Video and Podcast coming to Lee Kern Substack!

Jul 13, 2022

Hey! The kind people at Substack have enabled video on my account. Soon I’ll be posting some video podcasts with superb guests. I’ll also upload audio files if you don’t want to look at our faces and prefer to just listen whilst pottering around or sitting on the train.

I can now also share with you some funny things from my archives. To set the ball rolling there’s a two minute video above that you can watch.

In 2012 I had a show on Channel 4 called Celebrity Bedlam. I’ve never wanted to do prank TV, (and thank G-d I’m not anymore), but it was a paid creative opportunity I managed to generate so I took it.

This is the “Badger Culling” prank. I believe the person pranked is an actress from Brookside. All the lines are ad-libbed except for the cue-line I drop in order to initiate the action.

Often in prank shows the production will book several guests so that they have a few chances of a successful hit. We only had one shot however and this was pretty much the case for the entire series. (There was only one hit that failed. I know that if we’d had a second chance we could have made it work as it became obvious what the flaw was. The prank in question was someone having their legs eaten off by some pedicure fish in a pet shop that was doubling up as a spa resort. This required an actor with an amputated leg to wear a false leg in a fish tank and for a pump to generate bubbles and fake blood when some "piranhas” were put in by accident and ate their leg).

With regard to this badger prank, I remember there being a debate with the make up artist because they didn’t think people would believe the war paint, but the first prank we did in this series was to convince some people that we’d cloned them, (and then introduced them to their clones), so I felt confident there is a way to make people believe anything, (such is the folly and weakness of man).

The badger itself was acquired from a person who collects roadkill and taxidermises it. Whilst trying to choregraph the prank before the guest’s arrival I had to handle the badger. Later I was eating something and didn’t understand why it was so salty. Then I realised it’s because the badger had been salted and that I was getting roadkill badger salt in my mouth.

Anyway, it’s a clownish visual prank elevated by some silly verbal lines and some good reactions. Dare I say it, I’m really proud of my choices of music in this series. So often it was obvious to me what a sequence should be edited to, which would steer and guide the comedy into a particular tonal universe that was absurd in it’s emotional surge. The music used at the end of this sequence is a fantastic composition by Ennio Morricone from The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. It’s called The Story of a Soldier.

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