My least favourite moments of As It Happens are Jeff Douglas’ ruinous attempts to deliver a pun, or heavens forbid, an entire joke. Jeff is not funny. He is sadly not even so deficient in humour that his attempts at it generate the odd laugh. No, Jeff is a humourous void. A dark place that strips any mirth or jocularity from every possible utterance turning the merest joke into a horrible verbal train wreck. I can’t tell if it is his delivery or if perhaps Jeff isn’t truly human and is a vessel for dark eldritch forms from beyond this world. Whatever the reason, he shouldn’t be allowed to tell a joke in public. Or perhaps even in private.
I have not written to mention this in the past because I actually like Jeff’s speaking style and interviewing. The moments of teeth-gnashing discomfort that often accompany the beginning and ends of the show when Jeff attempts to deliver, what in other hands would be, a groaner of a pun or clever turn of phrase are, many times, reconciled by his calm and measured delivery of headlines and news. If it means that, across Canada, one or two listeners daily are sent into gastric distress or mad hallucinations by Jeff’s unique style of “humour” then that is the price we must all bear. Or at least I thought so.
Today though was different. After talking about the announcement of a Monty Python reunion Jeff attempted to riff on the Argument Sketch that had just been recently played on your show. It is distressing enough to listen to Jeff punish and torture the material that the CBC staff writes for him but I have to draw the line at Jeff taking the warm recollections of a wonderful Monty Python sketch and turning it into something horrible and deeply wrong.
In the immortal words of Delbert Onglow, “Please make it stop”.