In TV, and in particular in commercials, you don’t really need to explain very much at all — you just say he’s a spy and he’s a little bit theatrical and overblown and smug and he’s not very good at his job.
Monty Python crowd; half of them came from Cambridge, and half of them came from Oxford. But, there seems to be this jewel, this sort of two headed tradition of doing comedy, of doing sketches, and that kind of thing.
Not so much in Canada, but certainly in the US, as I’m sure you know, money is all, and if they can get another 26 programs of the same thing even though it advances the culture or those actor’s careers not at all it doesn’t matter.
People think because I can make them laugh on the stage, I’ll be able to make them laugh in person. That isn’t the case at all. I am essentially a rather quiet, dull person who just happens to be a performer.
The clear problem of the outlawing of insult is that too many things can be interpreted as such. Criticism, ridicule, sarcasm, merely stating an alternative point of view to the orthodoxy, can be interpreted as insult.
There is always that age-old thing about England and America being divided by a common language. You think that because we speak English and you speak English that you’re bound to understand and like everything that we do. And of course you don’t.
We still have a tradition certainly in English television; it’s faded a bit in the last five years, but we still have a tradition where the important thing is the quality and the challenging nature of the programming.