John Walker's Electronic House

by on Apr.06, 2005, under The Rest

MITCH BENN, as I see your name is still to be spelt, if you’re still out there please come back and argue with me on my blog some more.

You appear to be on Radio 4 again, which is an event I can’t say I whole-heartedly agree with.

What have you done to Robin Ince? He used to be funny. Is your horrible not-funniness catching? I wonder if you should perhaps be put in quarantine, as Radio 4 isn’t exactly overwhelmed by humourous people at the moment.

I was somewhat startled to discover there were new depths to which you were capable of sinking in your unique blend of comedy and music. Your hideously ignorant opinions on “world music” managed at once to be insultingly stupid and enormously racist. Maybe I’m wrong, but I’m not convinced that all music from the funny foreign countries sounds like a man playing a penny whistle and adopting a Carry On generic foreign accent.

I was just wondering, could you perhaps do some sort of research before you write your programmes? And just before that, saw off your hands to prevent the rather foolish following moment when you write your programmes.

Your statement, “Everything sounds like Coldplay now” is somewhat discredited by your sounding absolutely nothing like Coldplay. Somehow you manage to be even worse than them.

19 Comments for this entry

  • Grill

    Agreed. When there are great musical comedians like Bill Bailey about, it feels a little cheap to settle for our second-rate Mr. Benn. (Actually screw that, getting our bowler-hatted, homepride-plagiarised Mr Benn would be brilliant. Of what I bitch, it’s Mitch.)

    Especially as that Coldplay line seems to be recycled in *everything* he does. However, his short excerpts in The Now Show were always blessedly… short. I do have to admit to not being a big fan of Marcus Brigstocke either – everything they do seems so safe, so much received surrealism. I couldn’t stand up on stage and do what they do (laziness/fear), but I still feel I can judge the quality of their output. There’s a lot of moronically low-level unfunny crap, with funny elements that plagiarise of the great comedians of the past. Come back Groucho!

  • Andy Krouwel

    > I do have to admit to not being a big fan of Marcus Brigstocke either

    Hey, We Are History was good.

  • Grill

    ‘We Are History” wasn’t bad, if a little repetitive. I just feel that the obnoxious-but-occasionally-sympathetic middle-class white male is feeling a bit overdone TBH. Faulty, Partridge, whatshisface from Black Books, David Brent, Coupling, etc, etc. The Fast Show, derivative though it was, showed there are thousands of stereotypes to exploit, so why the focus on this one?

  • Bobsy

    Marcus Brigstocke isn’t bad per se*, it’s just that every other R4 comedy programme seems to have him featuring in it in some godawful capacity.

    As far as Mitch Benn is concerned, I’ve found his programme funny, but couldn’t shake the unsettling notion that he sounds horribly like William Hague.

    So long as That Mitchell and Webb sound gets another series, I’m good.

    *Actually he is.

  • bob arctor

    I think you are being a bit harsh there John. It is quite a good show, and no-one is forcing you to listen to it, listened to it tonight for 1st time outside the Now Show. The big fat balad was quite good no? Although the chappy at the end was scarily accurate: I was doing something in the background for most of the show so had 1/2 an ear really.
    I would say you can’t complain when you get comedy on the radio even when it is a mixed bag as you can’t get much on the TV these days! We need more good stuff! Radio is a good fallback and some is very good. Eg Michel and Webb sound thing or the Now Show. If you dis Punt and Dennis I will be very annoyed: I saw them at the Northcott theatre in Exeter and they were really good. I will take back my remark that you had good taste after doing the Look Around You thing.

  • bob arctor

    Can anyone give me the link of the arguement as I really want to see the blog post that started it and the response please?
    Also: yes less of the “poing pow Chinese Lice!”. I did a bit of Japanese and it isn’t really funny. Actually not funny full stop.

  • Steve

    “If you dis Punt and Dennis I will be very annoyed”

    Your credibility as a witness for the defence takes a severe nosedive at this point.

  • Steve

    As does mine, actually, as I state for the record that I found that ‘Ed Reardon’ thing quite amusing, and ‘High Table, Low Orders’ was faintly charming in a I-know-it’s-rubbish-really kind of way.

  • John

    Sorry Bob, but I do not understand the thinking behind your comments.

    I find the programme to be dreadful, and I found the content last week to not only be appallingly written, but also unpleasantly racist. That you disagree does not mean I am being “harsh”. It means I am stating my thoughts, and you disagree with them.

    I can’t complain because I get comedy on the radio because there’s not much on TV? Sorry – I don’t follow this at all.

    The volume of comedy programmes on a particular medium has no bearing upon the quality of a particular programme and its poor and offensive content.

    I shall immediately “dis” Punt and Dennis, as they are the laziest writers involved in radio comedy, even more lazy than the hacks who write Hoggart’s scripts for the News Quiz. Their formulaic tricks and cheap repetitions are not “SATIRE” as they are so fond of screaming, but depressingly routine attempts at topical juxtaposition. “We notice that News Story X happened this week. That’s a bit like Popular Culture Subject Y… [go to sketch in which Y is recreated to involve X]”. And interspersed with Mitch Benn’s pathetic attempts to make a news story rhyme, under the delusion that this is how musical comedy works, and always crushed by his need to prove what an astonishing performer he really is if only he could be recognised as more than just a comedian but a musician, A MUSICIAN, NOTICE ME!!!

    You are asking me, well perhaps telling me, to accept below average on the spurious grounds that there’s not much better on offer. No. I shall never insult myself with that sort of attitude.

  • bob arctor

    OK. Its good to know you stick to your principles. Sorry if I was “passive agressive” or somesuch that you or KG would call it.

  • antichaos

    Incidentally, I recently discovered that a friend of mine from school, now operating under the name Paul Kerensa, is one of those doing some writing for the Now show and similar. Details at His humor was and clearly still is of the most generic kind, but that isn’t quite the same thing as bad. He also gets my respect by having built some kind of stand up career out of telling maths jokes.


  • bob arctor

    You may think I have an easily satisfied taste in comedy. Maybe you’re right. I don’t mind either way: I can enjoy various things. Opinions (despite the easy assumption that a different opinion is a bad one) vary and thats probably good.

    Out of interest what do you think is good? I’m not an animal? Look around you? Bill Bailey probably not but maybe Rory Bremner? I’m just interested to be honest.

  • John

    Blimey. I like Bill Bailey – he’s extremely good. Rory Bremner is embarrassingly bad.

    I like an enormous amount of comedy. Swathes of it. However tiresome cliche and unpleasant offensive stupidity do nothing for me.

  • Kowalski


  • Bobsy

    Rory Bremner: do you remember when you used to be funny, rather than just insult people?

    Dead Ringers: same question.

  • bob arctor

    I forgive you though for your pickiness John. I just read the DrivTHREEr review. Genius. I love it.

    Mind you I think the bad games make you bitter towards people like Mitch Benn :P!

  • NM

    Yes, it could be that bad games make him bitter towards Mitch Benn. Or it could be that Mitch Benn is shit. I guess it’s just one of the Lord’s Mysteries we’re never really to understand in this lowly life.

  • alec

    random: Mitch Benn apparently frequents the forum at, as I discovered during a recent misguided day browsing Doctor Who websites, in a fit of unwanted nostalgia caused by the new series. So I suspect you could go and tell him how rubbish you think he is there.