Just A Minute blog

A blog on the BBC radio programme Just A Minute

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Location: Wellington, New Zealand

October 13, 2006

happy birthday

Nicholas Parsons turned 83 this week.

6 Comments:

Blogger Ani said...

Happy Birthday, Nicholas! Alles Gute zum Geburtstag!!!!

12:47 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ah, the twilight of his senility, it's been creeping up on him for years, let's just hope he has the sense to pack it in and turn over the reins to someone else, cuz lord knows he can't possibly keep going, if anyone pays attention, in the last JAM show he did, he didn't even know where they were, he thought they were in one place when they were actually in Dorsett.

and half the time he's asking or saying 'what's that?' 'what was that?' or he doesn't know what's going on, he gives the subject to someone else when someone else actually challenged, he's getting more and more snippity, and just resorting to blatant insults, why you may ask, because he can't keep up with the cleverness of people's comments and challenges, he just can't keep it up any longer, he's way past his sell by date, they oughta take him out into a field and put him down.

6:23 am  
Blogger Ani said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6:26 am  
Blogger Ani said...

Well, Nicholas definitely isn't as nimble as he was 30 years ago, but he is definitely not senile. He is one of the highlights of the show, as he has always been.

He used to ask questions like "What was that?" as well, and that was why Derek Nimmo, Kenneth Williams, Clement Freud and Peter Jones often tease him or even took over his position in a couple of episodes. It is his frequent denial and clever self-justification that we love so much.

He may be old, but he does have his ability to draw listeners. JAM is not an easy show to run, and I feel that he has done a good job. Else fans wouldn't be listening till now. Even if he has to step down as chairman, it would be in a moment of glory.

6:28 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

true, the whole 'twilight of his senility' was something I got from Derek Nimmo.

however, to say that he's one of the highlights of the show is just... well... it sounds false in my opinion. I mean because the reason I listen to the show has got nothing to do with Nicholas, it has to do with the fact that the show keeps evolving, that in spite of the loss of Kenneth Williams, Derek Nimmo, and Peter Jones, the show continues to thrive thanks in large part to an injection of fresh new talent in the form of Paul Merton and Tony Hawks, and so on.

you can ask anyone that more often than not, I'm probably one of Nicholas' second biggest detractors next to perhaps Clement Freud, but its only because I can't possibly give Nicholas any praise at all, I mean the man just isn't funny in my opinion. and to hear him ramble on and on about how he feeds people good cues or give them feed lines or sets himself up for other people and all that, I just see it as him trying to take credit for all the comedy and humor generated in the show, and that's just wrong. especially when half the time he's muttering and mumbling and sounds as though he can't find a coherent sentence with two hands and a flash light, and also sounds as though he's using peanut butter as a denture adhesive, or that he's using a piece of cutglass as a throat lozenge.
I mean the man couldn't feed lines to a dying teleprompter. I mean the man is so condescending and patronizing to other people and yet has the audacity to start complaining when people make fun of him? not to mention that he makes these decisions, these odd decisions in the show and contradicts them in the next show or even a few rounds later.

I mean the man wouldn't know comedy if it sat down and gave him a lapdance. i mean he constantly berates the audience for disagreeing with the game if someone challenges, when's he gonna get it through that thick melon on his neck that people already know the rules of the game, they just don't care? and it's not the duty of the chairman to point out the fickleness or partisanship of the audience! I mean the audience usually know better than he does about what's going on, and he screams at them to shut up. There have been many a time when he has point blank told people to shut up, you think that's clever do you, if someone is getting laughs or making comments and so on to tell them to 'shut up'?

and what about all this nonsense regarding bonus points? he used to award bonus points for cleverness and for entertaining the audience, nowadays, all you have to do is SNEEZE and you get a bonus point, I mean there have been plenty of people who've been on the show who've had clever challenges or interruptions and he's never given ANY of them bonus points, he's just patted them on the head, said that it wasn't in the rules of the game, talked down to them like they were children, rather than appreciate the humor of the moment.

i'll admit there were probably a few times when he actually was good in his job, but there would be moments when he'd just browbeat a panelist and completely inhibit them from even taking part in the proceedings, or he'd say that someone challenged when they didn't challenge or even press their buzzer or go on ad nauseam about the lights that go on in front of him, and he bullies and causes so much confusion that it makes the panelist look like an idiot.
or he'll rub it in and comment that someone was doing awfully and then when someone challenges and does the exact same thing, he tells them not to rub it in.
It's good enough for Nicholas, but it's not good enough for the rest of us?

I point these things out only because the only people that would point this stuff out are no longer with us, people like Derek Nimmo and Peter Jones, and also because the panelists these days are too apologetic, no one possesses the fire of a Kenneth Williams, I wish people would stand up to Nicholas more.

and then there's the stuff where he says 'I won't let you get away with it this time', it seems to indicate that he let that panelist get away with something that was wrong the first time.
or he'll do all of these things like unceremoniously take a subject away from someone that was speaking to someone that didn't even challenge, or allow all sorts of crazed nonsense into things and yet still has the audacity to say that he has to be fair within the rules of the game? it's mindboggling sometimes and more often than not can be quite irritating because he is changing the rules of the game, but doesn't say that he is, he says that he's interpreting the rules, which is just a load of bollocks.
I mean he'll allow someone to get away with a challenge or something, and then when that person tries it again, he won't allow it, which pisses me off.

Case in point, Wendy Richard's annoyance at Clement Freud's habit of listing things, there was a show where Nicholas said, well make your challenge and see how 'I' interpret it. Throughout the episode she kept challenging, and he never allowed it because he said that he has to go into a list even though Clement was full into listing mode, then Peter challenges on listing, he gives it to him, and then Wendy challenges on that score but gets him on hesitating, and then Nicholas turns around and says it wouldn't have been correct because it's not a fault in the game, but then turns around again when someone asks him if 'lists are okay again are they?' and says 'make your challenge, see how I interpret it, that's all I'll say'. I mean more often than not it's not so much whether someone has a correct challenge, but more on what Nicholas is feeling at the moment, I mean have you noticed that nowadays, he doesn't know what people are saying even though he says that he was listening, more often than not he isn't, but he's a good bluffer. he gives people the benefit of the doubt, whether they deserve it or not. I mean if someone doesn't hesitate and they're challenged for it, he goes 'hmmmm, alright benefit of the doubt'. because there are moments when he'll even say that he wasn't listening or paying attention.
because he can't even recall what it was they said exactly, even though as Peter Jones points out that he can remember every bloody detail of something that happened 25 years ago, but can't remember what happened 5 seconds ago.

sorry, this seems to have gone on quite a bit, I do apologize, it's just that I have a great deal to say, and stuff that I just needed to get off my chest in general.

I'm fairly certain that JAM isn't an easy show to run, lord knows I sure as heck wouldn't want to be chairman, a panelist yes, but never chairman.

my idea of a moment of glory for Nicholas would have to be where Nicholas doesn't insult the audience's intelligence, where he is actually funny and witty, and actually makes some correct decisions, and keeps his personal commentary to a bare minimum.

9:09 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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11:09 pm  

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