About Me

My photo
London, United Kingdom
Holly Searle is a writer who was born in Westminster in the middle of London. She shares her birthday with Jarvis Cocker and David Seaman and like Jarvis Cocker she wears glasses but has nothing whatsoever in common with David Seaman. She is fascinated by words, people and their stories, and regularly spends hours fantasising about being offered a weekly column. She has a degree in Film and Television which she gained from Brunel University in 1997. She has been blessed with two quite remarkable children whom she adores. She enjoys the company of her friends and the circus that is life. Long Walk to Forever by Kurt Vonnegut is her favourite short story. She is the author of the published children's tale The Story of Balan Singh, and is currently working on her first book.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

To Be Honest, I Would Rather You Just Made Me Laugh By Holly Searle






Earlier this year I spent the evening with the actor Jon Hamm who plays the character of Donald Draper in the show Mad Men

(Actually, that opening paragraph is a tad misleading and as I am not that sort of girl, I shall begin again).

Earlier this year in London I attended an evening hosted by BAFTA, where the actor Jon Hamm who plays the character of Donald Draper in the excellent series Mad Men was being 
interviewed to promote the up and coming fifth season of the show as it was about to air in America.

I was keen to attend this interview not because of Jon Hamm, but because I am a bit of a geek when it comes to the show in which he happens to be one of the key actors.

On arrival at the venue it soon became pretty clear that a majority of the tickets for this event had been purchased by ladies. 

Now, like me, they could have been Mad Men geeks, but after the lights dimmed in the auditorium and dear Jon made his suited and booted way onto the stage, the swooning murmurings from the masses of lasses, lead me to conclude quite the opposite.

That is fine I thought, if they want to objectify him, who am I to criticise their choice of fantasy and his role in it. Carry on girls I thought, fill your boots.

Once their beating hearts became still and a hush finally descended, I focused on the reasons why I was there and settled down and became jackanory engrossed in the interview. 

The choice of clips used to illustrate the points raised and the discussion between Mr H and his interviewer about the lives of the additional characters that also appear in the show, had me knicker-gripped to my seat.

So far, so good I thought.

It was an intelligent, entertaining and well put together interview, but I started to become aware as it proceeded (with immense irritation I have to add), that even the interviewer was taking it upon herself to use every opportunity to flirt with Mr Hamm. He in turn unashamed lapped this up and proceeded to reciprocate it when he noticed the response it was receiving from the women in the audience.

At that point Donald Draper appeared with his charming Mack The Knife smile in addition to the odd coy Bond like fiddle of his cuff links. He loved it, but alas had reverted to a type that I have no time for.
And although he had me at Hello , at that point he lost me.

The interviewer then asked the audience if there were any questions they would like to put to Jon.
Being the geek that I am, I had my hand raised before those words had left her mouth.

Of course, Mr Hamm turned to me all twinkle and expectation, but I meant business and royally rained on his parade by not asking him a question at all, but rather telling him something about Peggy Olson (another character from the show). I had no idea where I was going with my wittering observations or what the point was I was actually trying to make, but I wasn't going to lower my intellect by joining in with the general consensus of being all smarmy in order to cop a feel of his charm by flirting with him.
And at that moment, I swear I saw tumble-weed roll in the space between us.

He crumbled before me and as I didn't have him at Hello the mic was whipped out of my hand and passed too a much more acceptable sexy simpering saucy Sally example of contemporary femininity in order to reset the lust heat setting on the interview. Jon shone once more (phew), while I was left alone in the dark a little breathless and lonely (sigh).

Still, I had made my point and had had my say. And even if I hadn't played along, I was happy enough.
But, in retrospection it made me contemplate what all the fuss was about as to be honest, I don't fancy Jon Hamm or his alter ego Don at all.

He is a handsome fellow of that there is no doubt. But, I came to conclude that he just isn't my type as I would rather spend my time laughing with a man of character, rather than with one that lacks one.
Now, don't all shout at once, but he just isn't funny.

When I was a child I did a fair impression of Frankie Howard, if you twisted my arm and threatened me with court action, I would probably consider doing it for you sometime.

But let's face it, Jon Hamm is far too good-looking to be charmed by my impression of Frankie Howard and with all due respect, I am holding out for a man who might be (it isn't brilliant to be honest, so don't hold your breath).

I have a theory that we choose a type of counterpart that best compliments our own very early on and then base all future suitable mates unconsciously upon this selection. I thought about those I that I'd had crushes on and came up with the following candidates (and please bare in mind that, I could have chosen Donny Osmond or David Cassidy) Danny Partridge, Neil Reid and Harpo Marx.

For those of you who have no idea of whom I speak, Danny Partridge was Keith Partridge's younger ginger rotund brother in The Partridge Family. Neil Reid was a young Scottish lad in a kilt who won Opportunity Knocks several times singing a song called Mother of Mine. And Harpo Marx was the silent harp playing genius who appeared along side his brothers in The Marx Brothers movies.

Make of that what you will. But what I surmise from those choices, is that I was more draw to character than charisma. Danny Partridge was a bit of a cheeky scamp, while Neil Reid displayed an innocent venerable nature that played to my underdeveloped maternal heart-strings and Harpo, well, he just made me laugh.

So, in a pocket-book Freud nutshell sort of way, those characteristics appeal more to me than any others.

Like wise, all of those who idolised pretty boy pop stars, will probably be content to accept those as a trait above all others that they can relate to. But not me. I have always been more intrigued by what cannot be seen rather than what can.

As I developed so did my tastes. I will admit to once having a crush on Roy Castle and Mark Curry from Blue Peter, but then progressed onto a new phase that encompassed lookers like David Soul and Robert Redford.

However, these were short-lived phases as these types of men never fancied me (classically good-looking ones), so I left them behind in search of something else. Something more intrinsic, formidable and funny.

I had always enjoyed comedy and laughing from a very early age and this wasn't such an odd plimsoll line to reach considering that I had been raised on a diet that consisted of The Marx Brothers and Carry On films intertwined with a healthy dash of Eric and Ernie, Norman Wisdom,The Two Ronnies, Dick Emery and Dave Allen.

But as I grew I also began to appreciated the power of observational comedy and so when I encountered Bill Hicks' style, my character combined with intellect quota cup overflowed. Here was a man who was funny and smart with it. A man whose perception of the world matched mine completely. And Bill wasn't your typical looker either, but he was incredibly funny and intelligent and to me that was far more sexier than those who possess an over defined set of abdominal muscles any day of the week. I still miss you Bill,I always will.

In the wake of Bill Hicks, there were other comics, some that just didn't make me laugh or manage to cut the mustard. But that some did with their laugh till your stomach ache humour. Who can fail to laugh at David Baddiel and Robert Newman's History Today sketches, or Charlie Higson and Paul Whitehead as Ralph and Ted, or Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer doing anything and I adore the character of Angelos Epithemiou played by Renton Skinner. Frank Skinner, Paul Merton, Alan Carr and the irrepressible talent that is Stewart Lee just blows me away every time he opens his mouth and his timing is just spot on. Steve Martin, Eddie Izzard, Kathy Burke, Harry Enfield, Ben Elton, Ben Stiller, French and Saunders the list is endless.

Stand up isn't a new medium by any means, but there does appear to be a vast available wealth of comedic talent now than at any other time and that, my friend is a good thing as far as I am concerned. It is sexy, vital, accessible and real.

Laughing is so good for you and has the power to make you feel included with a majority rather than a minority, which is where I would place those who cannot see past the handsome man in the suit. Jon Hamm and his acolytes could learn a lesson or two here, but they probably never will and in a strange way, that is fine by me, for I know where I would rather be sitting.

Look at Narcissus, he fell in love with himself because that was all he could focus on. If only he had gone to a comedy night every once in a while, he might have laughed at himself instead of spending hour after hour gazing at his reflection and fiddling rather coyly with is cuff links.
So, my Frankie Howard impression then...





4 comments:

Anonymous said...

impressed by your honesty....danny patridge and neil reid!!.....not many people would have the guts to bring that into the open.....

Holly Searle said...

Said the man who has confessed to having a crush on a Grange Hill teacher.

Jeremy Renner's Ass said...

Roy Castle?

Holly Searle said...

It didn't last long JR.