad on Life — January 7, 2016 @ 4:48 am | Reply


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