The death of the chat show

Yesterday I read an article by Angus Batey on living without a television, and it sounded like a pretty tempting way to live.

When I'm a proper grown up, I can imagine "I don't have a TV" coming just after "I don't eat meat" on my Things I Say That Make People Look At Me Like I've Just Licked Their Face Like a Dog list. That is, if things carry on the way they're going.

The reason I'm becoming increasingly annoyed with television is because it's crap. To be specific, chat shows are crap. At the moment we have The Graham Norton Show, The Jonathan Ross Show and Alan Carr: Chatty Man to choose from, and they are all irritating me.

I never pay attention to adverts. I smugly fast forward them on the fancy Sky that my mum has at home, or if I'm watching it on demand on my laptop I'll stare up at the ceiling and wonder what it'll be like at the inevitable moment I take my last breath on this earth - as a better alternative.

And then Graham, Jonathan or Alan will begin and I'll feel like I've prevailed over the power of advertising. Except that the whole hour of 'chat' promotes a book/film/song from a bunch of people I'm not interested in, because prime time television is just adverts sandwiched with adverts masquerading as entertainment. Along with blogs and magazines, chat shows sacrifice good content to PR.

I know Chatty Man is painfully lowbrow, but Alan is undeniably funny and I do sometimes find myself looking forward to it. Britney Spears was one of the guests on last week's show, and what did Alan and (arguably) one of the most successful artists in the world have to talk about? Mini matches from Poundland. I guess someone got an exhaustive list of what not to mention.

As well as promoting things, the other insufferable feature of chat shows is the mission of the hosts to inflate the egos of the famous and carefully tiptoe around their self-importance. Chat shows are less about the audience and more about keeping American actors with no sense of humour happy and boosting their giant egos. Instead of anything resembling conversation, lucky viewers get to tune in for an hour of careful questioning and sickening sycophancy.

Rhianna was a recent guest on Chatty Man, where a photo of her was shown wearing an outfit covered in marijuana print. The two of them had a jolly little laugh about it, although I'm not sure what's funny about using your role model status to tell young girls drugs are cool. But if you're a celebrity on a chat show, you could say your new album is called 'Genocide' and you'd be met with an inquisitive smile and compliments on how insightful you are.


  1. American chat shows aren't any better. Jimmy Fallon and Conan O'Brien are fairly funny guys, but then you have them talking to Katy Perry about her new album and they have to spend 15 minutes pretending like they give a crap about her new terrible song.

    Needless to say, I gave up on talk shows long ago.

    1. I'm glad Britain isn't alone in this! And I admire your willpower - I really don't know why I haven't given up too!