Somewhere in the back of my mind, in the unproven, apocryphal statistics department, there is a reference to US broadcasting. It says that if you stop five Americans in the street, you can guarantee that at least one of them will have appeared on national TV.
The UK is chasing hard to attain transatlantic levels of banality. The latest and most dramatic addition to the ranks over here (you may have gathered) is Aaron Barschak, a man who made a tragic miscalculation.
Today he is famous for his audacious blagging abilities, and the fact that he lives in a filthy flat in Golders Green, and has a personal hygiene problem as revealed by his ex-girlfriend, a former stripper and comedienne, Bozena Harvey.
Additionally, although history may have moved on, there’s still some deeply ingrained, ancestral national consensus that anyone who upsets the royals is a certifiably deranged mentalist who should serve the rest of his/her natural days in Broadmoor at her majesty’s displeasure.
So Aaron has been portrayed as a smelly, unfunny and dangerous nutter. This is unfortunate because his plan for the weekend had been to become famous for his comedic talents. To date, his abilities as a stand-up have only received media attention insofar as they are reckoned to be awesomely inconsiderable.
Aaron’s prank will have driven up sales of tickets for his Edinburgh performance but only on the freak show principle. Unless he has a worthwhile, entertaining act for the punters, he could have kissed the Queen, but it wouldn’t make him funny.
We’ve discussed pastiche celebrity or non-ebrity before: the ability of individuals who are sussed enough to the mechanisms of the media to capture attention and then work through the standard process – the exclusive (‘how I did it – what a great guy’); the competing papers’ exclusives (‘Aaron the truth: what a twisted psychopath’); the friends’ exclusives (‘why he’s round the twist’/’I really like him he’s a regular Joe really’).
When the story’s been sucked dry, the husk of Aaron is discarded, he’s forgotten, and the media will be on to the next Jodie Marsh with a holster across her breasts who aspires to be the next Jordan. Only if Aaron had real talent could he stay the course, and – from the few critical reports that are circulating – he hasn’t got any of what it takes.
If I were to be Aaron’s adviser, I’d suggest he sticks to what he can do, which is gatecrashing. If I were the Queen, I’d award him an OBE for services to the monarchy (harmlessly alerting the House of Windsor to security failings). And if I were the metropolitan police commissioner I’d teach my officers some basic geography. Then the whole incident would never have happened because they’d have realised that Osama bin Laden couldn’t possibly have been a genuine guest at a party with an African theme.