Take a cursory glance at Twitter’s trending topics at any given moment and the chances are there’s a celebrity’s name doing the rounds for no apparent reason. All too often it’s because said celebrity has left this mortal coil, although this cannot always be assumed to be the case (once I accidentally started a rumour that Les Dennis had committed suicide, true story).
The rest of the time, the trending topics are largely the domain of idiotic boyband fanatics, ‘Beliebers’ (whatever those are) and other items that demonstrate little more than the public’s collective inability to spell. Today, though, the Great British public demonstrated that irony is still alive and well in the 21st century – unlike Gregg Jevin.
Earlier this morning, Michael Legge, a comedian with around 10,000 followers, announced that a man whom he had just invented – Gregg Jevin – had died. The tributes to this imaginary man began to flood in, all with tongue firmly in cheek, with notable support from other comedians including Charlie Brooker and Sarah Millican. #RIPGreggJevin began to trend within hours.
Then something unexpected happened. Serious organisations started joining in and demonstrated that even ‘the suits’, as Adele might call them, have a sense of humour. The Radio Times’s account announced a night of special programming dedicated to the man’s memory, including tribute programme ‘Oh Well, Never Mind: The Gregg Jevin Story’, while the Royal Albert Hall announced that tickets for his memorial concert will go on sale ‘within weeks’.
Quite what overcame people to such an extent that the country forgot about being serious, if just for a few minutes, I have no idea. But I’m glad it did – it’s a Friday afternoon, after all.