We asked for your opinions on middle-class media lads
Monday 10 June 1996
Surely the best form of comedy is the spontaneous observational kind which, when used as a tool to glean a different perspective of football, for instance, can be entertaining even to those who do not necessarily follow the sport. What would Mackesy prefer, a group of friends reciting mother-in-law gags in a world of tedious anecdotes? One has only to watch the excruciating silence that permeates A Question of Sport when David Coleman interviews a leading sportsman to realise that this approach is past its sell-by date. For sport in this country to flourish it must adapt as an entertaining product. For this reason, her views on They Think It's All Over are unfair.
I agree with Mackesy that the middle classes have gripped the trendy appeal in pretending to be working-class football fans, but surely the anger must be directed to those who have been able to create a market of luxury viewing of a sport they have little passion for, and are slowly driving the dedicated supporter away.
Antony S. Thomas
Port Talbot, West Glamorgan
Leave the middle-class media lads alone. Football is the game of the masses, not the working classes - there is a difference. Shouldn't we celebrate the fact that many a pub scrap has been avoided by the fact that my middle-class companions and I have been able to engage those of a perceived lower social status in conversation about Ruud Gullit being a genius?
We don't have much else in common with these lads, so please don't tell us to stop "pretending" to enjoy football or we might get beaten up next time.
Media lads, or alternative comedians, don't create comedy, they just knock or parody what is already there. The pubs and football grounds are full of lads who can do as well or better.
Real observational comedy was performed by people such as Joyce Grenfell and Al Read and was suitable for all age groups. These Media Lads come from the comedy circuit, which is made up of colleges and clubs for the 18-30s.
Genuinely talented people who get on TV are now ridiculed as "wannabes", so it seems that nowadays it's better to sneer at others than entertain them.
It isn't do we need media lads, it's do we need the constant whingeing about them? Skinner, Baddiel et al are funny guys who make the world's favourite game accessible to the whole nation. What a welcome change from Anne/Nick, Richard/Judy; the dullness of Barrymore, Cilla, Beadle and the current senseless, persuasive and prejudiced fad of Jane Austen recently enveloping the media.
The teenage versions of the "lads" were and are present in schools and it is not surprising that they have made their way into the media. Long may it continue.
Media lads make us laugh. The poke fun at those sports and sporting heroes who take themselves too seriously. I know nothing about football but love watching Fantasy Football and They Think It's All
Laddery isn't trying to make any statements. In my experience beer, tabs and football unite men/lads of all backgrounds. In any case, what's wrong with a middle-class lad? How anyone can describe Frank Skinner as such is beyond me. A good education doesn't negate family background.
Sue Parry (working-class lass)
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