I felt ever-so-slightly guilty after writing my entry about my celebrity stalker, Su Pollard. Not because I was ashamed to be amusing about Su Pollard’s public persona, she comes out of the story with her reputation unblemished, maybe even enhanced. There’s not an ounce of malice in anything I write.
No, what made me feel guilty was the laziness of using a celebrity from days-gone-by as the ‘butt’ of a joke. I’m loathe to use the word ‘lazy’ to describe any writing but in this case it might actually be deserved. It’s a say-the-first-thing-you-think-of gag. It’s a do-you-remember-the-80’s gag. No, it’s worse than that. It’s a bullying-the-unfashionable gag. It’s picking on somebody who used to be famous, usually in quite a mainstream, kids' television context, and mocking them because they don’t have the same level of fame any more.
This makes me angry. The laziness of it... and the unfairness of it.
I mean, it’s easy to get a laugh by taking the piss out of Duncan ‘Chase Me’ Norvelle, or Stu Francis, or Gary Wilmot, or Joe Pasquale, or Timmy Mallet. The naff celebrities of yesteryear, oh, they’re so naive, and-didn’t-we-find-them-annoying. It’s on a par with mocking past pop stars for having the wrong hairstyle and not being in the hit parade any more, or – laziest of all - mentioning ‘Chessington World of Adventures’.
These people can hardly hit back. And the idea that certain people are ‘naff’ and should be consigned to the dustbin of fashion is... risible. Okay, they may have been loud, over-enthusiastic, worn garish clothes and got themselves typecast. But they were also talented, hard-working and successful. People still pay to see them. I’d rather be entertained by any of these people than by the lazy comedians who use their names to score a cheap laugh.