Lee Mack, Barry Cryer and Richard Osman talk Trump, comedy and the Nightly Show

The three comedians and presenters think comedy can come in the darkest of times – even if it hasn’t quite managed to permeate ITV’s new late-night format

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In our increasingly unstable world it’s tempting to try and write off comedy as an indulgence, something suited to less depressing times when there weren’t more serious matters to attend to.

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However, veteran funnymen Barry Cryer, Lee Mack and Richard Osman think such an attitude is nonsense, telling RadioTimes.com that in dark times there’s only one thing to do: “mock and mock and mock.”

“In a world of Trump, you have to mock,” I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue mainstay Cryer told us at the BFI & Radio Times festival last weekend alongside Mack and Osman.

“The great man Mel Blanc did Springtime for Hitler, a jolly musical scene. He was much criticised at the time, and he said you don’t reason and debate with monsters, you mock them. So we’re just the court jesters.

“The sick joke is over. It is President Trump. But what we gonna do? We’re just gonna mock and mock and mock.” 

“There’s no shortage of opinions in the world, that’s for sure,” Osman added.

“There’s no shortage of people who’d defend him or have a go at him. But there is a shortage of people like these two gentlemen, who whatever happens are making you laugh. That’s my opinion.”

“That was a fiver well spent that I bunged him earlier!” quipped Cryer.

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The trio also weighed in on the fortunes of ITV’s belagured Nightly Show, an attempt to adopt the US format of evening talkshows in the UK that has met with a mixed critical response and falling ratings.

“I think it’s interesting that a Nightly Show has NEVER worked over here,” Osman told us. “But in the same way, there’s no panel shows in the USA. They’ve never worked, have they?”

“Yeah it’s interesting this, because they used to say ‘Stand-up never works on British television.’ And yet it suddenly started working,” Mack said. “And I wonder if panel games could work in America, and I wonder if nightly chatshows could work here.”

And naturally, all three had plenty of ideas on how to make the format work in the UK.

“You’ve gotta get the right people in charge, who know how to do it,” Cryer suggested.

“I always say it’s the writers. You’ve got to start with the writers. You don’t start with the presenters,” Mack added.

“And don’t make a big song and dance about it,” Osman concluded. “Do it organically.

“Look at The Last Leg, which is a hit – because it started out as a show about the Paralympics, and by the time it was three seasons in they’d worked out their schtick.”

We can only hope The Nightly Show takes the criticism on board and find its own groove when the time comes – assuming human civilisation hasn’t already ended, of course.

The Nightly Show airs weeknights on ITV at 10.00pm

In our increasingly unstable world it’s tempting to try and write off comedy as an indulgence, something suited to less depressing times when there weren’t more serious matters to attend to.

However, veteran funnymen Barry Cryer, Lee Mack and Richard Osman think such an attitude is nonsense, telling RadioTimes.com that in dark times there’s only one thing to do: “mock and mock and mock.”

“In a world of Trump, you have to mock,” I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue mainstay Cryer told us at the BFI & Radio Times festival last weekend alongside Mack and Osman.

“The great man Mel Blanc did Springtime for Hitler, a jolly musical scene. He was much criticised at the time, and he said you don’t reason and debate with monsters, you mock them. So we’re just the court jesters.

“The sick joke is over. It is President Trump. But what we gonna do? We’re just gonna mock and mock and mock.” 

“There’s no shortage of opinions in the world, that’s for sure,” Pointless co-host Osman added. “There’s no shortage of people who’d defend him or have a go at him. But there is a shortage of people like these two gentlemen, who whatever happens are making you laugh. That’s my opinion.”

“That was a fiver well spent that I bunged him earlier!” quipped Cryer.

The trio also weighed in on the fortunes of ITV’s beleagured Nightly Show, an attempt to adopt the US format of evening talkshows in the UK that has met with a mixed critical response and falling ratings. 

“I think it’s interesting that a Nightly Show has NEVER worked over here,” Osman told us. “But in the same way, there’s no panel shows in the USA. They’ve never worked, have they?” 

“Yeah it’s interesting this, because they used to say ‘Stand-up never works on British television.’ And yet it suddenly started working,” Mack said. “And I wonder if panel games could work in America, and I wonder if nightly chatshows could work here.”

And naturally, all three had plenty of ideas on how to make the format work in the UK.

“You’ve gotta get the right people in charge, who know how to do it,” Cryer suggested.

“I always say it’s the writers. You’ve got to start with the writers. You don’t start with the presenters,” Mack added.

“And don’t make a big song and dance about it,” Osman concluded. “Do it organically. Look at The Last Leg, which is a hit – because it started out as a show about the Paralympics, and by the time it was three seasons in they’d worked out their schtick.” 

We can only hope The Nightly Show takes the criticism on board and find its own groove when the time comes – assuming human civilisation hasn’t already ended, of course.

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The Nightly Show airs weeknights on ITV at 10.00pm