lannucci’s comedy is a out below the rest
6 THE LIST '~
Twat 3‘ ll
Despite having worked alongside media miserablists Chris Morris and Steve Coogan, ARMANDO IANNUCCI is an optimistic man. Or at least he was until he started making his new series and realised we’re all in the same sinking ship. That we’re all, in fact, just twats. Words: Brian Donaldson
young couple are in the kitchen of a house they are
hoping to call home. The estate agent representative is
giving them the hard sell. They seem impressed. But the man spots something wrong. Something horribly. bizarrely wrong. He taps the drawers. presses the cupboards. prods the microwaye and feels the taps. They‘re all made of paper.
This is the opening scene of the first episode in The .’ll'l)l(llI(/() lannucci Shows. and typical ol' the warping ol‘ reality. bending of l‘acts and the blurring ol' the diy'ide between the sane and the stupid which makes tip the lorm and content of the series. In an era when the sitcom is dead. the sketch show is limping towards a similar late and the improy game is all but tip. this series breathes life into TV comedy l'rom somewhere on the l'ar lringes.
It’s an absurdist confessional with running themes ol‘ dismal l‘ailure. social ineptitude and disasters which are waiting to happen: but probably won‘t just to prolong the deep-seated and irrevocable agony. ‘I thought I was an optimistic person.‘ says a cheery lannucci. the (ilasgow/ltalian from his production studio. where the linal touches are being made to the series. ‘But then as I wrote the series. I realised that cyery’thing turns out wrong l'or people and no one ends up happy. ()r il‘ they do. it‘s in a contriyed way that you know isn't going to last. But there is an
underlying optimism: at the end ol~ the lirst programme. it‘s slightly reassuring lor me that eyeryone is a twat. So we’re all in it together. and il'tlie ship is sinking. there‘s quite a lot ol‘ Us on board to at least entertain each other.‘
A sinking ship is something lannucci hasn't been on tor a long time. For the best part ol' the ()lls. he was closely associated with two ol the highest prolile and largely enigmatic comic stars this country has produced in many a long decade: Steye (‘oogan and ('hris .\lorris. It all started with the surreally satirical radio news spool ()n The Hour which made a smooth transition onto telly in the shape ol The Day 'Iiu/uy'. Those shows introduced a banal yet egomaniacal sportscaster called Alan Partridge and became the template l'or the kind of media—baiting which has turned Morris into public enemy number one.
‘I was on holiday when it [the Brass liyc S/u't'iu/l came out and l was interested to come back and see signs that it had caused a little bit ol‘comnient.‘ he pointedly under—states. This notorious show used the paedophile debate to hay e a go at news values and the public ligures who will do anything tor yet more publicity. without eyer thinking to ask where the
small print liyes. lannucci is included in the closing credits 'with thanks‘. So. what exactly was his inyoly'ement in the show which may end tip with (‘hannel 4 haying to look out its best suit l'or an appearance in the dock'.’ ‘('hris mentioned to me some time ago what he was thinking ol'doing and thought that it might be construed as being a sensitiyc issue. He asked ill could oycrsee certain ideas and I think I only saw about a ﬁlm of what he got up to. I don‘t think that he thought the reaction would be quite so dramatic. But I always lind with (‘hris that the joke isn’t just the programme. it‘s all the stull that goes with it. He’s almost engineering that as well and he knows which buttons to push and which
journalistic bombs will go oll: and they all do.jtist perlectly.‘
(‘crtainly. no one would accuse our Armando ol ey er