Disgusting Bliss: The Brass Eye of Chris Morris

Chris Morris, in case you hadn’t heard of him, is the comedian and satirist probably best known for The Day Today (which mocked the self-important and overbearing approach of current affairs TV) and Brass Eye (which took a swipe at moral panics and the willingness of celebrities to jump on ever more ludicrous bandwagons).

Disgusting Bliss not only follows Morris from his formative years to his rise to national prominence but also the team of writers and comedians — including Armando Iannuci, Steve Coogan, and many others — as they came together to make On The Hour (the radio forerunner of The Day Today). This makes for a fascinating read often veers away from being a straightforward biography of Morris to become more of an overview of the pool of people whose careers were launched by these programmes and who went on to enjoy a huge level of success in their own right.

If the state of British comedy in the early 1990s is interesting to you, then this book really is worth a read.

It is also the funniest biography I have read. Much of this comes from the author’s revisiting of the radio and TV programmes that Morris has been involved in and reminding you of just how brilliant they were and how memorable were some of the lines. The only downside is that this can be quite a difficult book to read on the train, unless you don’t mind the looks you get when you suddenly laugh out loud.

As far as Morris himself is concerned, what comes across is a picture of someone who is generous, fiercely intelligent and obsessively professional. He’s someone who, on seeing nonsense being spouted, feels the need to point at it and shout loudly until everyone is fully aware just how nonsensical are the claims we are expected to accept.

Nonsense deserves to be exposed, and Morris does it brilliantly.