One of the most boring questions you can probably ask anyone is: who would you invite to your fantasy dinner party? The answer is long, overblown and ultimately unrevealing – exactly the kind of tepid conversation you get at real dinner parties. Literally nobody cares that you’d have Marilyn Monroe, Einstein, Gandhi, RuPaul and Brian Blessed round for lasagne, and anyway, they’d probably all sit there seething and wishing you’d f*** off.
Which leads me seamlessly to I’ll Get This, the celebrity dinner party show featuring glittering icons such as Nigel Havers and Eamonn Holmes. They answer a variety of needlessly elaborate Call My Bluff-style questions over two courses and several rounds of drinks, and the person who loses has to pay the bill. It’s basically a televised version of one of those weak stocking-filler trivia games they pile up near the till at M&S. And there is zero tension, because surely even a C-list celebrity who once made the What’s In My Fridge? section of Closer magazine can afford to buy dinner for five people?
Having not been to a dinner party for a while, though, I thought I’d watch it. But it was a chilling reminder of what’s to come when everything goes back to normal. It was like being stuck at Table 47 at a black tie industry award ceremony, desperately trying to find some common ground with a bunch of randoms over a single beef medallion served by a nervous 18-year-old on a zero-hours catering contract. The only thing keeping the conversation going at all is a strained sense of professionalism and warm white wine with WHITE WINE written on the label. At the end of it, you’re so exhausted from the effort that you don’t just hail a cab, you run towards it like a weeping toddler to its mother.
Instead of celebrity revelations and the kind of eviscerating wit you might have found at the Algonquin Round Table, there’s a lot of boring hot air and parlour games with baffling rules that you forget the minute they’re read out.
Admittedly, in the episode I was watching with one eye shut, Gabby Logan said the word ‘vagina’ and a woman from Countryfile turned out to be a right one, but it wasn’t enough. Jonathan Ross lost the game and paid the bill (which was no skin off his nose because he could probably afford to buy the entire restaurant) and then everyone downed tools and left, because that kind of social interaction is not fun – it’s work.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but this is what’s waiting for us on the other side. The dinner party is lying in wait, with awkward bantz and ANECDOTES. Don’t make me go back to it, please. I just can’t, not even if Gandhi and Brian Blessed are there.