The recent interview between the very talented comedian Richard Ayoade and Krishnan Guru-Murthy on Channel 4 News last week - the same day that the disgraced Olympic South African athlete Oscar Pistorius was sent to jail for five years - has left me thinking about the relationship between interviewer and interviewee.
The reason for the interview was that Richard rarely gives interviews so he had decided to write a new book in which he interviews himself. As Krishnan said in his introduction, ...so let the real Richard Ayoade stand up. But the comedian repeatedly refused the promote his book on air and we learnt little about it.
Instead Richard, plucking at his hair and being extremely funny throughout that I nearly fell off the sofa, decided to ask a few of his own questions. At which point, Krishnan had to remind Richard who was being interviewed and who was doing the questioning. Even funnier was when it was time to end and move onto the next item, Richard said to Krishnan: "Don't thank me; I've done nothing for you."
As a viewer, I didn't get the feeling that Krishnan was feeling either flustered, tongue-tied or even embarrassed, but just that I think he didn't know how to get it all off the ground. At one point, he even asks Richard to "help" him.
It was a live interview, which made it even more worthy of watching and afterwards, Krishnan wrote a 10 point memo to anyone interested about the interview on his blog. It was no doubt a difficult interview and I think Krishnan handled it with adeptness and delight. Those media types who criticized it afterwards need to think again.
Perhaps we have to think that Richard didn't want to be there in the first please. "I don't dislike interviews," he said at one point, "it's a bit more like commuting. I accept it as a part of this, but no one, you know, loves it."
Richard is half Nigerian, half Norwegian and he was asked whether he felt he was a role model for other Norwegians, to which he responded: "I do, and I feel that Norway as a nation looks to me and my activities, in many ways to marshal any kind of policies they can drum up, and have been doing so for a while." He even added for good measure that this year, the Norwegian government would be sending their Christmas tree to him, rather than to Trafalgar Square.
Krishnan insists the media critics won't bring him down and says rather than being outwitted by the IT star, they were just having a laugh. It certainly seemed so to me from my comfortable sofa.
"Interviewing famous people about their latest project is a bit like commuting for me too," responds Krishnan. "Nobody enjoys it. It is just a mostly inescapable part of getting an interview with an artist or celebrity."
But whatever the interview did or didn't achieve, it has made people sit up and take notice of them both. In my book, whatever their relationship, it was good viewing and fun watching. As one viewer quipped afterwards, it was almost as though Krishnan was trying to ask Richard out on a date.Suggest a correction