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.