Tuesday, June 18, 2024
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Mash of the Day: Left-wingers, own goals, missed chances – everything but a decent joke


Did you see the Mash? The Mash Report, that is. What a load of rubbish. They don’t even try these days. So predictable.

Still, I’ve got a season ticket so I keep going back in the vague hope it’ll get better. I don’t know what I’d do without my BBC licence. Six months in Wormwood Scrubs, the judge said.

What’s happened to comedy on the BBC? The manager of the satire squad has clearly lost the dressing room and the most ghastly clique has taken over.

As a team, there’s not much of an engine room. The lack of drama in their collective life experiences means there’s no passion in the team. Just five lightweight peripheral Left-wingers.

Two are posh, articulate and gloriously attractive women who’ve convinced themselves that life has dealt them a bum hand. Another is an even posher white bloke. Again, nothing wrong with that, but I wish he’d stop feeling sorry for himself. The biggest threat to any of them seems to be the existence of the Daily Mail.

Now isn’t that a symptom of a life lived in a privilege bubble?

The programme was practically all about Trump and Brexit. I wouldn’t mind so much if they did quick punchy jokes. Set up, gag: set up, gag – that sort of thing. I was hoping they might surprise me with some revelation or insight I hadn’t thought of.

But no. It was all speeches.

Nish Kumar sounded like a politics student getting uppity on cider in the union bar, reading out the clunkier passages of one of his essays.

There was many a beginning and middle to these stories, but seemingly no end. Mash, where is thy sting? I found myself being jolted out of slumber by the canned laughter machine: ‘Whoa, hang on! Did I just miss the punch line?’

Then we hit rock bottom. A US guest who hasn’t come to terms with the election result there. She gave us her highly polarised view of US politics. Which still might be OK but sadly she got her polarities mixed up.

Her entire knowledge of her own country’s politics could have been printed on a lolly stick: Democrats good, Republicans baaad.

Slavery was mentioned – a lot. But her authority on this issue was undermined by the fact that she seemed to think Abraham Lincoln was a Democrat. He was a Republican. Whereas the man who shot Lincoln was a Democrat, and the politician who reversed some of Lincoln’s liberating legislation was a Democrat. And the slave plantation owners were Democrats, not Republicans.

This is a basic error for a UK moral grandstander – like the entire cast of the Mash Report. But this historical ignorance is a fatal flaw in a comic for whom American political history is her Mastermind speciality!

The person who booked her should have asked for our licence fee money back. A football manager would have refunded the fans for an away performance this dismal.

It’s bad enough when comedians bore us with their myopic politics. Even worse when they can’t be accurate. Be funny, or be accurate, but don’t be Mash.

In the interests of ticking the balance box on the diversity sheet, they did allocate one obligatory piece on Corbyn. One.

Which was so lame it actually put him in a good light. Yes, you’re thinking what I’m thinking: a deliberate ploy. Left-wing BBC comics are now so sycophantic they’ve gone the full Kim Jong.

There’s a new style of joke that BBC comedy shows use when approaching the obligatory Corbyn gag: it’s known in the trade as a PFD. Praise by Faint Damnation.

The PFD in this case was that Jem Cor Bin is . . . a bit boring [CANNED CHORTLE] because . . . he’s so nice [POLITE SNIGGER]. Yes, really. Nice. I’m not sure victims of the IRA and Hamas would have been laughing off the sofa at that one. Or the woman who was threatened with lynching by his mate from Momentum. (Whatever happened to those feminist principles you were touting, Mash reporters? You didn’t seem to have any long-term plans for those, did you?)

Meanwhile, whoever works the canned laughter machine deserves a BAFTA as the hardest working editor in showbusiness.

The Mash Report is on tomorrow night (Thursday 15th) on BBC 2.

Let’s hope they get the team sorted out: they’ve got five Left-wingers, no penetration, no shape and no spine. Apart from that, though, they’re in with a chance.

I don’t think I’ll be going. But I might see you there.

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Nick Booth
Nick Booth
Nick Booth is a freelance writer.

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