“It’s hard to find comedy on TV now that doesn’t try too hard to be dignified and kind”
The best thing i ever wrote
A lot of people write to me about Jews don’t matter. He was targeting the progressives on the left and the great thing about the answers is that he has helped so many people understand why anti-Semitism is “the racism that is beyond you.” Young Jews tell me that they may feel that talking about the racism they experience against their own ethnic origin is somehow not legitimate. It’s great that the book has given people a way to talk about anti-Semitism.
The worst childhood memories?
My father made the most terrifying noises while he was having sex. For years, I thought there was an injured walrus in my parents’ room. It was deeply damaging. I used to go to a Jewish youth camp called Habonim, and one of the camp officials assigned us the task of fetching a chemical toilet, which turned out to be full. I carried it halfway through a field, vomiting in disgust, before they told me it was a joke.
The worst memory of Christmas?
I went to an Orthodox Jewish elementary school (although at home we weren’t particularly strict). But we didn’t have Christmas. I had the impression that a huge party was happening elsewhere. We used to sit at home and do nothing which was pretty depressing. Best thing was the TV – especially the Morecambe and Wise Christmas show, which I had been looking forward to so much, and which made up for the turkey shortage.
I have one thing that makes me feel the urge to tell the truth in ridiculous detail all the time. I don’t have an inhibitory mechanism and that might sound like rudeness. Morwenna once said to me, have you ever thought about saying the second thing on your mind?
the worst day of my life
The worst time of my life was the death of my mother. Not because she died, because it happens to everyone, but the way she died. It was 2014, and my father had already started suffering from dementia when she developed a lung infection which she said would go away. She did not come to meet my brother, who had to break open the door to find her unconscious. The ambulance was called and my father did not understand what was going on. We have a Hollywood idea of ââdeath, but that death was not like that. He will stay with me forever. My brother told my dad what had happened and 45 minutes later we had to tell him again.
Worst show you’ve ever done?
A Channel 4 show called Stab in the Dark that I did with Tracey Macleod, a close friend, and Michael Gove, who was 24 and just starting out as a reporter at the time. The idea was to have contrarian and controversial ideas, but it really didn’t work. He tried to have gravity, with me doing monologues on a circular rotating stage in the dark. It was like a parody of an important ’90s show.
The absolute worst
I am more and more horrified by mankind’s treatment of animals and try to work to become a vegan. But I really like sausages. And I can’t stand the way the classy sausages have become meaty – a sausage should be about 60% meat and the rest is rusks. Not only are they cheaper then, but in my opinion, they taste better when they’re basically a sandwich. A sausage should wrap around the plate when cooked. If it is flat, it is too dense with meat.
Interview by Madeleine Howell
David Baddiel’s latest children’s book, The Boy Who Accidentally Became Famous (HarperCollins, Â£ 6.99), is out now