Archive for November, 2008


My Irish Times profile is not hugely accurate

November 29, 2008


(Just got a long letter from Journalist Brian Boyd, where he details the research that went into his profile of me in the Irish Times. He’s genuinely upset that I don’t like it, and he feels that the story is close enough to the truth to make my many objections to it moot. I disagree, because I believe that a fact is either true or it’s not, just as someone is either pregnant or not. But I did write the post in anger and I should have paused before adopting my scorched-earth tone. Here’s the post again, except written by an adult.)

There’s a profile of me in the Irish Times today,  and there’s a few things wrong with it. I hate to inflict the following list of corrections onto the readers of WTD, but the piece is online now and so will presumably be used for research by other journalists and I want to make sure they have the facts.

In brief, then…

The story about how the ‘IT Crowd’ came to me is not true. The two incidents did not happen on the same day–it’s myth-making.

I wasn’t brought up in the Navan Road, I spent my first ten years on Glenbeigh Road, then moved to Castleknock.

I didn’t complain to Hot Press about a Pixies review.  I actually complimented them on a piece Bill Graham wrote about the NME.

“Over drinks in the International Bar, they talked about writing a comic documentary which detailed Father Ted’s day-to-day life. But nothing ever came of it.” Arthur and I had the idea to do a mock-documentary after we left Ireland and went to the UK, and quite far along after our arrival, at that. Arthur and I didn’t even THINK of writing comedy until years after we met each other.

“Linehan had grown up as a geeky outsider on Dublin’s northside. His interests began and ended with films, music and books. His three biggest comedy influences were Woody Allen, The Simpsons and Seinfeld, but all he ever wanted to be was a music critic.” Amazingly prescient of me considering I was born in 1968, and ‘Seinfeld’ and ‘The Simpsons’ both started running in 1990, when I was twenty-two years old. Why Brian believes I always wanted to be a music critic is beyond me. I certainly never said it in an interview because it’s not true. (Brian has an explanation for this that is too confusing for me to go into here).

Arthur and I didn’t start writing for Alexei Sayle, we started with ‘Smith and Jones’. There were no doors shut in our face after ‘Paris’–Ted was already in pre-production when it was going out. The Kevin McAleer ‘offer’ is completely overstated; I met him in a comedy venue and asked if he’d read the script and he said no. (“Quite possibly on the basis of how Paris had failed to perform.” This is quite possibly Brian using the words ‘quite possibly’ to excuse conjecture.)

“Never get into a game of poker with him. He’s close to a professional-level player.” I’m sitting at home at the moment, but I can still hear the laughter coming from every poker club I have ever played at. I am a cheerfully incompetent amateur, which is possibly giving myself too much credit.

Finally, the main reason I am writing this and the most annoying part of the whole thing. A purported quote from a friend which states ” I do know he was a bit disappointed with a documentary RTÉ made of him last year.”

This is nonsense and worse, hurtful to the people behind ‘Funny Business’. I was absolutely delighted with Adrian McCarthy’s documentary. It’s an exhaustive and (to me, at least) moving portrait of a very important year in my life, and it is as accurate and well-researched as one would hope from a serious profile.

Adrian, I hope you read this–I loved that program and if there’s a link to an online version of it, let me know so I can post it up.


We are Devo!

November 28, 2008


Tonight’s episode features some bad language.  I do apologise. (Channel 4, 10.00pm.)


Funny thing happened on the way to the Emmys

November 27, 2008


Oop, almost forgot!

We’re in a taxi, on the way to the Emmys, and the driver asks us where we’re going. We tell him about the nomination and he says “Oh, my wife, she’s crazy about British television, she loves that show…oh, what is it…set in the Fifties or the Sixties…”

“The Fifties or the Six–oh, is it ‘Heartbeat’? Would that be it?”

“No, no…oh, what is it?…It’s a drama…”

“Eh…there’s a thing about a police detective during the Second World War…”

“No, no, I don’t think it’s a wartime thing….”

“Are you sure it’s not the Seventies? It could be ‘Life on Mars’?…”

“No…it’s definitely Fifties or Sixties– ehh, what the hell is it called? ”

“God, I dunno…eh, do you know which channel it–”

“–oh, wait! I got it! ‘Eastenders’!”



November 27, 2008

IT Crowd voted best comedy program in part of world that is not America

November 25, 2008


We won an International Emmy and apparently that’s what it means!

I met John Waters!


We’re back!

November 21, 2008


Today’s the day, kids! I’m still editing, but I definitely think this is our best series. We really–

No, maybe I should keep expectations low.

We messed up. It doesn’t work.

There! Now you’re really gonna love it!

Couple of things–

No, I can’t do anything about the laughter. Anyone who doesn’t like studio sitcoms, let’s just call it a day and start seeing other people. It’s not working out.

Anyone who wants to start being nasty about me or the actors or the show, this is not the place. There are several sites out there where you can get your hate on and no-one will just instantly mark your comment as spam.  And best of luck with getting that script commissioned!

A big thank you to all the cast and crew who made this series such a blast to work on. I apologise for complaining on the rare occassions where something went wrong, and not noticing or remarking on it when things went right. I am sometimes an arse.

Last but not least, thanks to all the people who wrote in to this site and suggested props for the set. Man, that worked out.  Man, that worked out. I guess to most, it’ll look exactly the same, but to me, it’s a huge improvement and a permanent reminder of how much you dig the show. I am indebted to you all.

Let the games commence! (Channel 4, 10.00pm)


De, de, de, de, de, de, de, de, de…

November 20, 2008

You have Up In Flames, right? What? You don’t? Jesus, dudes, get on it! GET ON IT!


It’s so crazy it just might work

November 20, 2008

Jack Handey has a plan. Link
(via Cynical C)

(Oh, and the illustration is by Michael Kupperman! I wouldn’t have known only I met him in New York and he told me!)


Oops. Nearly forgot.

November 14, 2008


Dead Good

November 14, 2008

Many of you have been singing the praises of Charlie Brooker’s Dead Set and I just wanted to add my voice to the choir. (Charlie’s a mate, so feel free to ignore everything that follows.)

Gosh, it’s good. Charlie thought I’d hate it because it has swearing, but he’s got me all wrong. I’m not against swearing! I just hate it when it’s pointless and cheap or used to make a weak joke ‘funnier’. But if you can’t swear during a zombie apocalypse, when can you swear? A zombie apocalypse without swearing…the very idea! I would oppose such a zombie apocalypse! (That said, Charlie’s swearing on ‘Screenwipe’ doesn’t add much to that program, I think. I mean, even Jamie Oliver swears while presenting now! Jamie Oliver, a man who is proud that he has never read a book! Do you really want to be like Jamie, Charlie? Or any chef?)

Simon Pegg wrote a nice piece complaining about the new trend for speedy zombies and I would agree with him if I had only seen ’28 Days Later’, which I couldn’t take seriously as soon as I saw the angry monkeys at the start (screenwriting tip–never lead with angry monkeys). ‘Dead Set’ pulls off a nice trick of deliberately presenting us with a ridiculous situation and then piling on the horror so that the comedy sort of rises naturally, like a terrifying soufflé. Needless to say, the jokes (at the expense of TV producers, ‘Big Brother’ and its former housemates) are top quality.

And what a cast! In Andy Nyman, especially, Charlie has found his DeNiro. No-one swears like Andy Nyman. He swirls Charlie’s dialogue around like it’s claret before spitting it in the face of anyone who makes the mistake of coming near. It’s an extraordinary performance and if there were no-one else in it worth watching, it’d still be worth watching because of him. But the other performances are outstanding. It’s especially nice to see Kevin Eldon excercising muscles he’s normally not called upon to move and giving us a  touching portrayal of a man who’s not nearly as intelligent or moral as he thinks he is. And as for…well, I could go on, really I could. There are no weak links.

It takes a lot to get me fired up enough to write an appreciation like this. ‘Dead Set’ should act as a spur and inspiration to anyone thinking of doing something similar. Charlie has joined the ranks of those who prove that it is possible to do good genre stuff in the UK, and that if you’re going to aim for anything at all, you might as well aim high, because, man, when you pull it off…you’ve really got something.