While David Dimbleby was guiding the good ship Beeb through exit polls and exiled Lib Dems, Jeremy Paxman was doing something very different on Channel 4: telling jokes.
The former Newsnight presenter joined comedian David Mitchell fronting C4’s ‘Alternative Election’ coverage, which set itself up as more about stand-up than seats.
Paxo’s one-liners and pieces to camera didn’t exactly win a landslide of support.
Watching Jeremy Paxman try to tell jokes is like watching a slinky try to climb a flight of stairs.
— Alice Gibson (@afgib) May 7, 2015
Paxman telling jokes is like watching an executioner crack a knock-knock gag mid-swing #GE2015
— Chris Shoop-Worrall (@ChrisDWorrall) May 7, 2015
Paxman trying to be funny on C4, like a dad reading out Christmas cracker jokes. Then leering down the camera like a scary pantomime horse
— Michael Hogan (@michaelhogan) May 7, 2015
Maybe it was because everyone were still so used to his Newsnight routine.
Is it too late for Jeremy Paxman to return to Newsnight and pretend this never happened?
— Pete Paphides (@petepaphides) May 7, 2015
Jeremy Paxman's telling jokes. THIS IS NOT THE BRITAIN I VOTED FOR!
— Dan Sumption ? (@dansumption) May 7, 2015
I wonder if Jeremy Paxman is wondering what the hell he's doing on #AltElection – because I am.
— Sarfraz Manzoor (@sarfrazmanzoor) May 7, 2015
Just watched ten minutes of Paxman covering the election on C4.
And Ed Miliband thought he was having a bad night.
— Ian Hyland (@HylandIan) May 7, 2015
As the night wore on, politicians popped up on the studio big screen: Boris Johnson offered himself up to wrestle with the attack dog-turned-comedian, albeit down the other end of a springy ear microphone.
It’s safe to say Paxman wasn’t impressed by Boris saying how “lucky” he was to have won. “You could have put a donkey in there with a blue rosette on!” Paxman said of “Bozza’s” constituency victory – just the sort of political back-and-forth we had been waiting for.
Paxman interviewing Boris is great telly. Channel 4 y'all #GE2015
— Eddie Mowlam (@Pop_Law) May 8, 2015
Was Paxo winning people over?
— Craig Solo (@craigsolo) May 8, 2015
Although, maybe it’s best to keep things separate.
Turned over to Channel 4. Paxman just said "let's see what the goggleboxxers have to say" and I think I saw his soul climb out his mouth.
— Jacob Steinberg (@JacobSteinberg) May 8, 2015
Regular C4 newsreader Cathy Newman meanwhile was trying to keep the actual election coverage afloat.
Back on #AltElection in half an hour with some pretty astonishing results…hope you're all still up and not toooo drunk…
— Cathy Newman (@cathynewman) May 8, 2015
As the pre-prepared pieces to camera dried up and the interviews flowed in, Paxman was clearly on safer ground – although the sniggering in the studio every time a political leader appeared still reminded you this definitely wasn’t Newsnight.
— Tony Bianchi (@Voltamax2020) May 8, 2015
— Ricky Kimachia (@rkimachia) May 8, 2015
So, as viewers became more sleep-deprived, Paxman pepped up. The dodgy comedy monologues and Nicola Sturgeon fish jokes were forgotten, and if he converted a few more floating voters to the political game, so much the better.
— Tom (@TN_LDN) May 8, 2015