Robert Hampton

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12th February 2015

Gone Stewart
Posted by at 10.50pm | Television | No responses

The latest US late night host to quit is Jon Stewart of The Daily Show. He surprised his audience with the announcement:-

I haven’t watched The Daily Show regularly since More4 axed it, but I’m well aware that this is a massive moment in pop culture: equivalent to the Beatles breaking up or Wesley Crusher leaving Star Trek: The Next Generation. OK, maybe not that last one.

Stewart’s high point was probably during the Bush years, when he was a rare voice of sanity and reason in the media. For troubled liberals all over America (and the world) it was reassuring to tune in at 11pm four nights a week and have that frustration with the state of things articulated so well.

Few have had such a massive impact on both pop culture and the political zeitgeist as Stewart. Whatever he does next, his legacy in TV history is assured.

Much speculation over who the Daily Show will turn to for its next host. Is it too much to hope for long-time TDS correspondent (and very funny person) Samantha Bee to take over?

3rd August 2011

Parliamentary Privilege
Posted by at 7.55pm | Television | No responses

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart has been covering the phone hacking scandal extensively. However, if you’re in the UK, you wouldn’t have got to see much of their coverage, because More4 was forced to pull a recent episode off the air, having fallen foul of a rule prohibiting the use of Parliamentary footage in a satirical or comedic context.

It’s a ludicrous state of affairs, and Stewart’s response (reproduced below) is exactly appropriate.

Also, I really want a Mattessons Pork Sausage for some reason.

19th March 2011

Not the Ten O’Clock News
Posted by at 6.38pm | Television | 1 response

When Channel 4 announced 10 O’Clock Live, I was sceptical. A topical comedy show reacting to the news? Channel 4’s recent record in this area is littered with less than thrilling examples including The 11 O’Clock Show and Tonightly. I was especially disappointed when, at almost the same time, we were told that The Daily Show had been axed from More4. Was Channel 4 worried that the US import would show up its own attempt at news dissection?

I had quite low expectations, in spite of the top roster of talent we were promised: Jimmy Carr, David Mitchell, Charlie Brooker and Lauren Laverne. All good in their own right, but would they work well together in the high-pressure environment of live telly? I wasn’t convinced.

I sat down in front of the first episode with a very jaded eye. I fully expected to hate it, and the first few episodes were shaky, but I decided to stick with it in the hope that it might improve. I’m glad I did, because the show has overcome its initial nervousness and after nine episodes has built up confidence, to the point that I now look forward to it each week.

Topical news-based comedy like this is quite difficult to do. If you’re tackling serious issues through humour, great care must be taken to avoid treating a subject too lightly — or even worse, looking smug. It’s hard to get right, but 10 O’Clock Live manages to pull it off, most of the time anyway.

As for the Daily Show comparison, well… to be honest, the show is different enough that direct comparisons with Jon Stewart’s programme are meaningless. Many of the targets — evil politicians, corrupt bankers, media distortions — are the same, but the presentation is completely different.

Truly though, the great thing about it is that Charlie Brooker gets to do what amounts to a mini-version of Newswipe for weeks on end. In this clip from Thursday’s show, he attacks the TV and newspaper coverage of the Japanese earthquake, the ensuing tsunami and the Fukushima nuclear crisis.

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31st December 2009

2009? More like Woo! Thousand and Nine!

Was this year an exciting way to say goodbye to the decade? Here’s a reminder of what happened on planet Hampo this year (part 2, hopefully, follows tomorrow):-

January started out with one of my favourite shows being revived. Despite being up against EastEnders and being hosted by Ben Shepherd, the Krypton Factor did well enough to be recommissioned for a second series. We found out Who would replace David Tennant, and a year later we still haven’t actually seen him in the role. ITV’s latest attempt to ape the success of Doctor Who was Demons which failed spectacularly; the only creative thing about it being the number of different excuses the writers found for Christian Cooke to remove clothing.

In the wider world, various eras were drawing to a close, as Woolworths closed its doors, Tony Hart kicked the bucket and Dubya left office. Meanwhile, yours truly had an enjoyable night in London Theatreland.

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