Deprived of 'anal joy'

Comic says HIGNFY took his joke

Stand-up Steve Day has complained after one of his jokes appeared on Have I Got News For You.

The comedian, who is deaf, was surprised when a comment from his act about TV subtitling errors appeared on the extended version of the topical show broadcast on Sunday night.

In a line Day has used in his Edinburgh show and in articles online, he says: ‘My favourite mistake was when Anne Widdecombe was on the news and said “let me give you an analogy”. The TV subtitle came up as “Let me Give You Anal Joy”.’

But on BBC Two’s Have I Got A Bit More News For You, host Jo Brand repeated almost the exact-same words in an item about how the BBC had been criticised for such errors.

She said: ‘My favourite was an Anne Widdecombe statement where she was talking about something being an analogy, and that coming up as “anal glory”.’

Day Tweeted: ‘Thanks to everyone pointing out that my “Anal Joy” gag was stolen by someone writing for #HIGNFY. Better retire it now.’

He told Chortle he was annoyed by the fact he probably couldn’t use the gag now it has aired on TV, since people would think he had stolen it.

Day said: ‘I can't use that joke any more, but I'm used to fighting an unequal battle. This just spurs me on to write ten jokes that are better. I can't use that one any more.

‘The worst thing is if audience members start shouting “heard it!” to me – that's just adding insult to injury.

‘I’ve written for TV and radio but never got near Have I Got News For You . And when I do, someone else gets paid…’

Jo Brand’s agent confirmed that the line was provided by the writing team, adding that she would ‘never, ever knowingly’ use another comedian’s material. The programme’s producers, Hat Trick, have yet to respond to a request for comment.

What does muddy the waters is that the mistranslation might not even be a joke, but a genuine incident. Day admits: ‘It was so long ago I can't remember whether or not I made it up, but I think it might have actually happened.’

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Published: 18 Oct 2011

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