What’s Wrong With the World? News and Lenny Henry

What’s Wrong With The World is a new AF feature that highlights some of the reasons why we find ourselves in the mess we’re in.  Of course I’m not saying these are solely to blame.  But surely they contribute.  So time for a good ol’ fashioned AF Rant about two very annoying things:

This is the news ... Is that it? Really?? Oh well, back to my X-box/PS3/laptop/watching-paint-dry (Source: Media-Wales.co.uk)

News Coverage

Back in the day I was told that it was important to watch the news and be kept informed about current affairs.  I was told it was important because it was good to be up to date with what’s going on.  It’s good to be aware, it’s good to pay attention.

Now on the strength of that advice (and one or two other bits and pieces) I spent a considerable time studying current affairs and watching the news and even reading the newspapers to be kept up to date.

What I’ve noticed is that this is largely a waste of time.  The kind of information you are made aware of is either superficial or tainted with so much bias you are not so much getting news as getting the tinted glasses perspective on the world.  Pure objectivity is impossible, I know that, but still, some of the efforts to tell the ‘news’ really make the whole point of having rules on the issue pointless.

So if I look professional and offer the right voice intonations and facial gestures that will completely disguise the sheer mediocrity of the content I'm offering.(Source:perryandtsua.com)

Then we have how the news agenda is organised – what goes where and why, what is reported, what’s omitted, etc.  When I look at some of the news coverage now I am amazed that people actually still take it as being so important.  It can either so self-congratulatory or inflated beyond all measure and as a result marginalise issues and events that are more important.  Take the whole deal of 4 serious issues and a light fluffy one to end with – what is that all about?  Why do that?  It becomes so contrived at times that it fits right into the microwave culture that wants things easily packaged, easily cooked and easily digested.

That does not mean I give up on news or being informed.  It just means I tend to take more of my time considering what I’m offered and how it’s offered before indulging it.  With a menu like this, though, no wonder people are apathetic.

Lenny Henry

This guy has done a lot in the entertainment business for 30 years ... so it's a pity that his latest stuff is ... poor (Source: Daily Mail)

Back in the late 1980’s, Lenny Henry was funny.  He arranged sketch shows and performed as a variety of characters that made you laugh.  They made you laugh because they were funny.

Nearly 30 years later and Lenny Henry is back on my television screen with a comedy show – The One Lenny Henry. He has gathered a splendid array of comic talent around him in a bid to show classy comedy – Omid Djalli, Ronni Ancona and Peter Serafinowicz are no slouches at this making people laugh business.  Lenny has brought back Delbert Wilkins and some other characters.  He’s doing some of his stand-up routine as well.  He’s putting in music numbers that have jokes in the lyrics.  He is gurning, he’s impersonating, he’s doing sight-gags, he’s coming up with one-liners.  He’s worked alongside a number of writers to put everything together.  He has put a lot into the mixer.

And he’s not funny.

Maybe it’s an age thing.  Maybe he’s trying to do stuff that fitted a time and it doesn’t fit anymore.  Maybe he’s trying too hard and ending with a product that can’t be put on for families to watch, but is hardly the hard-hitting stuff that makes most adults stay up to watch it.  The whole schtick just comes across as tired.  As spent.  As reworking old routines and doing it in the hope that people will still like it, when that era has come and gone.  Some comedy is timeless, but some comedy is fit for the time and Lenny’s material just came across that way.

I'm sure he remains a funny guy, but I struggle to see how he could have responded to his TV material like this(Source: Guardian)

I don’t take relish in slamming the guy’s television stuff.  Some contacts have stated that he’s still getting big laughs on the comedy circuit.  Yet what I watched on the television was dire.  The best jokes merely made me smile, yet a lot of the stuff had me cringing not in embarrassment of how risqué he was being, but how cheesy it was coming across.  That I watched the whole programme was more a testament to me hoping he would come good in the end.  That’s a testament to how funny the guy was.

Now …

So. Lenny Henry and the news.  They are not to blame for all of the world’s evils, but surely … SURELY they must accept their role in the mess we’re in.



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