Hecklerspray vs The Law of the Playground

I just did an interview with Hecklerspray about The Law of the Playground. It was an email interview, so I got a chance to be semi-coherent, and didn’t go “ha ha, yes” when they said something I didn’t understand. In case you fancy reading what they asked and I replied, here are the questions they asked and how I replied.
Incidentally, did you know that Justin Lee-Collins has been confirmed to present the Golden Joystick Awards? I bet everyone in the world ten quid that he says “PAC MAN, WHAT WAS THAT ALL ABOUT, THEN?” before doing that “taking pills in dark rooms” joke. Ten pounds to everyone. That’s sixty billion pounds you lot’ll owe me, assuming everyone in the world reads this blog.
Tell everyone why they should watch Law Of The Playground, in the form of a poem.
LotP is important to watch,
If you’re one of those God-fearing chaps.
If their awful behaviour
Doesn’t prove there’s no saviour
Then I’ll take three million raps
What was your favourite ever entry in the Law Of The Playground?
Someone from the Telegraph asked me that, last week. I ended up saying “Space Invaders” because I’d talked about it in the pub last night. That’s what you get from phone interviews, panicked people saying shit things when the silence gets too much to bear. My favourite stories on the site aren’t stuff like Space Invaders, it’s the stories like Train Man – a guy who was obsessed with trains, to the point of gathering discarded furniture, putting it on the train line, then sitting in it until the train got really close. There was also Chisel Man, a guy who attacked everyone in the classroom – without cause or discrimination – with a chisel. I think I just like stories about that fine line between childish creativity and severe mental illness.
How much did you have to do with the Law Of The Playground TV show, or did you just sit at the back counting all your money?
The commissioning process for LotP was strange. We originally pitched it as a Comedy Lab – the place for edgy, innovative comedy. Based on the book, our original idea was to have it more scripted, more startling “comedy”. You know that thing where you say “If there was a gay on your back, would you let him stay or pull him off?” And if you say “I’d pull him off”, everyone laughs at you and reports you to the police for being gay. I wanted one sketch to have a field full of children with gays on their backs, because they were too scared to pull him off.
Somewhere in the commissioning process, it transformed into a celebrity talking heads show, so I was less needed in terms of making the programme. So aside from a few meetings, I’ve largely sat back and wallowed in the infinite reservoir of cash that the book and TV show have generated. In actual fact, I’ve spent all the money and haven’t even kept enough for the tax bill, so finger’s fucking crossed for a second series, eh.
Didn’t you invent throwing sausages at David Blaine?
Almost. My friend Neil at Idiotica came up with the idea in a throwaway text. I just wrote a letter to the Metro, and posted it on a website I was using at the time, and inadvertently roused dozens of gay men into militant anti-Blaine action. The full story has gone misty now, but I remember two weeks of my life when I was getting phoned up by radio stations, saying “why are you throwing sausages at David Blaine?”, and we were warned by the Metropolitan Police that we were technically inciting a riot. It was a great time; I wish every week was swamped with terror, sausages, and a stupid cunt in a perspex box.
By the time the day came, we’d toned it down to avoid arrest. After the other attacks on his box, and the warnings from the police, it developed into “drifting pepperami past David Blaine on helium balloons”. The Blaine goons were on high alert for trouble, and we wanted to make our… protest?… as absurdly harmless as possible.
Much of the Law Of The Playground TV show is made up of celebrity talking heads. Who was the crappest famous person on the show?
I haven’t seen the whole series yet, only the first four episodes. But of that lot, David Mitchell (Peep Show) stood out as outstandingly likeable and naturally funny. I realise that isn’t the question you asked, but I was trying to say something nice, first. The one outstandingly baffling moment for me was seeing Justin Lee-Collins indulging himself in a rant about “why did we have to put our chairs on the tables at the end of the day? What was that all about then?”
Justin, even as five year olds, everyone knew it was for the cleaners. If there was a system of punishment for crimes against observational comedy, Justin Lee-Collins really needs a couple of months in solitary confinement for that one.
Still, at least Jimmy Carr‘s not in it.
How the heck are you planning on following up Law Of The Playground? We’d imagine the pressure to come up with an equally successful sequel is all but driving you insane.
Pressure? Nah, you have to have ambition to be subjected to pressure. I’m not driven to write for profit, I’m quite happy with my blog, working for PC Zone, and the odd freelance scripting work. I’m terrible at doing things with a view to making a profit, I just like the gentle, unfussy life. Things tend to happen as a result of things I don’t do for profit, (work at Zeppotron came through sending stuff into TV Go Home for free, and my job at Zone came through them reading my blog*) so I’m almost convinced there’s some undeveloped hippy philosophy at work in my life. Do what you enjoy, and you’ll earn just enough not to find yourself sucking wine out of a tramp’s hair.
As for another TV series, I set up The Law of the Playground in 1999, so I suppose I’m due another TV show for 2013. By which time the ice caps’ll have melted, so I probably won’t bother. That’s not to say I haven’t got ideas, I’m just trolloping along at my own pace.
*Also because my mate Matt recommended me, I should add. Because he’ll probably read this. Hi, Matt. He also did the “Wii wands” joke below. He’s lovely, is Matt. Still there? Excellent.
Years ago, you all but paved the way for it to become acceptable to laugh at people with Tourettes, thanks to your groundbreaking critique of John’s Not Mad. Now Pete’s on Big Brother, exactly how big/clever do you feel?
You’re giving me too much credit, there. QED paved the way to make it acceptable to laugh at Tourette’s, by choosing to show only the funny, sweary kind of Tourette’s. Of course John yelped and spat as well, but the focus was very much on the swearing. All I did was list all the swear words in a scene-by-scene guide.
Tourette’s isn’t funny, most of the time. Physical tics, grunts and what-have-you don’t really make me laugh. What did make me laugh was what John did – call his mum a slut, gob on a cake, and walk around a supermarket saying “Fucking Nescafé”. This would be funny even without Tourette’s, wouldn’t it?
Did you watch the follow-up to that show? It was on last year, I think. They intercut footage of John as an adult with a child with very different symptoms. He’d scream in lessons, a terrible shrill scream. And it wasn’t funny, it was distressing. The programme makers were getting their own back on us for laughing at the original, I reckon. And it worked.
For the record, I’d love to meet John and Pete. John, because he’s a funny bloke who deals with his condition brilliantly. Pete, mainly because of the ten inch cock.
Aren’t you writing about computer games or something now? That means you must have an opinion on the Nintendo Wii.
My favourite jokes so far have been “Will the Wii have streaming content?” and on CVG, where they said something about getting your hands on your Wii wands. If you really want my opinion on the console, I can’t wait. I’ve gone from a Nintendo ignoramus at the time of SNES and N64 into an underinformed, wannabe fanboy. I heart my DS Lite like nobody’s business. I reckon, with a 360 and a Wii, I’ll be happy. Sony can do a handstand and shit into their mouth with the PS3. £410, my greasy tits. Piss off with your Blu-Ray, you cynical wallet-raping whores.
Can you just come up with some kind of vaguely non-libellous anecdote to fill some space?
I nearly got run over by Superman a couple of weeks ago. I was walking down Monmouth Street with my other half, and this car started mounting the kerb right next to us. We had to dodge out of the way, and then this shouty wanker jumped out and started screaming at us, and an assembled group of six people, to GET AWAY FROM THE CAR, DON’T TOUCH THE CAR. Excuse me, madam, I thought in a camp voice, it’s a bit rich telling us to step away from the car you just drove into our fucking legs. Then we saw Superman run from the car into the hotel, without even acknowledging anyone.
I read some interviews with Brandon Routh about how he just wants to make his journey through the world a nice one, or some stereotypically meaningless hippy bullshit like that. Well, Routh, let me just suggest to you that a nice journey doesn’t involve driving into a crowd of your fans, and refusing to sign half a dozen books because you’ve had a hard day being pampered by the world media. You lousy fucking moron.

Was that thing about chillis making your balls hurt before you did a shit true?

Yes. I never really lie, unless I’m going on a flight of fancy. I didn’t make up the story about pissing on the train, and my nuts sincerely ache when I’ve got chilli in my shit. It took me a while to link the two events, but I’ve scientifically tested it out with chilli-eating and ball-checking experiments, and there’s definitely a correlation. The worst for it is jalapenos on pizzas – not because they’re the hottest chilli, more because I’m such a greedy bastard I barely chew when I’m eating pizza. So I’ve got, virtually, whole chillies poking out of the sides of the faecal matter, like some kind of dirty bomb. And as it makes its way to the toilet bowl, I can only imagine it takes a route that goes past my nuts or something. I’m not a doctor.

14 thoughts on “Hecklerspray vs The Law of the Playground”

  1. Wonderful interview. I don’t know who Log is, nor do I know what this ‘Law of The Playground’ thing is all about, nor have I ever seen a playground. But they are some of the best questions I think I have ever read.

  2. I caught the program on friday night. It wasn’t bad.
    Except that I’d just come round to liking Justin Lee Collins, and he ruined it all, and now I want to stab him again.

  3. think what it must be like to be him though. just run through a day in the life of justin lee collins in your head and you’ll soon start to feel sorry for him. i did once and felt sad and had to go home. imagine only being able to enjoy life ironically, it’d be hell. i bet he cries himself to sleep every night clutching his a-team dolls and listening to a whitesnake album (neither of which he actually liked the first time round but pretends to now in lieu of a real personality).
    he’s still a proper cunt mind.


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