I like podcasting. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s because I have a big mouth, talk a lot and want people to know how clever I am. All the while I cling on to the idea that I’m an introvert. And humble. Ah well.
Maybe I like podcasting because I can’t be seen. Except now I can, because the podcast isn’t just an audio experience but a visual one. I’m doing YouTube videos that you can hear as podcasts. This is partly because podcasts are increasingly popular, but YouTube is where the debates are really happening, so I’m looking to be part of that in the future.
And what a future The Sacred Art of Joking has. There is so much to talk about. Comedy is in the news all the time. Barely a day passes without someone making a joke that goes horribly wrong, and the press react as if they don’t know what jokes are (as Jonathan Pie vigorously points out here) They should really read my book rather than the press release. If they read it, they will find a few paragraphs which I explicitly say are for journalists to read, so do look out for those.
The first brief episode is up on YouTube and is working its way through the iTunes Podcast system and will hopefully appear out the other end sooner or later. But for now, at least, the YouTube video and the podcast are identical.
In the opening show, I talk about how this book came to be, and how my interview with Ben Elton became an international news story a decade ago. I ended up on Newsnight with Jeremy Paxman. It was very exciting. I also took part in a global phone-in show on the BBC World Service called World Have Your Say along with Anjem Choudray, who argued that he had a great sense of humour. He was subsequently jailed for recruiting young people to banned radical groups, so there’s a bit of context for you there.
And that’s what it’s all about: context.
And that’s what everyone seems so determined to ignore when it comes to jokes that cause offence. But that’s arguably even more important than the joke itself, as I argue in the first part of the book. We’ll get to that material in good time. The first episode, running at a bite-sized seven minutes or so is up now. Have a look. Or a listen: