So the nominations for the Comedy Awards are out. And Charlie Brooker gets a nom for Best Male Newcomer. Which makes total sense (apart from the “newcomer” bit). But there’s something faintly GaryGlittered about the category. There he is, a man of a certain age, and with him are his two fellow nominees, the two kids from Outnumbered: Daniel Roche and Tyger Drew-Honey (it must have been hell on the council estate with a name like that). Now, “Outnumbered” is brilliant, funny and oh so true, and the kids are brilliant, funny and oh so true – but it says a lot for the state of new comedy at the moment that the jury couldn’t find anyone else for Best Male Newcomer (do you even count as male before your testicles drop?)
In fact if you take away the Pulling Special and Outnumbered, Charlie Brooker wins both Best Male and the Best Female Newcomer. Are there really so few new comedies of quality being made? So few breakthrough performers?
Maybe the jury are just liberal right-on Outnumbered-style parents themselves. The sort who feel that school sports days should all be conducted in the dark, with hoods on and with no spectators so noone knows who’s won (actually that sounds more like a Ku Klux Klan lynching). Maybe that’s why they’ve nominated all three kids (the girl is nom’d in Best Female Newcomer) – so no-one “goes without”, a parent’s greatest fear. If they had a dark Psychoville sense of humour, they would have nominated just one of the kids and sat back and enjoyed the tears and tantrums. And whether they like it or not, when the winner’s announced, someone’s going to cry. And it may well be Charlie Brooker.
I remember being at the Comedy Awards the year Dermot Morgan, who played Father Ted, had died. He was nominated for Best Comedy Actor and so was Steve Coogan. I’m pretty sure they’d flown Dermot Morgan’s wife in for the ceremony and God only knows what noble face she managed to pull when they announced the winner was Steve. Steve was as shocked and embarrassed as the rest of us. But you have to admire the jury’s fiendishly dark sense of humour.
So I’m torn. The Islington New Parent in me says it’s not fair to just give one of those children a Comedy Award. Every child in the country should get one, every day, like we used to get milk and a biscuit every morning before Thatcher the milk snatcher had her way (one for the over-40s there). But the cruel comedy man inside me says: give it to Charlie, (or Tyger, or Daniel). If a child wins, the others are going to feel rubbish. If Charlie wins, they both will. And they won’t yet have learnt their well-done-they-deserve-it faces with accompanying-nod-and-smile for the moment after it’s announced.
Let the games commence!…