Out Of The Frying Pan, Into Have I Got News For You
Thursday, 8 April 2010
Oh yes. Question Time last week, Have I Got News For You this week, I feel quite the Britney Spears. But worry not, small coterie of like-minded friends: after the Only Connect final on Monday night, I won’t be on TV for WEEKS. In fact, all I’m planning is one little thing in May (will go up on the news page of this site when the date’s confirmed), and other than that, it will be MONTHS. Back to a quiet life of writing and poker, no more of this prancing about shouting jokes that may or may not work and, whether they do or not, are bound to exasperate some people…
I’ve just got back from the HIGNFY recording and I honestly don’t know how it went. I think it was sort of fine. Ian Hislop (who was very lovely and kind and caretakey) told me in advance that the worst thing was to be silent and say nothing, so I definitely didn’t do that. I said lots of things, and am entrusting my dignity to the editors, in terms of hoping they’ll broadcast anything that made sense and/or seemed vaguely amusing, and not broadcast anything that didn’t or wasn’t. But you never know.
I remember once reading some kind of exposé of this show, in which it was “shockingly revealed” that everybody knows the questions in advance and prepares all the answers. NOT TRUE. That’s such nonsense - it really is just like a conversation. About 20 minutes before going in to do the programme, they show you a few images from the first question (because it would be weird if everyone was silent) but they don’t tell you what it’s about and you don’t have time to “plan jokes”. Anyone who does that - and some professional comedians may feel obliged to - can only do it by reading the papers for a few days in advance, guessing what’s going to come up and planning accordingly. Non-comedians, hurray, don’t need to do this because there’s not such an obligation to be funny. Also, they show you the missing words thing (with the words missing), but again they only do it JUST before you go in, to avoid a shocked silence and strange unbroadcastable TV, you don’t have time to flick through papers looking up the answers or anything - and everything else is completely unseen, you just wing it and try to play the game like any other game. You know stuff or you don’t. Obviously the host has a script, but nobody else does, so if you’ve ever wondered if this is a completely rehearsed show, I can promise you that it isn’t.
Anyway, it’s on tonight (Thursday) at 9pm on BBC 1. I hope it’ll look all right on television. If not, I’m sure I’ll hear about it…. ;-)