Monday, October 07, 2019

"I'm always wanting to use comedy for a purpose"

A newspaper interview with Chris Morris is rare, but a televised interview is even more so. Perhaps surprisingly, he seems to be playing the promotional game ahead of the release of new film The Day Shall Come, speaking to Channel 4's Jon Snow last week.

In the course of their conversation, Morris outlined his guiding philosophy: "I don't really see the point of comedy unless there's something underpinning it - I mean, what are you doing? Are you doing some sort of exotic display for the court, to be patted on the head by the court, or are you trying to change something?"

The current problem, as he sees it, is that "we've got used to a kind of satire that essentially placates the court. You do a nice dissection of the way things are in the orthodox elite and lo and behold you get slapped on the back by the orthodox elite." (Personally speaking, these comments had me looking pointedly at the likes of The Mash Report and Have I Got News For You? - the latter having been at least partially responsible for showing Boris Johnson in a good light.) What's needed, he feels, is "something with a bit more clout".

Snow asked Morris the question that I've regularly been asking myself over the last few years: is satire dead, having been overtaken by the farcical nature of current events? The interviewer, quite understandably, pointed to Donald Trump by way of illustration: "He's doing things that even you might not have dreamt that an American president could do." Morris, however, refused to buy that idea, insisting instead that satire is less about imagination and more about looking at what is actually happening and then zeroing in on what makes it so ridiculous.

Asked what he plans to do next, Morris revealed that he has "a long-standing interest in the coup in Iran in 1953" and is still trying to get his head around it all - but that he "may just put a lot of effort into a tweet" instead...

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