Friday 15 December 2017

Not so Savage, after all

I KNOW a lot about George Hook. He pitches himself as an opinionated personality first and an impartial nexus for current affairs second. So the first half hour of every show has him breathing loud opinions about the news and dropping tantalising scraps from his private life.

On Monday he gave a thorough account of his Bounty-bar consumption and wardrobe choices during a weekend spent appearing on the Late Late and engaging in rugby commentary.

One texter informed him about dark-chocolate Bounties, which blew his mind. Another was less impressed: "Don't care what colour shirt you've on, or what you did for the weekend, you're paid to present the programme not devote it to yourself!"

Yeah George, talk about the issues! Actually, George talks about ALL the issues. He's just more entertaining on the silly-sounding ones.

"The entire country appears about to sink into the sea with dog poo!" he declared on Wednesday. "We may have stumbled, of course, on the reason Atlantis sank beneath the sea," he said later. "Why don't we bring Rover into the district court and sue the butt off him?" he growled. "And of course his owner," he added, lest we thought him mad.


Editorialising about poo was widespread this week. On Tuesday, Ivan Yates advocated rural Ireland's right to do whatever it wanted with human poo (ie he was against expensive septic tank inspections). Then on Wednesday, he attacked Stephen Donnelly for taking a similar stance.

Chris O'Donoghue (Ivan's on-air wife) took issue. "You're some chancer," he said. "Yesterday I didn't open my mouth about septic tanks and anyone I know from the country isn't talking to me because you claim that I'm saying that they should pay."

"You called them boggers off-air," said Ivan sneakily. "I do verbal gymnastics, 7-10 every morning," said Ivan by way of explanation. I imagined him shooting finger guns as he said it.

On Monday's Late Show with Niall Boylan, David McSavage responded to allegations made by Larry Masterson, the producer of the Saturday Night Show, that he was cut from that show because his material was poor. Niall promised us a "pissed-off" comedian but he must have confused "pissed-off" with "distracted, disengaged and not that bothered".

"Were you offended by this whole thing?" Niall asked.

"Offended?" said David, sounding surprised. "No. I got loads of publicity."

"They're having a go at you, aren't they?" said Niall later.

"They want to provide the best show for their audience," said David calmly.

"Are they afraid of you, David?" said Niall. "My theory is that Brendan is afraid of you . . . You're quite volatile."

"I don't think Brendan O'Connor is afraid of me," said David, casually destroying that line of discussion.

"So you're not going to say anything controversial at all about RTE and what they said," said Niall eventually, having tried every possible angle of outrage.


"They have good intentions and I have good intentions and just sometimes people get mixed-up . . . it's misunderstandings," said David, sounding increasingly like Jesus.

Whether out of a refusal to bite the hand that feeds or a mischievous desire to up-end Niall Boylan, David basically diffused all controversy. Even when describing the rehearsal for his aborted telly appearance, he was hilariously deadpan. "Larry came panting through the door, and he said, 'That was f**king rubbish. They'll be tuning out in their thousands . . . I think we'd better knock it on the head'. And I said, 'Okay'."


It sounded like a deadpan extract from a Curb Your Enthusiasm-style-sitcom about a hapless self-sabotaging comedian. I would, incidentally, watch that sitcom. "Can you just plug me gig there?" said David towards the end. Niall obliged, possibly feeling newfound sympathy for Larry Masterson.

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