herald

Sunday 19 August 2018

Callan's wrong - rachel should not face ridicule because of tim Allen's sins

A week ago I referred to Ryan Tubridy's remark that most of the major chat show hosts now are former comedians, and as such, it wouldn't come as much of a surprise if his successor turned out to be Mario Rosenstock or Oliver Callan.

So it was interesting to note Oliver's comments last week about Rachel Allen, who responded to a question from Ray D'Arcy about how she felt about the impersonations of her by Mario, the Republic of Telly, and Callan himself.

"I find people like Mario Rosenstock very funny and...when they take the whatever out of me on Republic of Telly I always think they're very funny."

CONVICTION

But when asked specifically about the portrayal of her family on Callan's Kicks, which features none-too-subtle references to her father-in-law Tim Allen's conviction for possessing child pornography, she was less than effusive.

"That [Callan's Kicks]…I suppose you know, you have to take the rough with the smooth."

Oliver makes it quite clear that currying favour with the objects of his satire is not for him, and he dislikes the way that Mario's skits on Rachel and Miriam O'Callaghan find favour with the ladies in question.

"If the target of satire loves the mimic, then that mimic is not doing his job," Oliver quite rightly points out.

His impersonation of Rachel Allen is wickedly funny and, in being fearless enough to take on a subject which others consider taboo, he has shown a willingness not to brown-nose Ireland's best-known people.

And as a result it's fair to say that he will never present the Late Late.

But the implicit association of Rachel with the scandal surrounding her father-in-law does Oliver no favours.

This is a step too far, as is his remark that: "Rachel and her rich friends are a perfect target for comedy - their brand of boasting about how rich and happy they are went out of fashion in 2008."

Yes, Rachel does talk with a posh accent. Yes, she did post an ill-advised picture of herself three Christmases ago, posing shotgun in hand with some birds she has just killed strapped onto the bonnet of her expensive Audi, just to remind everyone during the depths of the recession as to what a fabulous life she was living.

And yes, her wholesome, ever-smiling demeanour on TV is perhaps too sickly-sweet for some.

But Rachel Allen is rich because she is a tremendously successful cook and businesswoman, not because she trades on the name of the family she married into.

charming

To imply that Rachel should shut herself away in shame because of the sins of her father-in-law is excessive, or that she should carry a cross on her back because she has built up a successful culinary empire, and likes to enjoy some of its fruits, is overly begrudging.

Unlike many other TV presenters Rachel's charming, sunny disposition is not a front, and it is to her eternal credit that she has brought up a family, and built up a hugely-successful business, without hardly making a single enemy.

With the possible exception of Oliver Callan.

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