There must be something wrong with me. I could watch this clip 800 times running. Because while I have never actually watched more than two whole minutes of any celebrity-dance-stravaganza, I just don’t get it. I just don’t.
The American version is called Dancing with the Stars, but I’d stake good money on only two of those words being referentially accurate. The UK’s is Strictly Come Dancing,* the title being a take-off on the long-running ballroom dancing show Come Dancing, which ran for fifty years, albeit not continuously. Lord.
Very much appreciate Mr. Mitchell’s take on the inversely proportional relationship between humor and bombast, in this interview —
I’ve been to LA and it’s horrible. I don’t want to live there. I think, fundamentally, the people I want to make laugh are British. I can’t ever imagine living abroad. I love all elements of how British society lends itself to comedy – you know, it’s own sort of pompousness and self-loathing and class system and cynicism and irony: all these sorts of things are strongest here. Something like Curb Your Enthusiasm, great though it is, it’s like their first faltering steps into that world of self-loathing that we, as a post-imperial power, have been in for the best part of a century. I think the Americans will be doing some amazing comedy in 60 to 70 years’ time. But for the moment I’d say we’re in the right part of the curve of the decline of our civilisation in order to be funniest.
One wonders if self-loathing American humor is only a few decades away, or if it will be staved off indefinitely. My guess is for the latter, simply because we’re so painfully convinced of our rightness and rectitude that it makes it well nigh impossible to get any critical distance. And we’re deeply suspect of intellect.
I am also excruciatingly aware that I may have exhausted my three readers’ patience for just how much David Mitchell they are prepared to have shoved in their faces. It’s a niche fandom, but I live in hope.
*Now I really want to watch Strictly Ballroom. Oh, Baz. Now that’s a movie.