Rediscovering Robert Newman

I’ve been reminiscing lately about the comedy talents of The Mary Whitehouse Experience. The Mary Whitehouse Experience was a radio show, then a TV show which featured David Baddiel, Robert Newman, Steve Punt and Hugh Dennis. This was in the late 80s/early 90s and played a key role in my development of my tastes in comedy, satire, irony and sarcasm (thanks Ray). You won’t be able to get anything of the show other than on You Tube, as the four guys fell out – big-time. I began to wonder what they’re doing now. David Baddiel became an even more smug git, briefly joining with Robert Newman for a sell out tour then jumping in with Frank Skinner – an altogether unfunny man next to whom David looks funny again. Hugh Dennis and Steve Punt had a brief patch working with Jaspar Carrott on his sketch show and they currently work on the satirical Now Show on Radio 4 (check out the podcast). Hugh Dennis, also appears on Mock The Week and hundreds of adverts in a voice-over capacity.

That just leaves Rob Newman. Of the four, he is definitely (for me) the funniest. But he did sort of go underground. I’ve been looking around and I’ve realised he’s taken his satire onto the next step by producing political videos regarding relevant issues such as climate change and war.

Take his History of Oil.

Part 1: Rob talks of the naivety of the US imposing democracy in the middle east.

Part 2: How the UK and US combined to install the Shah in the previously secular democracy of Iran in order to gain access to oil.

Part 3: The real reason of the First World War, that of the Berlin to Baghdad railway even to the extent that Basra saw the first deployment of British troops for the war.

Part 4: How did Tony Blair escape trial for war crimes?

Part 5: Since 1971, the US has been the world’s biggest debtor because all oil transactions have to be conducted in US Dollars.

Part 6: How the unexpected success of the Euro put fear of major economic adjustment into the US Federal Reserve when the world (through OPEC) threaten to switch oil transactions to Euros.

Part 7:

Part 8: How after 2010 the world will have run out of net energy which will cause economic failure and how the Nuclear cycle creates 75% of the carbon emissions as coal-fired power stations.

Part 9: Transport is not the only consumer of oil. Food is more responsible for oil consumption and is arguably more important than getting from A to B. Also, how the House Sub-committee for Foreign Policy report titled “Oil Fields for Military Objectives” became “An American plan for Democracy”.

This may or may not be based on fact, satire or just comedy. You may not agree with Rob’s (or my) assertions. That is immaterial, but what Rob and comics like him do is essential. They take the time to look into the established stories of world events and help people identify for themselves the real reasons behind events. This is democracy, and it’s also democracy that we need to keep hold of despite attempts to clamp down on it through legislation.

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