Sunday, June 7, 2009

Paul Merton, Toothpicks and a Tub of Lard

In a word and IMHO (forgive the synonym but this is the 3rd millennium FCOL…For Crying Out Loud) HIGNFY (aka Have I Got News For You) would cease to exist without Paul Merton.

OK, so strictly speaking this isn’t true and HIGNFY has actually existed without the presence of Mr Merton on a number of occasions and I’m the first to admit that there have been some brilliantly funny guests on HIGNFY: Brian Blessed is always the first to spring to mind,( I tried to erase my memory of that episode where he took the HIGNFY podium, but to no avail, needless to say, I’m now seeking professional help) but Paul, Mr Merton, is undoubtedly the epicenter of this iconic satirical news quiz show thingy thing.

Certainly, though, there is conclusive proof that Mr Merton can single-handedly take on the opposition against all odds. As I recall, armed only with a Tub of Lard (due to the original choice of guest, Roy Hattersley failing to arrive, they got the next best thing and as understudies go, the Tub of Lard performed surprisingly well and one could be forgiven for not noticing the absence of Mr Hattersley) and as if that was not enough, the majority of Paul’s posers were in foreign languages, he still won. As we on the subject of HIGNFY episodes I can’t resist mentioning the one where a spate of puns themed around pot noodles had me quite literally rolling on the floor gasping for air, and not many comedians hit that mark for me, Paul consistently hits the spot with alarming accuracy with the force of a sledgehammer.

I could reference so many of HIGNFY episodes (and this entire post could become a rant about the funniest moments on said show) alas, it is impossible for me to pick out a favorite but I do have a fantasy HIGHFY line-up in my head: Paul Merton, Bill Bailey v Ian Hislop and Eddie Izzard all being Presented by Jo Brand…or maybe Jack Dee (his “webisode” appearance was nothing short of stunning). Now that I would pay good money to see!

Paul Merton isn’t all HIGNFY (and neither is this blog, despite how it may appear) and it almost escaped my memory that he had his own series way back when aptly named “Paul Merton – The Series” full to the brim of comedy sketches and his peculiar monologues from behind a newspaper stand. And he is a stand-up comedian (good link huh?) even though many of us at the mention of his name immediately think of him behind the HIGNFY desk spouting out captions for photos of the weeks news. His meager beginnings at the Comedy Store in London (which I may add he was scared witless of performing and took an age to finally pluck up courage to go on stage) and an uphill struggle from there on, serves as a great inspiration to my own personal arduous ascent in the comedy world (ascent not quite the right word as I've not yet got anywhere but you catch my drift I hope)

This all said and done I get the impression (and I’m struggling for the right phraseology here) that although I’m sure Mr Merton is a lovely bloke (and I’ve not met the man to be fair so entirely speculation), I have a guttural feeling he’s also, could quite possibly be, an annoying git. Now don’t get me wrong and I’m sure you’re wondering why the hell I’m writing about a comedy hero of mine only to underhandedly stab them in the back, albeit with a toothpick, but you misconstrue my approach, it’s not meant as an attack but merely an observation that I relate to as I often feel my description is “Lovely lass, but a tendency to become intensely irritating after 3 minutes” (though I am writing this after a few beers so in the sober light of day I may well acquiesce….or just feel queasy…probably the later….see what I mean about the three minute cut-off point, though I could make anyone I’m in the company of feel slightly better during a 3 minute warning)

Just one last thing I think I have to say, Paul, mate, get a haircut.

The man has his own Website….finally.

And I was intending to post links to the webisodes and other clips of HIGNFY but frankly I’m far too inebriated to go tralling through youtube so you can bloody well look for them yourself, trust me, it’s worth the effort.

(Question: Why I haven't included a pic of the man? Answer: Beer)

(Another Question: Did I spellcheck this post? Answer: Did I hell)

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