Radio Weekly #5
This week Ian Wolf tackles an online encyclopaedia and sporting national identity.
After a two year gap since the first series went out, series two of the Pozzitive Productions sketch show Bigipedia began this week – and for me it has been worth the wait, as this is one of my favourite radio shows.
For those not familiar with the show, Bigipedia is a parody of Wikipedia featuring all sorts of odd articles, debates and features. The last series ended with Bigipedia enslaving 88% of the human population and creating a gigantic hive mind in the Philippines, but the new upgraded 2.0 version has reportedly gotten rid of these problems.
Before I go on I should point out that other than the great quality of humour in this show, I have other reasons for liking Bigipedia, namely that I have helped co-writer Matt Kirshen with matters relating to Wikipedia and Bigipedia. I tried to get myself credited as a consultant on the show – I didn’t, but it was worth a try none the less!
Bigipedia still retains some of its original features, such as its sponsor, the nightmarish wine-like drink Chianto (the only drink which is the antidote to itself), a new range of Bronson’s baby products (such as diving bells), and children’s section Bigikids which offers some unusual and disturbing advice on how to avoid being attacked by sharks.
Among the articles which featured in this week’s episodes include Plinky, a 1960s educational children’s show about wildlife that was so confusing nobody had any idea what animal Plinky was and therefore the show had no educational merit. There was also Elvis Presley’s segmented pip worm, which was the real reason behind his famous singing voice.
However, for me, the best sketches in Bigipedia are the “Disambiguation” pages. The format for these sketches is very simple, but it pays off. You simply come up with a term, which helps serve as a punchline for a series of jokes later on. For example, the disambiguation page on “Circus complaint” has articles linking to a self-made spandex millionare, and the stamp of cannibal quality.
One cannot help but admire the writing that goes into this show. There is so much content that you cannot let your concentration slip for a moment. A show which grabs your attention so much has to be good.
The Sinha Test
Paul Sinha, Britain’s most famous gay Hindu GP stand-up, stars and writes in this special one-off show about cricket and national identity, a week before the next test series between England and India.
This was inspired by “The Tebbit Test”, when in April 1990 Norman Tebbit said that immigrants who came to live in England that did not support the England cricket team, but instead supported the team of their home land, were not patriotic. Sinha, along with what he claims is the entire immigrant population of England, supports the team of his parents home land, India.
The stand-up looks at the various conflicting issues with regards to supporting India in cricket, but supporting England in football and other sports. Part of the reason for this being that while India excel in cricket, they tend not to excel in almost every other sport (except kabaddi).
Highlights for me include what Sinha refers to as “My mum and dad’s dinner party story” in which India had to bat for two days solid in order to save the series, and by the time Sinha’s parents arrived at the ground that morning India has already lost. There is also the story of Sinha getting tickets to see the 1983 Cricket World Cup from his head teacher who smugly said that India would not be there. India won the final, beating England in the semi.
Sinha’s conclusion is that we love to support the underdog, a notion I can appreciate. I support Middlesbrough F.C., partly because I’m from Teesside, partly out of a sense of duty due to the fact my parents first met at a Boro game, but also due to the fact that I, and I suspect the majority of Boro fans as well, are secretly fond of the fact that Middlesbrough is somewhat rubbish.
We will never admit it in public, but we all secretly proud of the fact we are over-polluted, mostly poor, and have a food dish – a parmo – which has Scotsmen looking at envy going: “Bloody hell, that can give you a coronary with just one bite – and it hasn’t even been deep fried!”