Michael McIntyre? Can’t we give a chat show to Paul O’Grady instead?

He took on bigots dressed in drag  as Lily Savage in the 1980s. Now the comedian is speaking up for the plight of people on benefits

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Sure, I know how it goes. I’ll slag off Michael McIntyre and before you can say “trollbait”, some in-house contrarian at the Telegraph will have penned a blog calling me a typical leftie snob sneering at the cultural tastes of the masses. But given that he’s just been handed a BBC chat show, all I’ll say is this – he’s not exactly renowned for pushing at the boundaries, is he? No one’s ever labelled him “risqué McIntyre”, or Michael “Oof, anyone got the telephone number for the burns unit?” McIntyre. Just saying.

So here’s my suggestion to Auntie Beeb’s commissioning editors – why not Paul O’Grady? Okay, disclaimer, I love Paul. When gay men were reviled as poofs and queers in the 1980s, he was railing against the bigots in full drag at his sellout Vauxhall gigs.

Comedians speak truth to power far more effectively than any columnist, and O’Grady had courage in spades.

I saw the same guts on display on BBC1’s The One Show this week, when O’Grady railed against Channel 4’s Benefits Street for fuelling the myth that people on benefits are scroungers, living it up at taxpayers’ expense.

When he trashed George Osborne, I joined half the nation in yelling, “Marry me O’Grady!” at the TV. Given that the Daily Mail says the Beeb is run by commies, he should be a shoo-in, which is how Jim Davidson got his gig. But come on, let’s have gutsy, edgy comedy back, and maybe make O’Grady Prime Minister while we’re at it.

Read More from Owen Jones this week here: An open letter to Ukip voters

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