Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Hissy Fit…

The comedian Lee Hurst is not alone in regarding the mobile phone as one of the great curses of the modern age. While most complain about the intrusive ringtones or incessant chatter, however, Hurst has a novel complaint — that it is being used increasingly for stealing comedians' jokes.
Yeah, yeah, I know – who’d want to, right…?
He demonstated his unconventional method of dealing with the problem in September at a pub in Guildford, Surrey — seizing a phone from a member of his audience whom he believed to be committing comedy piracy, throwing it to the floor and smashing it.
*badoom-tish* No..? Well, there’s more…
Defending the rights of comedians, Hurst called it. Criminal damage, Guildford magistrates called it, and fined him £60. Hurst, 46, who pleaded guilty, was also ordered to pay £80 compensation with a £15 surcharge and £87 costs.
Well, it made me laugh…

And the CPS showed some comic touches of their own:
Hurst, who conducted his own defence, originally pleaded not guilty on the ground that he was not there — a novel if somewhat shaky defence, one might have thought, given that there were about 300 witnesses. It turned out that he was right: the prosecution had got the date wrong — September 4 instead of September 3 — and, once it was amended, the comedian duly changed his plea to guilty.
*sigh* Frankly, I don’t find the CPS as funny as I used to – some of their ‘jokes’ are a little stale…

Hurst was rather truculent in his own defence:
He told the court that he believed a member of the audience standing at the back was filming his act. “This happens from time to time and there is nothing that you can do about it. Even if it's just for their own personal use, they could lend it to a friend or have it stolen and it could end up on YouTube. I'm talking on behalf of comedians in general.
Oh, the horror….!

Stop what you’re doing, people! Stolen material is circulating on the internets….!
“There are also writers who go to gigs and take material and it is sold to the BBC and ITV. You perform on stage and then you are accused of stealing your own material from a comic on national television.”
Oh, cheer up, Lee!

After all, that’s not half as bad as trying to force through a planning application in the teeth of local opposition is it?
Jon Curtis, the chairman of the bench, said: “While we have some sympathy with the situation you find yourself in it is clearly no excuse for causing criminal damage.”

But Hurst clearly sees himself the victim in this, as he couldn’t keep his mouth shut even after pleading guilty:
Outside the court, Mr Hurst said: “People should stop filming people at live gigs. When you go to watch a film you get adverts from the Federation Against Copyright Theft, but comedians aren't protected so they are taking the law into their own hands. I don't regret what I did. I have to defend myself. The public probably don't know that every time you send a joke text someone has written that, and they deserve credit.”
Oh, please!

What an unedifying sight, that of a ‘comedian’ who feels the world owes him a living.

Frankly, the news that he was considering running for the post of London Mayor was funnier than most of his jokes…


Mark Wadsworth said...

If I were a stand up (which I'm not) I'd liven up the audience by telling them I was going to do a quick Lee Hurst impression and then asking if I could borrow somebody's phone...

Then I'd borrow a pen or pencil, which I'd snap just in case they were using for writing down my jokes, and so on. I'd cap it off by asking if anybody enjoyed the evening, if they say "Yes" I'd smash them over the head with a cricket bat to make sure they had amnesia and couldn't remember anything.

Oldrightie said...

Bet he votes Labour, abusing mobile phones and so on!

AntiCitizenOne said...

Your blog is blank!

AntiCitizenOne said...

It's back now, how weird.

JuliaM said...

"...I'd smash them over the head with a cricket bat to make sure they had amnesia and couldn't remember anything."


"It's back now, how weird."

Oo-er! Perhaps Jacqui's Jackboots have finally found a way of closing down internet dissent...?