Why brokers should defend Ricky Gervais

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Emmanuel KenningI've never found Ricky Gervais that funny. There I've said it.

On the 11 o'clock show he didn't over tickle me. And while The Office is good, I would argue, it is also hugely overrated. Will it still be being watched in 20 years on the future's version of UK Gold or Dave as Porridge* is now? I doubt it.

Indeed I prefer the word play of Ronnie Barker every time. I remember watching an interview where he explained an element of the comedy of language. Basically it is in the gaps.

To paraphrase his example:

Mother to son: "Go next door and check how old Mrs Miggins is."
Son: "She said it's none of your business."

Depending where you put the commas and balance your voice in the question you can find the joke yourself.

At Sunday's Golden Globe awards Ricky Gervais had a similar balancing act to perform when introducing the stars to the stage.

He had to work the room, reach out to engage the viewing audience and also capture the online audience of YouTube clips and other portals. To do so meant pushing the boundaries between nice and nasty, balancing between sycophancy and abuse.

Judging by the reaction of some of the American press, Mr Gervais' performance was not a success.

Tom Hanks and Tim Allen were reported as saying: "We recall when Ricky Gervais was a slightly chubby but very kind comedian. Neither of which he is now."

That strikes me as an honest opinion. But what annoys me most is those commentators who seem to forget the balancing act, or worse remember it and imply he should not have even tried.

The most curious response I read was in the Washington Post.

It wrote: "Are we at war with England? If not, then why have we been subjected to two years of Ricky Gervais hosting the Golden Globe Awards, witnessing a growing hostility between the British comedian and a resentful audience of celebs?"

Now, excuse my naivety, but why would being at war allow a country to provide the host of the Golden Globes? I don't recall reading about many German, Vietnamese of Iraqi presenters in years gone by.

And so to brokers. Why should you be interested?

Balancing is an act brokers have to do every day. On the one hand they have to consider longevity of a client's relationship with an insurer. On the other there is always the danger that not re-broking could lead to losing the client to the siren call of a competitor suggesting a lower premium elsewhere.

I know it's as tenuous a link as they come. And like Mr Gervais I don't apologise. It's time for brokers to man the barricades and defend his right to balance in public.

*And just in case you are interested my favourite Porridge episodes involve the phrases: "With my feet? From here?" and "Do everything by numbers do you?" Classic.

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