The head of BBC comedy recently came out and admitted it's hard to find rightwing comics these days. Not that they are looking, of course, or, indeed welcome at the BBC. You have to go right back to the 1970s sitcoms and working men's club stand-up to be able to hear that stuff. Most would agree that we don't need to ridicule people purely for the color of their skin or send up their sexuality anymore and happy that's gone but just as many people are fed up on how feeble our comedy has become because of that fear and political correctness. The last stand up I really laughed at was the great Bill Hicks and the loveable Peter Kaye, about it for comics to get you holding your sides, neither doing blue stuff, one now dead and the other increasingly scarce on our TV screens.
Because of the lefty legacy we have an endless stream of tedious young men wearing gingham shirts and jeans trying rather too hard not to be controversial and upset anyone with their comedy and so nobody really laughing, just polite applause from the predominately white middle-class audiences, the modern comic more interested in getting lucrative voice over work or corporate gigs over actually bringing the house down. I really do think they write stuff to get money, not laughs. Don't get me started on young female comics coming through. Listening to shrill Sarah Millican doing her Geordie Mrs Merton impression is excruciating as someone running their nails down the blackboard to me. Sarah Silverman is the ONLY young female funny stand up out there.
Apart from Ricky Gervais acceptable edgy humor to the middle-class it's the guys and girls who do impressions who are the last bastion of comedy where you could be subtly right wing and get away with it, the characters you mimic the conduit for, brilliantly done in Spitting Image. Stand ups like Steve Cogan tried to make it work but most surrendered to comedy characters and the art seemed to die and become corny again. The impressions genre simply tanked in the 1990s as Rory Bremner got all satirical and boring and so the bar set at the wrong height, the genre hitting rock bottom last year with the dreadful 'Impressions Show' on BBC 1, the script seemingly written on the back of a fag packet by a 12-year-old. Classy mimics like Ronnie Ancona and john Culshaw surrender to those politically correct scripts and impressions and we stopped marveling at their obvious talents.
It may be extremely unfashionable to like impressionists these days but as mimic myself I watch what I can n search of new talent. But Channel Four may be our savior, the fresh faced talents of Morgana Robinson and Terry Mynott unleashed on the alternative channel to do their thing, the mimics coming up with a mixture of impressions we may not have expected to be sent up, including the unusual site of a female mimic doing male characters, Morgana's Frankie Boyle and Russell Brand inspired. There has always been something of the bitchy girl about Brand and so why not? Morgana also does a fabulous and energetic Ferne Cotton, a rather cruel Natalie Cassidy and a boozy Adele. Another female mimic chips in (Francine Harris) with a rather excellent Katy Price and her star turn. Terry Mynott's are more conventional, like Simon Cowell and the airhead Dr Brian Cox, but as bold and brave as Morgana, fellow mimic Matt Morgan also chipping in with characters. The lists they do are not that conventional. Ok, some are not so goo and should have been left alone, like Cheryl Cole, but the cast cutely aware they have to tease that younger audience in with characters they can relate to. I much prefer Morgana's Christine Bleakley to the real one.
Characters in the show include: Adele, Jennifer Aniston, David Attenborough, Christine Bleakley, Frankie Boyle, Russell Brand, Charlie Brooker, Alan Carr, Natalie Cassidy, Amy Childs, Cheryl Cole, Fearne Cotton, Simon Cowell, Brian Cox, Sophie Dahl, Danny Dyer, Noel Fielding, Liam Gallagher, Noel Gallagher, Nick Grimshaw, Bear Grylls, Perez Hilton, Jessie J, Christian Jessen, Tom Jones, Kerry Katona, Martine McCutcheon, David Mitchell, Barack Obama, Katy Perry, Katie Price, Kate Middleton, Gordon Ramsay, Jonathan Ross, Mickey Rourke, Charlie Sheen, Stacey Solomon, Vince Vaughan, David Walliams, Kimberley Walsh, Owen Wilson and Terry Wogan.
The attraction of VIP is the weld of clever writing with the often obtuse characters, as sharp and cheeky stuff as we have seen since Spitting Image, the impressions fresh and not just about the send up of our gormless celebrity culture but giving them a narrative. The impressionists are able to satirize with a freehand because of their late night slot on a less conservative channel and so room for plenty of cynical observation and biting jokes, but done in a fun way to draw that wider audience, a show you can watch with your granny. It's laugh behind your hand stuff at times.
Because of the success of the show Mynott has been awarded his own pilot called 'Mimic', which was also rather fun. Morgana had her own show back in 2010 called; you guessed it, The Morgana Show. These are two young talents you need to keep an eye on and Mynott, an enjoyable mix of Steve Cogan and Rob Brydon, sure tog o far, as is Morgana Robinson and equal to Ronnie Ancona.
The whole series for you to enjoy free: http://www.channel4.com/programmes/very-important-people