Nine weeks in and it’s happened: we’ve hit peak Apprentice. This week’s episode of the BBC business contest subjected viewers to one of the most cringe-inducing pitches in the show’s history as team Graphene served up their ‘Gourmet Crusader’ recipe kit to industry experts.
The live-cooking presentation featured some incredibly burnt salmon, Elizabeth wrestling to turn on a hob and, the hardest part to watch, a very unusual joke from candidate Bushra Shaikh about US President Donald Trump.
Dressed as a pepper shaker for the gourmet food pitch, Bushra declared to the audience, “we would have loved to have Captain Gourmet himself here today, but Donald Trump called him over”. And, well, it left everyone a bit baffled.
Bushra, Elizabeth and James demonstrate their recipe during their gourmet food pitch (BBC)
So, did she just mince her words? Or is there a layer of satirical genius we failed to peel away? RadioTimes.com spoke to Bushra and asked to enlighten us – and apparently the joke would have made sense if she’d said their brand mascot’s full name ‘Captain Gourmet Crusader’.
“Basically, I was a little bit apprehensive about the ‘Crusader’ part of the brand name going into the pitch and I wanted to bring it around a bit. Linking Trump and Crusader would have worked quite well because he likes to cause problems amongst certain countries,” Bushra said. “So, what I was trying to say was that Trump wanted Captain Gourmet Crusader to come down, but not for the reason you guys think. [Captain Crusader] would have forced him to make good food!”
So, she was actually making a joke about Donald Trump inviting a Crusader to the US. But – get this! – instead of declaring religious warfare and causing centuries of geopolitical conflict and isolationist immigration policies, the Crusader was actually going to help cook up a lovely salmon risotto for the president.
See, the best jokes really are the ones that need explaining afterwards.
But as watertight and completely coherent as the gag was, Lord Alan Sugar somehow failed to see the funny side and Bushra faced his firing finger at the end of the episode. However, the Islamic fashion company owner – who until this task had the joint best record in the process (six wins, one as project manager) with Sarah Lynn – thinks she could have gone much further in the process: “I think I could have got through to week ten, the final and potentially the whole way – I’ve got the fight in me!”
Elizabeth, project manager Sarah and Bushra were in the bottom three after this week’s task
However, if you’re eager for more snippets of Bushra’s improv comedy then you’re in luck: the fired candidate now has ambitions for more TV work. “Going on I’m a Celebrity would be fun and that would definitely be something I would think about doing!” she said.
But rather than because she’s keen on a Bush(ra)tucker trial, she said she wants to sign up in order to get more Muslims on the box. “I think our communities are so diverse and to show the true essence of this country on TV is a good thing. I don’t think there’s enough of it! I would love to see the way I dress [in a hijab] incorporated into the show. That might be quite cool for people to watch.”
As long as that means the Trump jokes are kept to a minimum, we’re in.
The Apprentice continues 9pm Wednesday, BBC1