Listening to the first ten minutes of The News Quiz last night (couldn’t take any more than that) I was struck by how the audience reaction seemed a little out of proportion to the “funny” comments of the panellists. Even allowing for the fact that I – a right wing bastard – am never likely to be particularly impressed by The News Quiz, something still didn’t ring true.

Here are some clips all taken from the first ten minutes of the programme. You’ll hear the final few words of some “amusing quips” by Andy Hamilton, Sue Perkins (x2), Sandi Toksvig, Miles Jupp and Jeremy Hardy, and the audience reaction to each. Each clip is followed by a shorter clip isolating part of the audience response. Finally, the 6 isolated clips are played one after the other for direct comparison. Is it just me or is there something a tad similar about them?


What do you think – is there a bit of laugh track manipulation going on there? Could it be that even the sort of people who attend News Quiz recordings aren’t as impressed by the jokes as we’re led to believe?

Update. In response to a request in the comments, here’s the relevant part of the 6 clips in the form of sound wave graph thingies. Obviously they’re not entirely identical because there’s other stuff going on in each individual clip, but I think they’re close enough to suggest the same bit of laughter may have been added to each one:

Also via the comments I’m reminded that during the opening ten minutes of this week’s show Sandi Toksvig said, “It’s the Tories who have been putting the ‘n’ into cuts”. I’ve become so jaded by Radio 4 comedy, so inured to the bias, that this passed me by as just another unfunny joke. On reflection it really is quite a thing to say, especially when one considers the time the show goes out.

(On the other hand the Tories will indeed put the ‘n’ into cuts if they back down and say “Not now”, as that idiot Huhne has suggested.)

US Chat Show Host Shocked By Revelations About his Sex Life

Big on the BBC website headlines today was this about 62 year old US talk show host David Letterman

A man has been charged over an alleged plot to blackmail chat show host David Letterman over sexual relationships he had with female staff members.
CBS employee Robert “Joe” Halderman, was arrested after an undercover sting operation, New York authorities said.
Letterman confessed during a recording of his show, broadcast by CBS, that he had had sex with female colleagues.
He said a man had threatened to expose the relationships unless a payment of $2m (£1.2m) was made.

The American people breathed a collective sigh of relief – a clean, decent and always polite media hero is saved from the clutches of a blackmailer. Letterman himself said “This whole thing has been quite scary”

I wish someone had asked him if he had tried to “knock these women up” but no doubt his representative would have said that such crude remarks about a prominent media celebrity were cruel, demeaning and quite uncalled for. However, of course, slutty flight attendants from Alaska and their 14 yr old daughters, would be quite legitimate targets….


I accidentally caught the first ten minutes of the News Quiz on Radio 4 this evening. Hosted by dwarf lesbian Sandi Toksvig, her guests included hard left Jeremy Hardy, and the ubiquitous lesbian comedienne Sue Perkins. I see Mark Steel will grace the programme in the near future.
Within 60 seconds, the usual spleen was being directed towards John McCain and Sarah Palin. Naturally the Chosen One was left alone. These BBC alleged “comedy” programmes are nothing of the sort. They are a contrived platform afforded to left wing trolls like Hardy and Steel to spew out their venom. And while I’m at it, I see that Marcus Brigstocke now has his own programme on Radio 4 entitled “I’ve never seen Star Wars” – in which he invites guests to experience something they have never done before. In his case, that would involve being funny.