‘Just imagine all the fnarr-fnarr of Alan Carr at a fraction of the cost,’ said the inventor. ‘Some unknown smiles at the camera and says “we’ve got a jam-packed evening for you” , and from behind him the machine blurts out “jam packed? I prefer fudge packed!” – cue audience rolling in aisles. But tht’s not all; if you want sharper jokes with a more intellectual approach to smut, why not choose the Stephen Fry mode.’
The new automated oo-er machine – from the same company that supplies canned anti-Tory jokes to the Rory Bremner Show – gives studio directors a way to tickle any audience at the touch of a button.
‘We used to keep the material unchanged and add laughter at post-production stage if the audience couldn’t be heard pissing in their seats,’ said an experienced producer. ‘But that was when British audiences were reserved, and couldn’t always be warmed up to a frenzy by a failed club comic waving a frankfurter. Nowadays we don’t even use the cue cards that read “shout Woo! Woo!!” to get them to whoop uncontrollably the first time someone famous says something remotely funny. This new piece of kit makes sure that will always happen.’
If successful, the machine could be extended into other areas of British broadcasting. ‘It would solve the problem of watching Newsnight without Paxman,’ said a spokesman. ‘Imagine Gavin Esler interviewing Alistair Campbell and failing to pin him down. The machine bellows “get to the point!” in Paxo’s voice at just the right moment. The best thing is, we control whether it gets aimed at Campbell or Esler.’