Have I Got News For You
Thursday, 14 October 2010
I’ve just got home from recording Have I Got News For You (on TV tonight at 9pm), and I honestly have no idea how it went. I’m slightly drunk - only two glasses of wine after the show, but I was too nervous to eat beforehand and, as viewers of this week’s Only Connect will know, it only takes a fiver to get me plastered anyway. Two glasses of wine is more than enough.
I said quite a lot of things, that’s the main thing. If the editors are feeling kindly, I’m sure they can find two reasonable sentences from me somewhere in the mix, and drop them in to make me look articulate. Then again, I also said plenty of idiotic things, and things that seemed funny in my head but weren’t out loud - so I could just as easily look like a total moron.
Someone asked me on Twitter, “Don’t they give you script help anyway?”. I don’t know where this myth has come from - maybe from an old article someone wrote ten years ago (I can’t remember who), “blowing the whistle” on this show. But it isn’t true at all. If it ever was, it isn’t now. There’s no preparation. You just read the papers, and try to inform yourself about the bigger stories so that you don’t look too dim. Certainly nobody gives you scripted jokes, or the answers, or time to research or write them. I’m sure some professional comedians choose to plan a bit of stuff around the week’s big news, but it’s really a proper quiz where you turn up and chat, and know things or don’t know them according to what’s rattling around your head on the night.
What I can tell you is that everyone else on the show was really good. The host was Benedict Cumberbatch from the brilliant Sherlock and he did a great job. It was his first time out, and he’s an actor not a comedian, but he was relaxed and confident and funny - and he’s a really nice guy. Paul Merton and Ian Hislop were on great form, and the other guest (Jon Richardson) was incredibly good; literally everything he said was funny. I can’t remember much of what I said, but I laughed a lot at everyone else, so I think it’ll be a good show even if I’m rubbish.
It’s dangerous to blog it here, of course. There’s such a quick turnaround. Normally when you record a show, you get to see a DVD in advance so you know if you want to BURY IT FOREVER and pray that nobody ever finds out you were on. Not so here. I’ll find out what I was like at the same time as everyone else - later, probably, since the chances are I’ll run off and hide at the Vic during the broadcast, then watch it nervously in the small hours from behind the sofa.
But the others were good, that’s all I can promise you. The others were good.