Ben, they’re not laughing now
IWONDER if Ben Elton’s thought of that old Bob Monkhouse line anytime in the past three weeks: ‘‘ They laughed when I said I was going to be a comedian. They’re not laughing now.’’
Poor sod. More importantly, poor us. But if you’re going to call yourself a comedian, you’ve pretty much painted yourself into a corner and now, well, we have expectations. Also based on Ben Elton’s other shows: The Young Ones, Black Adder, Mr Bean . . . as I’m writing this I’m thinking, why is he working? Isn’t he rolling in residuals? Or as the person who merely wrote these shows did he end up getting dudded?
So I’mon a plane the other day, all the people I can see around me are reading, and the only time any of them look up at the news is when the story about Shane Warne being accused of shagging the porn star came on. Even the guys in the pinstripe suits who are also the first to reach for their phone and who are the busiest most important people on the plane.
My mother says to me: Oh, I’m so sick of Shane Warne. Really. Yes, we were all just saying down at wherever, over multiple cups of coffee, how sick of him we all were. Everybody’s talking about Shane Warne. Nobody’s talking about Ben Elton. Only we are, in the media, and that’s only because we can smell a kill. We always carry on like this. And by carry on I mean carrion, as in Ben Elton Live From Planet Earth’s rotting carcass. Which isn’t going to happen anyway, I don’t reckon. Nine’s just going to run the shows they asked for in the first place, the end. That’s like, another episode? Three maybe, if there’s some programming reason? And then I’d be putting Shane Warne’s show back on. Kind of crazy, but something intangible’s happened to his Q score since his Liz Hurley whatever that was and I feel like people want to see him again. People other than Liz Hurley, I mean.
And let’s get The Farmer Wants a Wife out of that stupid spot it’s in now. Eight-thirty is insane for this show. It’s got 7.30pm written all over it. It’s not like we’ve got farmers nuding up three deep in a hot tub. I’ve been waiting five seasons and it’s never going to happen, I know that now. It’s dying where it is, at that time and on that night. What’s wrong with a Monday? There’s nothing special going on there. You’d run Farmer at 7.30 . . . it’s rated PG anyway. And then you’d put This Is Your Life in there when the series ends, because it’s not an 8.30 show either. Don’t ever feel you can’t just ring Channel 9 with programming solutions of your own. They love it.
Painted into a corner: Ben Elton.