Tuesday, 14 July 2020

Stout Life Revisited, 40 Years On

It is often the case that yesterday’s satire becomes today’s reality. One shining and somewhat topical example, all about pressure groups and oppressed minorities, can be found in the classic “Stout Life” sketch from the genius team who brought us Not The Nine O’Clock News. The chat show host Janny Shtrait-Pawuh [Pamela Stephenson] is hosting a studio discussion panel comprising Stout Community representative George Fletcher [Mel Smith] and the Reverend John “Tubbs” Whiston [Griff Rhys-Jones], a Stout Christian.

The debate before the studio audience is proceeding in civilised fashion, George having advised an audience member with “a friend who thinks he might be stout” to squeeze out of the closet and declare his stoutness. Suddenly, a man in an oversize suit [Rowan Atkinson] stands up and loudly interrupts.

“This is all crap! We’ve been sitting here listening to all this utter rubbish…”

(Muttered aside: “Oh no, it’s Ron Miller.” Ranting continues…)

George: “Introduce yourself, Ron, this is Ron Miller of the extremist group FLAB, Fat Louts Against Bikinis.”

Ron: “Shut up. Listen. Look at this Slimming magazine. Slimming magazine! This isn’t a million miles from what Adolf Hitler was trying to do. We demand a fat Prime Minister, more obesity in the media, the banning of the word ‘ample’. We want the force feeding of skinnies!"

George: “Ron, you’re doing the movement more harm than good.  Now sit down!”

Ron: “Where was the Reverend Whiston at Notting Hill Gate in ’79 during the worst FLAB riots this country has ever seen?” (Vicar mutters in embarrassment.) “Organising plump discos, I expect.”

George: “Ron, I’m sorry, I’m sorry to be personal, but I mean, you’re talking about stoutism, but you’re not stout, you’re not even overweight…"

Ron, indignantly: “Oh…”

George: “…in fact you’re skinny!”

Ron: “So you have to be fat to be stout, now, do you?”

(George and John confer, before concerted retaliation…)

“Thin poof!”

Ron: “I don’t have to take that from you, you great wobblebottom!”

(Shouting match breaks out all round…)

It would perhaps be circumspect, in the present environment, to refrain from further comment and let this sketch speak for itself.

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