The British Comedy Awards 2008 – Live Blog

Thanks to Jonathan Ross making an idiot of himself with Russell Brand, award-winning comedian, actor and presenter Angus Deayton took over hosting this year’s British Comedy Awards. The big story of the night was the muted response to Ricky Gervais winning the award for Best TV Comedy Actor. He may have resigned from his radio show in disgrace, but Russell Brand’s comedy talent was acknowledged. He picked up the award for Best Live Stand Up Performer and dedicated it to Jonathan Ross. Read on as I take you through the night as it unfolded…

9.15: We start with lots of flash photography and celebs hitting the red carpet. Angus is at the podium. He fluffed the opening quip ("Normally it’s the winners who can’t be here tonight, but in this case it’s the host"). However, he brought it back by pointing out that he’s hosting instead of Jonathan Ross due to the "30,000 self-righteous t**ts who never heard the programme in the first place." Hahahahaha! He even invited Daily Mail readers to start phoning Ofcom and save themselves some time. Angus also joked: "John Barrowman’s got his penis out again. Oh no, he hasn’t, he’s sitting next to Bernie Ecclestone." Hahahahaha! Rude, offensive, juvenile and very funny. That’s more like it. His snappy opening monologue managed to poke fun at various targets including the credit crunch, Five (the TV channel), George Bush and Sarah Palin.

9.26: Time for the first award; it’s the British Comedy Entertainment Personality Award and 30 Rock star Alec Baldwin (no less) is handing it over. He’s picked up on Angus’ diss and asks if Five is the "Siberia of UK TV channels." The audience roars with laughter and a very funny exchange follows about Five. After much merriment, the award goes to…………Alan Carr! That’s a surprise; I would’ve put money on Ant and Dec. They’ve been on top form this year: from Britain’s Got Talent right through to I’m A Celebrity. A visibly shocked Alan Carr wastes his big moment; his speech is about as funny as a heart attack. He gushes ("I love everybody!), looks at his award and gushes again. He obviously didn’t prepare a speech (and admits it). On the basis of that acceptance performance, he deserves to never, ever, ever win another award again. "Thank you very much. See you on Celebair," he ends. The lesson here is; fail to prepare, prepare to fail.

9.30: Best Female Performer has gone to Sharon Horgan. The most notable thing about this award was comedian Stephen K Amos. He attempted a joke about being the second black comedian there and the sound that followed was not laughter; it was the tumbleweed rolling across the stage. Stephen, we know you’re black – we can see it. What’s more, you say it every single time you’re on TV. The bigger surprise is that you’re gay. Make a joke about black gay men and I just might be able to stifle my yawn next time. Either change the record or nick something from Chris Rock. Now there’s a man who can make gut-busting race observations.

21: 45: Anthony Head and Eva Mendes show up to present the next award. A strange pairing indeed. Angus tries to find out how much of an Anglophile Eva Mendes is and asks her what she knows about Brit comedies. She mentions growing up loving Benny Hill. He tells her to try someone who’s alive. "He’s dead!!!??" she replies, genuinely shocked. Cue a roar of laughter from the audience. They announce the award (why are two people needed to do this?) Best Comedy Entertainment Programme goes to……….Harry Hill’s TV Burp. Yep, well-deserved. He has me on the floor with his pinpoint accurate TV observations. The entire production team, minus an absent Harry Hill, go up to collect the award. That’s my cue to put the kettle on.

21:49: The award for Best Live Stand Up Performer goes to…..Russell Brand! Much enthusiastic cheering – one senses that the star-studded audience feel any endorsement of the Manuelgate/Sachsgate/whatever-gate you want to call it, duo is akin to striking a blow for freedom, democracy or revolution; like they’re all Che Guevara or something. Russell can’t be there (he’s filming in LA, dahhhhhhhhhhling) so we go to VT and there’s the incredibly unfunny Adam Sandler (stubbing your toe is funnier) standing next to the incredibly dandy-ish Russell Brand. He makes a nice speech and generously dedicates his award to his Manuelgate/Sachsgate/whatever-gate you want to call it, partner-in-crime Jonathan Ross. The only thing missing was him sticking two fingers up at the Daily Mail.

21:56: Ronnie Corbett is wheeled out for The Writers’ Guild Ronnie Barker Award. Hooray for both Ronnies! What legends. The award goes to David Renwick, best known for sitcom One Foot in the Grave and the mystery series Jonathan Creek. His speech includes a touching tribute to recently deceased comedy writers and producers.

22:03: It’s another American A-lister! What is this, the Emmys? Anyway Juliette Lewis, a former girlfriend of Brad Pitt no less, shows up to present the next award. "How are The Licks?" Angus asks, before explaining to anyone who’s not-with-it that The Licks is the name of her rock band. An older looking Juliette (how did that happen? When did those lines appear on her neck?) goes into a long and not very interesting spiel about why the band’s name may have to change. After what seems like a year, Juliette finally announces that the Best Television Comedy Drama goes to….Drop Dead Gorgeous. A bit of a surprise as Channel 4’s Skins was the much-hyped likely winner.

22:10: The Outstanding Contribution To British Comedy is awarded posthumously. It’s gone to Geoffrey Perkins who was a comedy producer, writer and performer and a central figure in British comedy broadcasting. Recently deceased (he died from injuries after an accident involving a lorry) his CV includes the likes of Spitting Image, The Fast Show, Benidorm, Father Ted and Friday Night Live. His children go up to receive the award. Bless.

22:18: That bloomin’ gory advert warning people to wear a seat belt has just been on. Y’know the one I mean? The one with the graphic illustration of internal organs being damaged. I was eating pizza too. Yuck.

22:21: Lucy Davis (now living and working in LA) and Adrian Chiles are on hand to present the next award. Angus quips that The One Show is so-called because "it was the one show that nobody thought would work". Hahahaha! The award for Best Comedy Panel Show goes to……QI. Phil Jupitus goes up to collect the gong from the lovely Lucy. He opens with "Yeah, and they can stick it too!" To nobody’s surprise, it doesn’t get much of a response. But then he observes: "I got into comedy because I didn’t want to be a fat, middle-aged bloke, stuck behind a desk doing the same thing every week…." Cue laughter from the audience and Phil wisely decides to quit while he’s ahead.

22:25: Heston Blumenthal and Tamsin Outhwaite step up to present the next award. Angus clearly struggles to make the requisite pointless-introductory-chatter-at-the-podium and when he eventually finds a hook (Little Chef restaurants – the celeb chef is making them over), Heston takes too long trying to find something to say and there isn’t time to shoot the breeze with Tamsin. Hilarious! Now that’s what I call TV gold. She graciously moves on with the show and announces that the Best TV Comedy Actor Award goes to……Ricky Gervais for 2007’s Extras Christmas Special. There’s disappointment and resentment in the room and one heckler audibly shouts out "B*ll*cks!" as Ricky’s VT is rolling. You couldn’t make it up. Is it anger that Peep Show’s David Mitchell didn’t win? Who knows. The VT shows Ricky Gervais in his pyjamas: "I can’t be bothered to be here, there in person," he says. "This is beneath me to be honest. I’ve won real awards, Golden Globes and Emmys." Laughter ensued when he revealed a string vest-wearing George Michael in bed with him, surrounded by all his awards. A bit of double entendre followed (Gervais’ hand is under the covers and he pulls out something hard – it’s a DVD of his shows). The VT ends but the audience is a tad slow to clap and cheer. "Ricky Gervais, a popular winner," says Angus Deayton. 

22: 36: Robert Powell steps up to announce the winner of the British Comedy Lifetime Achievement Award (why do I still only think of him as Jesus of Nazareth?). The recipient is Jasper Carrott. Daughter Lucy has tears in her eyes – I’m wondering if it’s tears of embarrassment cos her dad’s dying up there courtesy of his strangely humourless acceptance speech. At the end, he says comedy is a young person’s game. Yeah? Try telling that to Larry Sandler.

22: 40: Frank Skinner and someone from the sponsor of the event go up to the podium for the last award of the night. Frank Skinner quips: "Your suspension’s dragging on a bit, innit?" Cue huge cheers and laughter. Yes BBC, get him back and give him a show. He may be a Man Utd supporter, but even I’ve forgiven him for that. Frank Skinner announces that the Best TV Comedy is……Gavin and Stacey. Funniest thing is the audible heckler who cries out: "F**k off!" Ladies and gents, I don’t think I could’ve put it better. Just for good measure, he shouts it again. The ITV1 awards ends in a rush because we have to turn over to ITV2 for the last three gongs (which are featured in a programme also including the after-show party). What kind of poxy programming is that? OK, I’m turning over. Bloody lot of nonsense if you ask me….


22:47: Some bird (no idea who she is) is at the podium with Angus Deayton to present the Best New British Comedy gong. It goes to The Inbetweeners. It’s a Channel 4 comedy about a group of sixth-form teenagers in surbubia. They’re not cool enough to be popular and they’re not geeky enough to be shunned – hence, The Inbetweeners. Everyone gets up on stage to accept the award and much mayhem ensues.

22:55: It’s time for the Best Television Comedy Newcomer (Female) and the award goes to…Katy Brand. How is that possible? Gordon Brown is funnier than she is. That Big Ass show of hers is big ar*e. Oh well.

22:59: It’s time for the Best Television Comedy Newcomer (Male) and the award goes to…Simon Bird, star of The Inbetweeners. Channel 4 will be happy.

And that’s it. I can see why the last three awards are shoved onto ITV2 now, but my work here is done. That’s it for another year. On Angus Deayton’s showing, I don’t think Jonathan Ross has got too much to worry about. Admittedly, this hasn’t been a vintage British Comedy Awards by any means. Absent stars, rubbish speeches – that was nearly two hours of my life that I will never get back…g’night.

Today I am mostly lovin’ – How good is the BBC’s comedy TV gem Outnumbered? If you haven’t heard of it, don’t worry – you’re not the only one. I’m a relative newcomer to this show and I’m kicking myself that I didn’t discover it earlier. Largely improvisational, it’s a neat twist on the family sitcom. And it’s funny as hell. I’ll go into more detail about this series in a forthcoming blog entry. See it on Saturday nights on BBC1 or catch-up with the latest instalment on Wednesdays on BBC2 or the BBC’s iPlayer.

Today I am mostly hatin’ – The fact that there’ll be no more Terry Wogan on Eurovision. What a legend. It’s the end of an era, peeps. 

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3 Responses to The British Comedy Awards 2008 – Live Blog

  1. Sheila says:

    I\’m totally with you regarding the Poo advert, I just couldn\’t believe it when I first saw it, how gross and like you say, shown at meal times. Ewww. Which stupid individual thought up this ad, they should be fired, preferrably from a canon!

  2. Ken says:

    I fully agree with you about the poo advert, I don\’t like it either, but are we in the minority? In this day and age it is not only this item that makes some of us cringe, when you consider some of the silly things that we are told not to say just in case we offend someone, the things we are told we cannot do just in case we get hurt or hurt someone. Generally, intelligent thinking is going to pot but I am afraid this is the age we live in and will not change. Nutcases are managing to get into influential positions and turning this country around. We used to be what was called a free country, now, I for one feel trapped and caught up in a nightmare of human rights that makes me afraid to put one foot out of line.

  3. Natalie says:

    I agree. Just a horrible ad for any time of day or night. Fortunately for me, I moved abroad 6 years ago so am not exposed to this or any other rubbish aired on British tv. Have to say though, your article had me LOL. Very well written and thank you for my Thursday morning chuckle.

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