Right, we can’t believe we’ve not mentioned we’re members of the Church of Wittertainment yet! “What is it all about, you guys?!” – it’s the outright berserk cult formulated by the BBC’s highly acclaimed Radio 5 Live film review show, headed by Dr. Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo.
It’s garnered an unbelievably loyal following, primarily due to the two hosts getting on like a shed on fire and dragging the listeners along with them. Oh, and Mark Kermode is arguably the UK’s most astute and knowledgeable film critic (which is useful). Onwards, then, to find out more about this gloriousness and to learn how to join the Church!
Wassup with the Church of Wittertainment?
Kermode and Mayo’s Film Review Show is the BBC’s flagship film review show (duh!). It’s been running for years now (at least more than five and probably even 15, but less than 50) and has been a huge hit thanks to its informal merriness, in-jokes, Kermodian rants, and insightful film stuff (more on this stuff a tad below, sir or madam).
The presenters are the quintessential odd couple. Kermode is the obsessive, pedantic film fan with manic levels of enthusiasm and knowledge, and Mayo is the relaxed dude who loves his films but also has other stuff to be doing besides worshipping them in obsessive detail (such as playing hit pop songs on other radio channels).
This means the two have a habit of bickering rather adorably at times, which is all part of the fun. The show and its colossal following are merged together with a heady mix of social media and email reading for a tuly interactive, modern, contemporary, belligerent, and hoo-hah experience. It is as if one is part of the show, which is why one becomes part of the Church of Wittertainment. Indeed. We’ve been members since 2009. Rejoice!
Stuff to Listen Out For
Oh my, where does one begin? The show is a multilayered tapestry of stuff, things, and flappy hands. Approach from a distance, cautiously at first; if you’re easily frightened by loud squawking noises and youth slang then fear not, this is merely Dr. Kermode and Mr. Mayo waxing lyrical. What else should you know about before taking the plunge?
A big highlight throughout the year is when Dr. Kermode heads off on one of his legendary rants (Kermodian Rant: A film Mark Kermode particularly detests, forcing him into a verbose diatribe). We highlight the above clip as arguably the finest example, a particularly brutal verbal assault on Sex and the City 2.
Don’t be scared of the Kermodian Rant. Embrace it like you would a tub of enormous popcorn slavered in obesity inducing butter. Yum yum yum.
Despite their fame and notoriety, the rants are reasonably scarce. How does one tell when a rant has occurred? Usually as the film review stretches out to around 10 minutes, with Dr. Kermode seemingly oblivious he’s on the radio as he pours disgust and vitriol on a particularly offensive media text. Truly, it is a marvel to behold.
There are many, many in-jokes which you’ll pick up on pretty quickly (especially if you hit the Kermode and Mayo podcasts with a vengeance). These range from youth slang to greeting a certain actor on-air arbitrarily.
These in-jokes are merely another fantastic way to brainwash listeners into joining the Church. You can also drop them into polite conversation on or offline to see whom amongst you is a fellow Wittertainee.
The Code of Conduct
Most important, this thing. It’s the established Code of Conduct for when you’re in a cinema theatre venue majigger. The code can effectively be summarised as follows: behave yourself.
More pedantically, it involves avoiding such behaviours as: talking during a film, stuffing crisps into your stupid face, using your mobile like some reprobate, and taking your shoes off. You’ve been warned – cut it out!
Youth Slang & Pop Culture References
Everyone’s favourite laid back DJ, Simon Mayo, is down with today’s youth. It’s good to know, as we’re certainly not. This is where, as a Wittertainee, you’re treated to another element of the whole didactic Wittertainment experience. Here are but a few of the terms you’ll grow to understand:
- Totes amazeballs
- Shut it!
- Mega, mega, white thing
- Lager, lager, lager
There are others but we’re not going to pretend we understand, so it’s just as well Mr. Mayo does.
Erm… what, now? Oh yeah, this is also a film obsessive’s heaven this whole Wittertainment stuff. Seriously, you’ll get colossal insights into the happening films of now and back in the olden days, usually supplied by Mr. Kermode and his mammoth memory.
Mr. Mayo likes films too, of course, particularly if Antonio Salieri’s in them. He’s bloody good at interviews, too! So good he made Naomi Watts storm out of one in a bit of a huff. Whoopsie!
This blonde actress was brilliant in Diana and, wouldn’t you believe it, Simon Mayo and she get on like a particularly belligerent bear with a difficult to open jar of honey. They now share a remarkable bromance on Twitter (allegedly).
You, the listener, play an integral part in the listening experience. Which is apt. If you want to express your opinion, do feel to write in with an expletive-laden, spoiler-ridden, and perceptive rant. It may even get read out on air!
Of course, why not download the Wittr app on your mobile phone thing and you can see where your fellow Wittertainees are located on this largely green and blue Earth? It’s free! It’s not endorsed by the BBC! It might get a chat feature soon! Whoo!
If you really want to ramp up your cultural intake, why not queue up to watch Dr. Kermode getting his haircut at a local barber? During these haircuts, he is able to depart with some of his knowledge about films and what you, the listener, make of this, that, and the other things. It’s a good way to think more about those films you may, or may not, have seen.
The Kermode Awards
Finally… there’s an extra element of controversy at the end of every 365 day run (usually – Dr. Kermode didn’t bother in 2016). If you hate the Oscars as much as Joaquin Phoenix, the antidote may well be this show. Mr. Kermode draws up a list each year to show how badly the vacuous brigade at Hollywood got it wrong. Oh my!
ZOMG! But How Does One Join?
You just join. We can’t recommend it enough! You can catch Kermode and Mayo’s Film Review Show if you have access to a radio (it may help if you’re British, but Americans and others should find access easy enough). It’s on every Friday from 2pm, depending on where you live, so check your times in order to get in line with the church’s expectations.
You can also enjoy the extensive back catalogue, as it were, on YouTube over at kermodeandmayo. So, love film? Love great film debate based entertainment? Want to laugh? Then join the Church! Totes amazeballs.
Hello to Jason Isaacs.