Charlie Brooker on Gadaffi

Charlie Brooker's commentary on Gadaffi's erratic atrocities -- and the western leaders who've kissed up to him over the years -- from last week's Ten O'Clock Live is some of the most nose-milk-spurting material ever aired. I wish that all of Ten O'Clock Live's clips were on YouTube, as it would be amazing blogfodder -- the show is better than The Daily Show most weeks, IMO (I've asked, C4 say their lawyers won't let them because there are clips of the BBC, Sky, etc, which is some pretty weird fair dealing analysis).

Ten O'Clock Live


  1. Yes, it’s too bad that the Bush administration sold him all those MIGs he’s trying to strafe the crowds with: and all to keep a few people employed in the Illinois MIG factories. Only the Russians have occasionally shown a bit of backbone by bombing him now and then and mounting the odd assassination attempt.

    Or was it the other way around?

    Anyway, you can’t expect too much from politicians whose jobs depend on never letting the price of oil go up. If the gallon of gas you burn to trot out and buy a gallon of milk costs more than the milk there’d be a swift change in government if not rioting in the streets. As they said at the Nuremburg trials: We were only following orders!

    1. What video were you watching where somebody claimed the Bush administration (or the USA in general) sold Libya weapons? Charlie Brooker is a UK guy on a UK TV channel, so when he says “our country has repeatedly sold arms to” him, he is referring to his country, the United Kingdom. We, the good ol’ US of A, have of course bombed and threatened him when it seemed like a good and/or popular thing to do. IIRC we warmed up to him a bit when he said he’d stop with the nuclear weapons etc., but I don’t think that made him (or us) any better.

      1. I think you missed Nadreck’s irony about Illinois MiG factories. It’s just that it’s so heartwarming to hear about a downfall of a dictator who *wasn’t* America’s servant for a change.

    2. The video made me youtube Charlie for an hour, such a good guy.

      Also, at the supermarket down the road 2L milk costs 2$. Petrol costs about $1.35/L.

      Not to hijack, just to say welcome to the future.

    3. #3: #6 has set you straight on the fact that Brooker’s talking about the UK selling him arms, but perhaps it would also interest you to know that milk IS more expensive than petrol here – more than double, in fact? Milk is about £0.55 per litre, petrol is roughly £1.29 per litre. But according to #8 you’re wrong about that even over there, too?

    4. My car doesn’t use up a gallon of gas to get to the nearest grocery store, but I live in Los Angeles and gas is more expensive than milk. I can get a gallon of milk for somewhere in the $2.75 range, depending on where I go, and gas prices have been going up this week and seem to be something like $3.70 a gallon now.

      1. “I can get a gallon of milk for somewhere in the $2.75 range, depending on where I go, and gas prices have been going up this week and seem to be something like $3.70 a gallon now.”

        I’m picturing myself learning to ride a cow everywhere, fun and economical.

        1. First you got to license the cow. Get plates for the cow. Cow warning sound (bell). Emissions would be a big issue.

    5. Aside from what others have said about it being a British show, I believe that the Libyan air force is equipped with Mirages*, not MiGs.

      Mirages are French.

      *The two air force colonels who defected to Malta after being ordered to bomb their on people were flying Mirages.

  2. “… halfway to bloody Narnia” is where I finally cracked and started laughing. Nice. I needed a chuckle.

  3. I guess the biggest problem with Ghadaffi was (since he’s out more or less) that he was once a liberator. The former regime was hated back in the day and his rise to power was seen as a blessing. Like most heroes he went more or less mad with power (the best and biggest thing with the Egyptian, Tunisian and Libyan uprisings is that there are no self styled leaders, no heroes).

    Personally when this reach the history books it will be seen as one of many horrible by products of the cold war.

    1. That article reads like imperial supremacism to me, I would say racism but no word actually seems racist.

      “Those African leaders always look after each other — for shame!” Wait, what?

  4. Yes Brooker is very funny, but let’s not encourage that TV show. It is Dreadful. My words after watching the first episode were, “fingers crossed that someone will put all Brooker’s parts on youtube.” If it weren’t live, and it didn’t have those three other people in it, it would be much improved. Imagine a British Daily Show with Brooker… the mind boggles.

    1. What?!

      David Mitchell’s interviews have been the most direct confrontations with politicians I’ve seen on TV yet (even the Daily Show is more tame than that most of the time).

      Jimmy Carr is OK, he seems to be in it for the outrageous jokes that gets them discussed in the news (I guess it was him or Franky Boyle?)

      Lauren Laverne gets better every week, in a year or two she might even be allowed to go beyond mediocre sketches and moderating…

      My only problem with the show is the “Live” part. There’s no reason for it: they mention the backchannels (twitter, facebook…) at the beginning but never use them. And (also because of the Live part) it seems to rigidly scripted to adapt to anything happening outside live anyway. Also the talk parts would be /much/ improved if they could cut together the highlights, like The Daily Show now does for the more interesting guests.

      1. The “Live” bit is the reason politicians are willing to turn up on the show. Politicians didn’t want to be on essentially a topical comedy show where their words can be twisted and edited to the producers delight.

        The opinions on the rest of the show are very similar to mine though.

        Charlie Brookers new BBC show “How TV ruined your life” is definitely worth a view. Its a shame he is normally stuck on the digital BBC channels.

  5. “..a series of short satirical films about capitalism.” Heh.

    osmo, as someone who was a teenager when Gaddafi came to power, I don’t remember him as ever being seen as a liberator by Libyans. Other people agree with me:
    Look up “Five-Point Address”, if you still don’t believe me.

    Fang Xianfu, Nadreck, et al: y’know, it’s really easy to look that stuff up. Y’see, there’s this thing called the Internet, and this other thing called Google, and..:
    My goodness what a variations in milk prices (!) but the lowest price seems to be Tesco’s 3.41L(?) at 51p/L or US$3.11/gal:

    Petrol, unleaded, avg 129p/L or US$7.86/gal:

    Always knew that milk was way cheaper in the UK, ‘cuz it’s subsidized and petrol is taxed. Unlike what the deal is in the ‘States, where milk is subsidized, but gasoline is way more subsidized.
    (Remember to include about 75% of the military budget in the calculations used in your rebuttals, eh.)

  6. #3: It takes you a gallon of petrol to go and buy a gallon of milk? what the fuck kind of gas guzzler do you drive? or do you live miles and miles from the nearest shop?

  7. My main issue with the show is the simplistic manner with which they treat the viewer. For the domestic stories they seem to have hit on the formula of blaming ‘the politicians’ or ‘the bankers’ for just about everything, and (with the occasional exception from David Mitchell) pretend that there’s only one side to the argument, one level of depth to the discussion. I know they’re not politicians and their job is to make me laugh, but after 5 or so episodes I do wish they’d offer at least one solution to a problem rather than shooting it down with another smug witticism.

    But Charlie Brooker can keep ranting :)

  8. “And now I leave you with a series of short satirical films about capitalism”

    (roll commercials)

    Thought I’d point that out as I missed it the first time :¬)

  9. nadreck
    While we may be jackasses in the US I’m pretty sure that we don’t make MIGs in the mid-west we leave that to the Russians to make THEIR OWN plane’s in Russia.

  10. The best bit on this week’s episode was David Mitchell using his Peep Show character voice to sound the supposed inner thoughts of David Milliband in Afghanistan, I wonder how that worked legally, did they need to pay royalties to whoever “owned” the character?

    They say they do it live because that way the politicians/interview subjects agree to come to their show, knowing that the show can’t do an Mr. Falafel O’Blowhard-style editing to twist their words. And just last week the biggest twat in the world (that Telegraph “journalist”) shot himself in the foot during one such discussion.

  11. All ad breaks should be introduced as ‘a series of short satirical films about capitalism’.

    The trouble with this show, is the audience. I think they’re given free booze before the show. There’s no reason to keep cutting to shots of them either. Also.. the set – it’s mental.

    Laverne will eventually find a role for herself in the show. Apart from the Alistair Darling interview, David Mitchell is excellent. This was probably Brooker’s best so far.

    I’d like to see less Carr/Laverne sketches and give the time to Mitchell for his roundtable discussions or interviews on some weeks and perhaps Tim Minchin guest (topical) performances on other weeks.

  12. Gadaffi is proven to be among the worst of murderous leaders, but do I remember correctly that Reagan bombed his personal residence and killed some of his children?

    1. Supposedly the raid killed his adoptive daughter, Hana, but there is no objective evidence that Hana actually existed (reports on her supposed age at death vary widely). Much like with the Kims of North Korea, objective evidence is not really considered obligatory in Qaddafi’s regime.

      1. Mr. Badger
        hmm, I read the wikipedia entry after posting and found the same info you posted.
        I was hoping someone would do the work for me and present a comprehensive evaluation of what happened. With evidence on both sides.
        Did the US bomb his residence or not? seems irrelevant to me if they were successful in killing his family or not?
        I could understand Reagan’s ‘show of strength’ if he had absolute evidence that Qaddafi had made personal threats against him. But if the action was based on hearsay then it sets a dangerous precedent.

  13. Gadaffi is another murderous leader in a long line or murderous leaders, including Bush, Blair, Reagan, Johnson (remember Vietnam?), Netanyahu, Mugabe, Musharraf, etc.

    The good thing you could say about Gadaffi is that he came to power in a revolution against another murderous leader and then carried out many of the goals of the revolution: free education and health care, economic independence of Libya, redistribution of wealth, etc. Whereas, all those other leaders eroded the education, health-care, economic independence of their countries and consolidated the wealth. (ok, Netanyahu hasn’t eroded the education opportunities and health benefits of Israelis)

    What happens with all these revolutionary leaders? They go from idealists and whipping boys of the West to another chain in the circle-jerk of evil politicians.

    Loved the fashion expose of Gadaffi over the years! Tres chere!

  14. That was entertaining, but not nearly as informative as Daily Show. Basically he stated that Gaddafi was a horrible man that Tony Blair shouldn’t have talked to, then showed him wearing a bunch of funny clothes. There was no more elaboration on what he actually did other than his recent atrocities. Anyone unfamiliar with Gaddafi would have learned nothing except his fashion style and peculiarities, and would have to just accept on face value that his current actions, plus his wild fashion sense, meant that Blair should be damned for meeting with him. So really, less informative, less insightful, and much more propagandizing, than the Daily Show.

  15. “I wish that all of Ten O’Clock Live’s clips were on YouTube”

    You’re not looking in the right places.

    I have to say there was a lot of heated debate about the format of this programme but the past couple have managed to get the balance more or less right.

  16. Excellent monologue- better then Stewart on an average day.

    Something vaguely interesting: when I saw the opening frame of the video, having never heard of Ten O’Clock Live or Charlie Brooker, I instantly knew he was British. Somehow, it’s never occurred to me until now how easy it is to tell whether someone is British from appearance alone. Even the audience behind him is just clearly, unmistakably from the UK.

    Could it be that British people have slightly different body language from people in the US?

  17. Hey thanks for this. I’d never heard of the show before but now I’d like to start watching it. As you say it’s a shame it isn’t up on Youtube, but luckily there are other less official sources where one can get around all those pesky fair use issues just fine.

    1. It is up on youtube – you’re just not using the right search terms to find whole episodes.

      I don’t want to be too explicit here as I’d rather not have the content taken down

  18. Full episodes of 10 O’Clock Live are on YouTube, hosted (if that’s the right word) by Channel 4 themselves (this is in parallel to their own on-demand service at However, 10 O’Clock Live is time-limited so they only go back to episode 3 at the moment. I suppose there may be geographic limitations also.

    Here’s a direct link to all currently available episodes:

  19. “This video contains content from Channel 4, who has blocked it in your country on copyright grounds.
    Sorry about that.”

    Not for consumption outside the UK I’m afraid. There are alternatives – do a search for “10 o’clock live” but follow the links back to the poster of the video. Sorry for the cryptic hints but posting more explicit directions on BB is likely to attract the wrong kind of attention.

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