Recently, while trawling through the ever-expanding pit of cyber-slurry that constitutes the internet, no doubt in search of a moment's distraction from whatever contractual, familial, or social obligations I was trying to avoid, I came across several articles praising a new interview show. For me, the show in question seemed to tick all the boxes that I look for in a piece of entertainment, featuring, as it did, a recognised comedian; a once-lauded young starlet whose best days are evidently behind them, and a heavy reliance on a product placement tie-in as a crucial component of the show's mechanic. Given that it had these, Big Three - and it's not often I find a show that sates this very particular set of desires on my part - I was intrigued.
The show is entitled, Under A Rock with Tig Notaro, and is an interview web-series hosted on online channel Funny Or Die. Contrary to what could reasonably be presumed from the title, this is unfortunately not a reality show where celebrated dead-pan comedian, Tig Notaro, attempts to live under a rock to imitate the life of a woodlouse. Instead, it is a reference to the fact that Tig Notaro considers herself to be somewhat removed from the goings on of popular culture. She declares herself to be ignorant of most popular music, films and TV shows and thus, is fairly ignorant of most celebrities. In short, if you were to hand Tig Notaro a photograph of Ainsley Harriott, presenter of former day-time cooking show, Ready, Steady, Cook! she would look at you nonplussed, wondering why you had done such a thing - as indeed would someone who was aware of Harriott's ouevre, but that is beside the point.
The premise of Under A Rock with Tig Notaro is that, given Tig Notaro's ignorance of modern celebrity culture, and inability to recognise most famous faces, she has no idea who the person she will be interviewing is. The first time she meets the celebrity in question, will be when they walk onto the set, the audience will also be entirely unaware of who the guest will be. She will have no prepared questions and will have to ascertain their identity and conduct an interview with them, being entirely ignorant of their life and work.
If that sounds familiar to you, then you need look no further than RTÉ's The Tommy Tiernan Show to understand why. The celebrated RTÉ show operates on much the same premise with Tommy Tiernan having no idea who he will be interviewing until the guest is brought into the studio to meet him in front of the audience. Though, admittedly at this juncture the shows begin to differ somewhat, in that Tommy Tiernan usually either recognises his guest, or has a working knowledge of their careers once they mention their name. Despite this their similarities are remarkable.
The first episode of Tig Notaro's series was released on Tuesday, and it featured former Dawson's Creek star, James van der Beek. I must admit, that when I initially saw the video and clicked on it, I had confused James van der Beek with young Dutch footballer Donny van der Beek and was intrigued and utterly baffled as to what Tig Notaro and a member of Ajax's celebrated 2018/19 first team would've talked about. But alas, this was not to be - though there will be many more episodes in the series, so there's still time yet for Donny van der Beek to make an appearance.
Immaterial of this, should he wish to pursue claims for intellectual copyright theft I will gladly offer my services to this end. While I will freely admit most of my, limited, skills lie in the creation of lightly pithy online content, I have ready access to Wikipedia and a lot of free time on my hands to brush up on copyright laws in various jursidictions. If this is a route you would like to go down, Tommy, feel free to get in touch.
That said, Tig Notaro's show seems very good and well worth a watch, so it is not a legal battle I would embrace with any real relish as I am looking forward to see where it goes.