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The Vote: Can people in Liverpool laugh at themselves?

Steve Coogan says not. Still stinging from his famous bad night at the Arena, the Partridge man hits back

Published on December 15th 2008.

The Vote: Can people in Liverpool laugh at themselves?

The Results..

Yes: - 49%
No: - 51%

COMEDIAN Steve Coogan has this week hit out at his critics, describing Liverpudlians as "incapable of laughing at themselves", following the shaky start to his tour in October.

Readers will remember that Steve got a good drubbing during and after his appearance at the Kings Dock Arena, one of the first dates in his UK tour, and one of the first times he'd played live in 10 years.

People in the 10,000-seater venue heckled, people walked out, people wanted their £30 back. They said he wasn't funny. And there can be no bigger insult to a comedian.

Now Steve, it seems, is getting a bit of his own back at the very place often described as full of comedians.

“People in Britain – apart from Liverpudlians – can laugh at themselves,” observes the Alan Partridge creator.

Going on to call his newspaper critics “c***s, in a piece which appeared in Metro this week, Mr Coogan (who really did seem like a personable chap when we interviewed him back in October) has gone and spoiled it all by perhaps taking things a little too personally.

By way of explaining the widespread negative vibes that greeted his Arena show, he goes on: “Scousers hate Mancunians and the feeling’s mutual. All the northern cities that aren’t maudlin have enjoyed it.”

So there.

Maudlin? As in tearfully or weakly emotional; foolishly sentimental? Not

that old chestnut again?

Just when we were all on the verge of forgetting the whole sorry storm in a teacup, we now wonder: Did Steve really get a rough ride from a Liverpool audience because he's a Manc? Or was it because his show was crap? After all, Oasis brought the same house down, just nights later, and there's more of them.

But the big question is: Are we all tearful Mersey maudlin miseries and just can't face the truth of the matter? Or do we have a fabulous sense of humour and what the hell would Steve Coogan know about it anyway?

Go ahead. Vote away on the Homepage, and rise above it, even, by leaving your best jokes here.

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42 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

DigDecember 8th 2008.

I went to see Michael McIntyre in The Phil the same night Coogan (under)performed in The Arena. McIntyre brought the house down. Towards the end he even called the audience strangely shy (from what he'd previously heard about Scousers) and encouraged people to heckle. I don't think anybody heckled because of how funny he was. Nobody wanted him to stop him in his routine! As for Coogan being upset by us Scousers. If he'd have delivered a routine worthy of laughter, appreciation and attention he'd have got it, just like Michael McIntyre did.

orDecember 8th 2008.

to chuck it all in and buy a farm in Kent where he can play on quadbikes all day every day.

AlexDecember 8th 2008.

I don't know if we're able to laugh at ourselves or not, but we're definitely not able to laugh at a painfully unfunny pillock like him.It's a problem with comedians that can't handle peopel not laughing at them. I once attended the Comedy Store in Manchester and had to witness an act who was so embarrassingly poor that it made your skin crawl - he stormed off blaming us for the fact that he wasn't funny. Likewise, at the Comedy Club when it was in Baby Blue, the audience was blamed by the compere after we'd all lost interest when that Nige character wanted to start a fight with some bloke who got up from the front row to go to the loo.If you're not making the audience laugh, there's only one person to blame.

SCARAMANGADecember 8th 2008.

Considering the absolutely woeful reviews Coogan has got nationwide, it has nothing to do with Liverpool at all. He seems to be forgetting that his first stand up video/dvd that was released was filmed in the Neptune!!! I actually went to see him in Manchester recently as well as Liverpool and his show, if anything, has gotten worse. He's definately lost his sparkle - the whole show is just patchy at best and shows how off the pace he is. The Scousers/Mancs thing is just a cheap shot by Coogan which is very disappointing.

AnonymousDecember 8th 2008.

I've always thought Coogan was funny, and got tickets for the Kings Dock gig. Was actually looking forward to some ad lib Scouser / manc banter but the whole show was awful. A second half Alan Partridge play about Sir Thomas Moore and Henry XIII? That was the biggest joke of the night!

AnonymousDecember 8th 2008.

Anybody who believe that we can't laugh at ourselves should check out the facebook group 'Overheard in Liverpool' - it's absolutely priceless.That said, it's easier to be more defensive when you live in a city that is constantly the butt of jokes from people who've never visited the place.

WarrenDecember 8th 2008.

Lots of people have been laughing at me recently. For some reason.

DigDecember 8th 2008.

A few years back I used to work with a bunch of subcontracted Cockneys. The banter between the Scousers was always piss taking. The Cockneys would look shocked at some of the things we said to each other. No doubt waiting for some fisticuffs or the next verbal volley. They looked bemused every time it ended in laughter. They also got offended if we took the piss out of them. So to conclude, we can take the piss out of each other, other people can take the piss out of us. We just get bored when that piss take is some no mark thinking a tired old stereotype is still funny. Take the piss out of us by all means, but just keep it original.

London GeezerDecember 8th 2008.

Cockneys shocked? Or is Dig just 'taking the p*ss' (for the umpteenth time)?

that'smrbollockstoyouDecember 8th 2008.

I'm surprised Coogan has come up with that old arbitary chestnut about Scousers hating Mancs and vice versa. Our Kev has lived in Manchester for many years and not once has he had any grief for still being a proud, card carrying Liverpudlian. The hatred on his and my part is reserved for Man Ure, and not the city or its population least of all poor old Coochy Coogs who seems to be getting a little maudlin himself about his own sorry performance.

DigDecember 8th 2008.

I wasn't taking the piss. Just saying they looked shocked. They didn't seem to get the fact it was only banter. Maybe I'm wrong. But if you think it's the umpteenth time I've took the piss why haven't you been defending whatever or whoever I've took the piss out of? I don't think I've been taking the piss. Its just my sense of humour. Maybe you don't get that.

AnonymousDecember 8th 2008.

This Liverpool/Manchester thing is so tiresome. Can't you all think of the bigger picture. We're all on the same small island, after all.

DigDecember 8th 2008.

It's a bigger picture than just this Liverpool/Manchester thing and the small island we're on. It's a global issue but that's another story. I've worked in Manchester too and I found the Mancs and Scouse got on great apart from 1 or 2 small minded exceptions who took football rivalries too far. I had a great day/night out in Manchester on St.Georges day. When people heard my accent they wanted to talk about football and the cities, not confront, accuse or argue. Since that day I've been a fan of Joseph Holt brewed Crystal & Diamond. Does anybody know of any Liverpool pubs that serve Joseph Holt brews? Or are there any Manchester pubs that serve Cains? Be interesting to find out.

bluemoonDecember 8th 2008.

My husband went to see him at the appollo in Manchester and the show was a bit rubbish the Manchester evening news did a review which said more or less the same.

Beer tricks PotterDecember 8th 2008.

I think the Cains people were trying to get a foothold in Manchester before it all went horribly wrong. I have seen Joseph Holt as a guest beer in various places, including the Baltic Fleet in the past.

DigDecember 8th 2008.

Thank you. I was thinking The Baltic Fleet, Fly in The Loaf & and Thomas Rigbys would be the best bets. Not seen it in any of them so far although the only one I visit regularly is Thomas Rigbys. It doesn't show any Liverpool pubs as stockists on The Joseph Holt website.

HelsDecember 8th 2008.

a friend from Manchester took his two brothers to see it IN Manchester, said it was the worst thing ever, very disappointed - feel sorry for the bloke in a way but then don't take it out on us!

HelsDecember 8th 2008.

Ps i'm a liverpudlian living in manchester, and yeah people do take the piss but thats what northerners as a whole do - occasionally get someone who takes the footbal thing too far but mostly its affectionate - people need to get over themselves!

viva chris ronaldDecember 8th 2008.

I met Steve Coogan in Sankeys in Manchester once and he gave across a complete c**k!Im manc through and through but can appreciate that although we have the best football (post 80's im manc not stupid) and the best music comedy is a scouse master class and if a comic cant have a laugh with a scouser he's in the wrong game.Sorry Coogan, You're still a c**t ah ha!

Coogan's HuffDecember 8th 2008.

Let's not forget that Mr Coogan is a very funny and talented performer. He was clearly hurt by bad reviews and unable to look at it objectively. If you read all of the reviews to date the picture is the same. A very weak first half a stronger second half but still with too many weak bits in. His view that it was a good show and well received apart from in Maudlin Liverpool is not quite right. The reviews in other Northern Cities further towards Londinium were similarly poor or mixed. A couple of reviewers have seen both the early version of the show and the latest versions. They pointed out significant re-writes of material, a more polished performance and the sense that he does now know his lines. So if it had been fine from the beginning it wouldn't have needed this work would it Steve? So get over it and don’t alienate your fans.I admire Steve Coogan but would not consider going to see him do stand-up, which apart from excellent impersonations, never greatly impressed me in those early days with Tony Wilson on Granada. Nevertheless, he has given us a celebrated creation with Alan Partridge that ranks highly in British Character Comedy. Saxondale never worked for me mainly because of the false beard and wig, which looked like a false beard and wig. It made me constantly think why haven’t the other characters noticed the beard and wig and just seemed that it was all too self-conscious. I knew what he was going to say next. He has given some other good performances and I thought he was excellent as the counsellor with his descent into criminality in Curb your Enthusiasm. If we can laugh at ourselves, we can also laugh at those kind of silly jibes from somebody who got a bit over-sensitive and wounded by being told he hadn’t quite got it right yet for this show. After a long period of great and well deserved success, it was probably a shock to the system. So we can forgive that can’t we? Let’s face it if the maudlin scousers didn't like him, they wouldn't have gone to see him. Its nothing to do with Mancs and Scousers. But that doesn't mean we put up with what has been generally agreed to be a shaky under rehearsed mish-mash that marked the beginning of this tour and that the show is now much improved and a lot slicker according to more recent reviews. The silly sod.

DigDecember 8th 2008.

I think you are actually the real Steve Coogan speaking in the 3rd person, being objective and looking for forgiveness? No wonder you knew what he was going to say next in Saxondale! Can I have an audition if you do another series of Alan Partridge?

Coogan's BluffDecember 8th 2008.

yes i am looking for somebody to play the part of Dolly, a tired old transvestite hooker who thanks to gravity and age, no longer needs a false set of breasts and is now running a baked potato stand in Norwich. She/he simply can't resist showing all the customers her new fouund attributes. Sounds perfect for you. She is always trying to get her hands on Alan. Do you think you could pull it off?

DigDecember 8th 2008.

Of course. You're absolutely right. That part is perfect for me. Did you know I played Babs in The League of Gentlemen?

DigDecember 8th 2008.

C.Sharp has a point. A few points. Also I can see a bore from here. No prizes for guessing who.

Mirror ManDecember 8th 2008.

If that bothers you Dig, take the mirror down off the wall...

DigDecember 8th 2008.

Like I said, no prizes for guessing.

DigDecember 8th 2008.

Like on ManCon can we have a top 10 Liverpool songs vote? I'm sure C.Sharp would love that. Bring on the music bores. I know I can be one at times!

manc and proudDecember 8th 2008.

Its true. Scousers are only happy wen they can moan about how little the benfits they can swindle are these days. Never met a scouser who didnt love being seen as a thief, robber, druggie,and foul mouthed scum by the world. Liverpool is the self pity city full of whingers and ill educated losers living in the past.Want a real vibrant and lively city? Go to Manchester and see some decent, hardworking people, proud not to live off other mens charity and state benfits.

tiggerDecember 8th 2008.

coogan is right. Liverpool is a dead city living in the past. HOw long before the new shops are robbed blind, vandalised and set on fire? HOw long before needles and syringes are littering liverpool one?Why do these people even think they deserve the state handouts they fiddle every day?

AnonymousDecember 8th 2008.

Please dont rise to the manc 'scouse bating' which is precisly what they want us to do!

sniggerDecember 8th 2008.

oh the wonderful thing about tigger and tiggers a wonderful thing his head is made of rubber and his dick a piece of string. oh no i rose to his bating.oops

DigDecember 8th 2008.

I would like think it would take a little more intelligence, subtlety and wit to goad and bait the Scousers on here into a reaction. Qualities those 2 appear not to have in abundance.

Sayers StaffDecember 8th 2008.

Funny you should say that Dig, we have a bun dance every christmas.bring the guys from manchester with a couple of their tarts.

sniggerDecember 8th 2008.

ho ho ho. a bun dance eh!

Lord StreetDecember 8th 2008.

I love a good rumbaba!

Jock StrappDecember 8th 2008.

I like pasties as worn by burlesque dancers

DigDecember 8th 2008.

How do you make a sausage roll? Do you push it down a hill or am I being gullible?

embarrased scouseDecember 8th 2008.

I'm sorry to say that scousers have gone from being able to laugh at themselves to being defensive if anyone dares make a comment about this city!Anyone bold enough to attempt a bit of the old craic is likely to be stabbed or shot! Get real - liverpool capital of moaners!!

christmas maryDecember 8th 2008.

embarrased scouse? is that like blind scouse only with to much beetroot?calm down dear i doubt if you will get stabbed or shot just for attempting a bit of the old craic.no matter how daft you are, maybe you ment crack which of course quite likley to get you shot or stabbed.

Fife GoldringsDecember 8th 2008.

Nonsense! We liverpudlians have always 'cracked-on' to each other! Only the pretentious spell it "craic".

Turkey LurkeyDecember 8th 2008.

I do believe you might be nearly as funny as Les Dennis, Christmas Crack

DigDecember 8th 2008.

I dont think its pretentious to spell craic properly. If we all spelled as we wanted then jwnfikd ta iqleox tnickox nbiuik jb joxust5e. So there.

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