‘Your impressions are giving me morning sickness’ said Lord Sugar
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 18 ‘You coming to the National Reality TV Awards tonight?’ asked Susanna Reid during a commercial break on Good Morning Britain.
‘Never heard of them,’ I replied. ‘But they sound ghastly.’
‘We’re up for three awards,’ she continued. ‘Best Talk Show, me for Best TV Presenter and both of us for Celebrity Personality of the Year.’
‘These things are utterly meaningless,’ I sneered.
‘Agreed,’ she nodded. ‘Unless you win one, obviously…’
At 10pm, my iPhone buzzed with a message from Susanna that contained a photo of her with the award for Best TV Presenter and ten smiley emoticons.
Ten minutes later, she sent another smirking picture of herself with the Celebrity Personality of the Year award and the caption: ‘Won both!’
Then a third arrived of her almost exploding with gloating joy as she clutched the Best Talk Show award. ‘Hat-trick!’
A fourth photo arrived an hour later, featuring brightly coloured condoms.
Whoa… it seemed like my co-host’s ecstatic celebrations were getting quickly out of hand. ‘The goody bag!’ Susanna clarified. ‘I know how Hillary felt now,’ I replied. ‘I won the popular vote.’
‘We both know you’d never win a popular vote,’ she retorted.
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 27 Over the past few weeks, I’ve amused myself on GMB by doing impersonations of everyone from David Beckham and Katie Price to a monkey. Not everyone’s been as amused as me. ‘Piers, don’t take this the wrong way,’ emailed Lord Sugar as I prepared to address the nation today, ‘but all this trying to imitate people’s voices and singing chants like “Oh Jeremy Corbyn” is not doing you any favours and starting to look like a slapdash comedy show. You have done well being controversial but this stupid voice stuff is OTT. I mean you no harm. Anyway there you are. Alan.’
‘Does this mean I can’t do my Alan Sugar impression today?’ I responded.
‘All the professional impersonators like Rory Bremner can’t do it,’ he said, ‘so you have no chance. But seriously, pack it in – it is very cringey.’
Of course, I then spent much of the next two-and-a-half hours crudely impersonating him in a way that viewers thought sounded more like Grant Mitchell and Jack Sparrow than the old growler.
Sugar, whose new Apprentice series is about to abominate our airwaves, took it well. ‘I am watching GMB,’ he tweeted, ‘and your impressions are giving me morning sickness. I’m not pregnant.’
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 29
Playboy founder Hugh Hefner has died at the age of 91, leaving behind his widow Crystal, a 31-year-old ex-Playmate. I feel partly responsible for their marriage. In February 2011, the Hef appeared with Crystal on my old CNN show to announce their engagement.
Five months later Hefner reappeared alone to discuss why Crystal had jilted him days before the wedding – taking a £300,00 Bentley he’d just bought her, and a £70,000 engagement ring. ‘Do you think she took you for a ride?’ I asked.
‘I think an argument could be made for that, yes,’ he admitted. ‘But I must say, it was a pretty nice ride! And she’d have got a lot more if she’d married me. I missed a bullet...’
Crystal heard this, raced back to Hefner’s arms faster than a hyperactive greyhound and they wed the next year.
Today, it emerged that under the terms of their pre-nup marriage contract, Crystal will inherit £3 million in cash and a luxury £5 million home in the Hollywood Hills.
So Hefner did eventually catch that bullet.
TuESDAY, OcTOBER 3 The appalling mass shooting in Las Vegas almost defies belief for its scale and horror. I’ve campaigned for gun control in America since the Sandy Hook atrocity in 2012, when I was working for CNN. One of my most enlightened conversations about this explosive issue came with a famous US actress after another school shooting in 2015 during the US election race, when a student at Umpqua College in Oregon shot dead a professor and eight other students in a classroom.
‘What IS it with your nation and guns?’ I asked the actress.
‘Shameful, I know,’ she replied. ‘It’s so deeply controversial and brings up so many other issues: race relations, religious intolerances, etc – so since we can’t solve each of those in one fell swoop, the logical solution would be to have much stricter gun laws. But there is resistance. Not sure how you sleep at night with that over your head unless you fall into the Trump school of thought that it’s not the guns but the mental illness. So then why give mentally ill people access to guns? Legally? It’s staggering. I admired your stance at CNN on gun violence. Just wish more people in my country would make a stand about it.’
‘If America regulated guns like it does cars,’ I replied, ‘thousands of lives would be saved every year.’
‘Yes,’ she agreed. ‘I read an interesting thing on Instagram recently suggesting we treat every man who wants a gun like a young woman who wants an abortion. So he’d have a mandatory 48-hour waiting period, parental permission and a note from his doctor proving he knows what he’s doing. Then he’d be shown a video about the effects of gun violence and when he tried to buy one, he’d be made to walk through a bunch of people calling him a murderer because their loved ones had been shot dead.’
Good idea from at least one American who understands something has to be done to stop the slaughter.
The actress was Meghan Markle.