Big brother

paul ross

To a restaurant/bar called Floridita last night for the MD&JA, or the Magazine Design & Journalism Awards, which you may remember I attended last year to be beaten in the Reviewer Of The Year category by the New Statesman‘s TV reviewer Andrew Billen. This year I was there to be beaten in the Reviewer Of The Year category by the New Statesman‘s film reviewer Ryan Gilbey. I mention this only because Paul Ross was the event’s host. It was supposed to be Daisy Dononvan, but, we were told, she had to pull out for “personal reasons” (with a hint that we would read all about it in the papers this morning – nothing in the Guardian).

Anyway, Ross did a warm-up routine that had the whiff of What He Always Does At This Type Of Event. Fair enough. Late booking and everything, and to host any industry event is to be on a hiding to nothing, as everybody rudely talks all the way through the preamble. I’ve seen Chris Tarrant and Angus Deayton die at such events, in both cases, we may rest assured, thinking about the money as they cracked gags to a talking room. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Paul Ross does a couple of gags about his brother, Jonathan, one about the money he earns, two about his speech impediment. He also does this one, which I shall attempt to repeat verbatim.

“Jonathan’s happily married with a family. You’ve probably seen his wife Jane. Have you seen his wife Jane? Yeah? She’s a babe. Isn’t she? She’s a babe. [comic pause] Yeah, have you seen the film Babe? Oink oink.”

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, he actually did a pig noise. Needless to say, he lost the room at this point, and only got it back when he started reading out the nominees. This was a man addressing a couple of hundred magazine journalists, many of them women, and he thought that describing his own sister-in-law as a pig was a funny joke to tell. Talk about misjudging the mood.

42 thoughts on “Big brother

  1. Sounds an evenly balanced fellow – a chip on each shoulder about his more successful sibling. Still, life must be tough when your name is always suffixed by “better known as the brother of TV star Jonathan”. Or “only known as….”

  2. Sounds an evenly balanced fellow – a chip on each shoulder about his more successful sibling. Still, life must be tough when your name is always suffixed by “better known as the brother of TV star Jonathan”. Or “only known as….”

  3. PS – completely off topic but am reading Chris Salewicz’s exhaustive Joe Strummer biog at the minute. If you haven’t read it Andrew you get a namecheck for your NME review of his 1989 album Earthquake Weather (page 472 – I said it was exhaustive). “A minefield of duff moments” with a “penchant for weedy Latino tinkling” – good work! I’ve never heard the album, and based on that I probably never will.

  4. PS – completely off topic but am reading Chris Salewicz’s exhaustive Joe Strummer biog at the minute. If you haven’t read it Andrew you get a namecheck for your NME review of his 1989 album Earthquake Weather (page 472 – I said it was exhaustive). “A minefield of duff moments” with a “penchant for weedy Latino tinkling” – good work! I’ve never heard the album, and based on that I probably never will.

  5. A magazine I once worked at was in search of a columnist. Their wish list was ludicrous – Madonna, Prince William, Helen Mirren. We ended up with Paul Ross.I know where you’re coming from.

  6. A magazine I once worked at was in search of a columnist. Their wish list was ludicrous – Madonna, Prince William, Helen Mirren. We ended up with Paul Ross.I know where you’re coming from.

  7. HA! This is now my second favourite blog out there!I see Paul every now and then in the High Street so I’ve started going through the shopping centre instead.

  8. HA! This is now my second favourite blog out there!I see Paul every now and then in the High Street so I’ve started going through the shopping centre instead.

  9. That’s ‘he thought that describing his own *Jewish* sister-in-law as a pig was a funny joke to tell’. Didn’t really think that one through, did he?

  10. That’s ‘he thought that describing his own *Jewish* sister-in-law as a pig was a funny joke to tell’. Didn’t really think that one through, did he?

  11. That made me cringe, Andrew, and I wasn’t even there. What a knob.Incidentally, I once got into a row with someone when I described ‘Earthquake Weather’ as “Joe Strummer’s Taco Bell period.” People get very heated over Joe.

  12. That made me cringe, Andrew, and I wasn’t even there. What a knob.Incidentally, I once got into a row with someone when I described ‘Earthquake Weather’ as “Joe Strummer’s Taco Bell period.” People get very heated over Joe.

  13. Everybody’s got a useless brother though haven’t they; it’s a rule of life.My brother and I can never agree who is who’s though. I expect the Ross bros are the same; I wouldn’t like to call it one way or the other.

  14. Everybody’s got a useless brother though haven’t they; it’s a rule of life.My brother and I can never agree who is who’s though. I expect the Ross bros are the same; I wouldn’t like to call it one way or the other.

  15. I wrote a similar corporate awards ceremony speech for Paul Ross once (not with sexist pig jokes, mind). The only way you could go with it was to make self-deprecating Jonathan Ross jokes (J Ross was off reporting on the Oscars for the Beeb on the same night that P Ross was hosting this widget salesman’s event. Compare and contrast etc.) I remember being slightly wary that he might get a bit Danni Minogue about it (don’t mention the sibling), but I guess without the Jonathan connection, Paul Ross becomes even more anonymous and C-list. Anyway, as far as I was told, he has a very materially comfortable life (can’t remember what they were paying him – more than they were paying me, anyway!) and is happy to be unfavorably compared to his brother. At least in public.

  16. I wrote a similar corporate awards ceremony speech for Paul Ross once (not with sexist pig jokes, mind). The only way you could go with it was to make self-deprecating Jonathan Ross jokes (J Ross was off reporting on the Oscars for the Beeb on the same night that P Ross was hosting this widget salesman’s event. Compare and contrast etc.) I remember being slightly wary that he might get a bit Danni Minogue about it (don’t mention the sibling), but I guess without the Jonathan connection, Paul Ross becomes even more anonymous and C-list. Anyway, as far as I was told, he has a very materially comfortable life (can’t remember what they were paying him – more than they were paying me, anyway!) and is happy to be unfavorably compared to his brother. At least in public.

  17. I read a funny/tragic story about Paul Ross on Popbitch a while back. Apparently, the work was drying up for Paul and he was not being offered much. The only way that he could get himself on television in the end was to purposesly put ON weight so that he could get himself onto Celebrity Fit Club. Allegedly!

  18. I read a funny/tragic story about Paul Ross on Popbitch a while back. Apparently, the work was drying up for Paul and he was not being offered much. The only way that he could get himself on television in the end was to purposesly put ON weight so that he could get himself onto Celebrity Fit Club. Allegedly!

  19. I feel rather sorry for Paul Ross. I used to work on a celebrity magazine which was offered the chance to cover Paul and Jonathan’s (and the others’) mum Martha’s 60th birthday. All was going smoothly with the deal until Jonathan and his people got involved, then all kinds of conditions started to come into play. The person who had originally come to us with the deal sighed and said ‘As soon as Jonathan gets involved with anything, all this happens. He always gets what he wants’.Still doesn’t excuse jokes about women looking like pigs from Ross Senior, though. My mate knows Jane Ross through working on Stardust, and says she was an absolute delight, doing all she could to make what was often a difficult set pleasant.

  20. I feel rather sorry for Paul Ross. I used to work on a celebrity magazine which was offered the chance to cover Paul and Jonathan’s (and the others’) mum Martha’s 60th birthday. All was going smoothly with the deal until Jonathan and his people got involved, then all kinds of conditions started to come into play. The person who had originally come to us with the deal sighed and said ‘As soon as Jonathan gets involved with anything, all this happens. He always gets what he wants’.Still doesn’t excuse jokes about women looking like pigs from Ross Senior, though. My mate knows Jane Ross through working on Stardust, and says she was an absolute delight, doing all she could to make what was often a difficult set pleasant.

  21. I bet he longs for the heady days of doing stuff on Network 7 when yoof tv was at it’s height. My real problem with Paul Ross is that every time I tune into Jon Holmes on LBC, Paul Ross seems to be there instead. Unless Mr Holmes has left LBC. I am so out of touch with what’s going on these days. Bringing us neatly back to Paul Ross.

  22. I bet he longs for the heady days of doing stuff on Network 7 when yoof tv was at it’s height. My real problem with Paul Ross is that every time I tune into Jon Holmes on LBC, Paul Ross seems to be there instead. Unless Mr Holmes has left LBC. I am so out of touch with what’s going on these days. Bringing us neatly back to Paul Ross.

  23. If I was Jonathon Ross I wouldn’t spend much of that famous wage packet on my brother’s Christmas present!On a brighter note, it does mean I can use the word wassock, for he certainly is one after that ‘joke’

  24. If I was Jonathon Ross I wouldn’t spend much of that famous wage packet on my brother’s Christmas present!On a brighter note, it does mean I can use the word wassock, for he certainly is one after that ‘joke’

  25. I think Mrs Woss wins on this one, having seen Stardust it is obvious that she has real talent, having seem Paul Ross on TV a few times it’s obvious that he hasn’t…..

  26. I think Mrs Woss wins on this one, having seen Stardust it is obvious that she has real talent, having seem Paul Ross on TV a few times it’s obvious that he hasn’t…..

  27. Paul Ross has a tough, tough job on his hands. Whenever I see/hear him I do find him to be quick-witted and a good radio presenter (though your example was a big gaffe). It is very difficult to work in the same field as a sibling, parent, ex-partner or even friend, and not just in the media. What else should he do? Work in the media and make (probably) a decent six-figure salary but suffer the ‘brother-of’ sneers that we are reading here? Of course he should. Arguably Andrew, your career hasn’t been as successful as Stuart Maconie’s, but, like Paul Ross, you have every right to carry on.

  28. Paul Ross has a tough, tough job on his hands. Whenever I see/hear him I do find him to be quick-witted and a good radio presenter (though your example was a big gaffe). It is very difficult to work in the same field as a sibling, parent, ex-partner or even friend, and not just in the media. What else should he do? Work in the media and make (probably) a decent six-figure salary but suffer the ‘brother-of’ sneers that we are reading here? Of course he should. Arguably Andrew, your career hasn’t been as successful as Stuart Maconie’s, but, like Paul Ross, you have every right to carry on.

  29. My original post, Anonymous (how I wish people would stop posting anoynmously), was simply about a misjudged gag. Paul Ross gets plenty of work, on TV and in print, so I don’t think we should feel too sorry for him. Whether that’s on his own merits or because of who he is doesn’t matter – it’s better than not working. I think to use the fact that his brother is famous in gags is one thing, but to actually insult his sister-in-law is another. Anyway, that’s my only beef with him. To compare the fortunes of two brothers who arrived at TV separately with that of a former double act, as Stuart and I once were, is a bit meaningless. My career in radio hasn’t been as successful as Stuart’s, granted, but then, I’ve concentrated on TV scriptwriting for the last ten years, which was my choice. I don’t see it as a competition any more. But yes, I have every right to carry on. So does Paul Ross. You’re getting my original post confused with some of the subsequent comments. I’m very careful not to slag people off willy nilly, so no need to have a pop at me.

  30. My original post, Anonymous (how I wish people would stop posting anoynmously), was simply about a misjudged gag. Paul Ross gets plenty of work, on TV and in print, so I don’t think we should feel too sorry for him. Whether that’s on his own merits or because of who he is doesn’t matter – it’s better than not working. I think to use the fact that his brother is famous in gags is one thing, but to actually insult his sister-in-law is another. Anyway, that’s my only beef with him. To compare the fortunes of two brothers who arrived at TV separately with that of a former double act, as Stuart and I once were, is a bit meaningless. My career in radio hasn’t been as successful as Stuart’s, granted, but then, I’ve concentrated on TV scriptwriting for the last ten years, which was my choice. I don’t see it as a competition any more. But yes, I have every right to carry on. So does Paul Ross. You’re getting my original post confused with some of the subsequent comments. I’m very careful not to slag people off willy nilly, so no need to have a pop at me.

  31. Sorry Andrew, I wasn’t meaning to have a go. I don’t think it is meaningless to compare the Ross Bros with a double act, as the point I was making was that Paul Ross is a soft target (as are Julian Lennon, Ernie Wise, Danni Minogue…) and it appeared to me that your hands were on the lead rifle in a turkey shoot.

  32. Sorry Andrew, I wasn’t meaning to have a go. I don’t think it is meaningless to compare the Ross Bros with a double act, as the point I was making was that Paul Ross is a soft target (as are Julian Lennon, Ernie Wise, Danni Minogue…) and it appeared to me that your hands were on the lead rifle in a turkey shoot.

  33. Fair enough, Anonymous (so, you’re staying anonymous are you? it’s so easy to fill in a name or pseudonym!), but I was merely making public that which any of the other couple of hundred assembled journalists at the awards ceremony could have done: a misjudged and rather nasty gag. And we can’t compare Paul Ross to Ernie Wise, as Ernie was totally essential to the double act, whereas Paul Ross rarely appears anywhere near his brother Jonathan, thus the comparison doesn’t have legs. Not even short, fat, hairy ones. Ross is only a soft target in that he’s mostly quite loud and brash and tabloidy and seemingly jealous of his brother, but I still don’t know why you’re sticking up for him so much. Outside of calling Jane Goldman a pig, which he did, I’d agree that he’s fairly innocuous. But he makes himself fair game with this sort of thing, and he should rise above it.

  34. Fair enough, Anonymous (so, you’re staying anonymous are you? it’s so easy to fill in a name or pseudonym!), but I was merely making public that which any of the other couple of hundred assembled journalists at the awards ceremony could have done: a misjudged and rather nasty gag. And we can’t compare Paul Ross to Ernie Wise, as Ernie was totally essential to the double act, whereas Paul Ross rarely appears anywhere near his brother Jonathan, thus the comparison doesn’t have legs. Not even short, fat, hairy ones. Ross is only a soft target in that he’s mostly quite loud and brash and tabloidy and seemingly jealous of his brother, but I still don’t know why you’re sticking up for him so much. Outside of calling Jane Goldman a pig, which he did, I’d agree that he’s fairly innocuous. But he makes himself fair game with this sort of thing, and he should rise above it.

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