In their TV sketch show, ‘That Mitchell and Webb Look’, they go elegantly meta by shooting a scene of the pair having a ‘private chat’, only to reveal that the chat is scripted, word for word. It is only about a minute long, and whatever I write cannot do it justice. There must have been considerable mental juggling in writing that scene as it is a case of writing the scene about the scene that is being written. Like mental bubblegum for those who wrote it, the flavour it produces in the mind would be far more potent than the observer seeing the chewed result. Doing meta, then, is different to seeing meta as it takes creativity and imagination to come up with.
Here it is…
Robert Webb – Do you think people will like these private moments where we’re just being ourselves?
David Mitchell – This isn’t private, there’s a camera there.
Robert Webb – Well, no, but still it is more, you know, the kind of stuff where The sort of bits where.
BOTH – we’re just you know chatting and kind of I don’t know how to put it but, you know.
David Mitchell – This is all scripted.
Robert Webb – What?
David Mitchell – This is as made up as the rest of it. This isn’t improvised, look.
Robert Webb – Bloody hell. It says I say “bloody hell” here.
David Mitchell – Yeah, I know, that’s my cue.
Robert Webb – “David: Yeah, I know. That’s my cue.
David Mitchell – “Yeah.” Robert, reading, ‘David: Yeah, I know. That’s my cue.”
Robert Webb – Just put that away.
David Mitchell – Says I don’t.
Robert Webb – But what happens next?
David Mitchell – It says “Cut to a close-up of the script”, “It reads cut to a close-up of the script. “It reads cut to a close-up of the script.” “It reads cut to a close-up of the script.” It goes on forever.
Robert Webb – Shit!
David Mitchell – Yeah. You say “Shit”, that’s the penultimate line.