As a comedian and panellist on shows such as Would I Like To You? and 8 Out Of 10 Cats, James Acaster is no stranger to a roasting or some heckling, yet there’s one subject matter that always gets a bad reaction from any audience when he talks about it: Simon Cowell.
Speaking on White Wine Question Time, Acaster told Kate Thornton that whenever he does jokes about the TV judge, he always gets a bad response.
“People hate it when you slag off Simon Cowell,” he revealed. “Every gig I've had where anything that he's been associated with has come up and I've gone off on a rant about it, it never gets the reaction that I thought.”
“I think everyone's going to be on board and agree with me and everyone's always like, 'Leave those shows alone. Those shows are the best shows in the world. You shut up and don't slag those shows off. That's what makes us British.’”
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It’s not just the shows that the Mock The Week star hates, it’s Cowell himself, who he blames for creating a bullying culture in the UK.
“I have a theory that the whole reason we're in the mess we're in right now as a country is because people like him have normalised being an absolute ****!” the comedian exclaimed.
“Before he was on TV, we thought people like him were bullies and nasty – and then he got on TV and everyone started loving it. First of all, they loved it because he was like mean, so it's like, 'He's the guy you love to hate'.
“Then over the years they were like, 'Well actually I want to be like Simon Cowell'. And now we're just all a bunch of horrible bullies in this country - it's because of Simon Cowell. I hate him!”
Podcast host, Thornton, who also used to present The X Factor, said she believes his success was down to him saying what the rest of us were actually thinking.
She told Acaster: “I think in the early days, people were shocked by his honesty but also there was that chime of like, ‘But I was thinking that myself’. I think that underpinned his success, because I think he said what a lot of people were thinking, but were too polite to say.”
Ed Gamble, Acaster’s fellow guest on White Wine Question Time, said that he still couldn’t understand why people think being nasty to someone’s face is a good thing.
“That was the thing that took over as well… Everyone on reality shows saying 'The thing about me is that I just say what I think. I'll just say it to your face' as if that was a good quality to have,” he said.
“It's really not. That's not a good quality. If you've got something to say that you know will upset someone, just don't say it.”
Acaster, who says he thinks Cowell is a “bad man”, believes that this brutal honesty actually comes from a darker place for Cowell and those like him.
“The whole being honest to people... It's just because you hate yourself so much and you're worried that everyone's going to slag you off, so you get there first,” he stated.
“That's why everyone in Britain hates themselves but is slagging each other off constantly. Horrible, horrible culture.”
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