Awkward Moments in Entertainment History: Clive Anderson vs. The Bee Gees

In light of, um, recent events, I thought now might be an opportune time to delve into the subject of awkward moments in the history of television / music / movies / etc.

This forgotten (or, in America, unseen) gem of awkwardness comes to us from a 1997 broadcast of Clive Anderson’s BBC talk show “Clive Anderson All Talk.”  Better known as the host of the UK version of “Whose Line is it, Anyway?,” Anderson also hosted a successful chat program in Great Britain.

Anderson’s style was often not conductive to smooth interviewing, as his quick interjections prevented a long-form, thoughtful answer along the lines of what one might get from Charlie Rose or Dick Cavett.  What’s more, Anderson routinely walked that fine line between good-natured ribbing and insult.  I guess a better way to explain it would be to say that he would prod guests in a manner that might have been fine if he were good friends with the interview subjects, or if there were a pre-existing rapport.

On this occasion, he had an easy target.

The Bee Gees served as a punching bag for Anderson’s increasingly-pronounced ribbing throughout this mildly painful nine-minute interview.  To be fair, Maurice (the one on the right, for those who don’t know one from the other) seems to take the whole thing in stride, but oldest brother (and de facto leader) Barry begins to take offense very early on at the constant interruptions and demeaning comments about the group’s most successful period. He begins to check out right around the three-minute mark.  The nail-in-the-coffin moment comes when Anderson, playing off a mild attempt at self-depricating joke, says to Barry, “You’ll always be Les Tossers to me.”

Barry fumes for a couple of minutes, and then the real magic begins.  Enjoy the awkwardness!

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25 Responses to Awkward Moments in Entertainment History: Clive Anderson vs. The Bee Gees

  1. Ghost says:

    Wow, what a jerk Clive was! You have to know when and where to use humor but most notably you HAVE to keep it in bounds. Clive was just being a prick here. His catty abrasive comments were not comedic in any way and completely uncalled for.

  2. stacynlanning says:

    I think Barry checked out when Clive insinuated their music was shit. He called them ‘hit writers’ (3:18) and then says “we’re one letter short”. It’s all downhill from there.

  3. Nan Terwilliger says:

    A person’s Character speak’s in volume’s. I do feel that Anderson did cross that fine line and Barry handled it well. Instead of it becoming worse Barry decided to walk away. That is true character.

  4. Debbie Maddod says:

    I love The Bee Gees music! I believe that Clive owes the BGs an apology for his comments!
    Barry at least!

  5. Arshad says:

    The line about their father sending away the kids to Australia as the last criminals was hurtful. Clive was simply disrespectful throughout. Well, I have never seen any American or even any British show hosts crossing the line that Clive did. I think Clive had a huge ego and loved listening to himself too much for my liking.

  6. Yank says:

    This is absolutely all fair game. As a yank (not a wank), this is all fair game.

  7. Nah, that was rubbish on Anderson’s part.
    To be fair, The Bee Gees were known to have a great sense of humor in interviews (and Barry tries to be game when he first comes out) but it’s the constant snide digs –not witty comments– that turn off the fun factor, and amp up the bullying. Saying things like how they came tearing back to England to cash-in on the success of The Beatles and such.
    The few witty comments Anderson makes (and some of them are clever) would have probably been seen as playful sparring, were there at least an over-arcing sense of respect for the brothers’ talent (and let’s make no mistake here… love them or hate them, the Bee Gees were very talented).
    But instead, the entire interview simmers with contempt on Anderson’s part, and that’s what makes it so uncomfortable.
    Barry had every right to walk off. It’s actually a testament to his professionalism that he tolerated the interview as long as he did and –on multiple occasions, until he finally throws the towel in– tried to make the best of it.

    • Pete Powell says:

      I think it’s like Clive said, maybe they had been in the USA too long, as British people are always being sarcastic in a joking way like that, but Barry took it too seriously

      • Allison Deaton says:

        Clive was a jerk. The Bee Gee’s had a great sense of humor. There’s a line of being comical and insulting. Clive was insulting.

      • Michael Matthews says:

        Well, I am an American. And Pete, I disagree with you. Clive was over-the-top arrogant, condescending, excessively pompous and British. Clive was embarrassingly, way out of line and shamefully, disrespectful. As we say on this side of the “puddle”, talk is cheap and Clive was in very bad form. The blame is all on Clive.

    • petecowell1 says:

      I think it’s like Clive said, and maybe they had been in the USA too long, as British people are always joking around making sarcastic comments like that

      • Donna N. says:

        I think Clive was a complete asshole In this interview with The Bee Gees. The 3 brothers, especially Barry, showed great restraint. It is uncomfortable to watch on You Tube. It’s no wonder Clive is nothing but a has-been.

    • Doc Henry says:

      Yes Limes you nailed it. And it’s a lesson for all would be interviewers. If you hate the work of your guest/s (as it seems Anderson does about the Disco era Bee Gees) then for goodness don’t have them on your show.

      • Sara Webb says:

        I have always loved the Bee Gees story songs and collaborations with other talented people. They are amazingly talented artists with a sense of humor that have a Great story to tell but Clive wasn’t interested at all. So his kind of calculatibg jabs really made my stomach turn. Clive is not funny really, just a COW in a Dung suit.

  8. Jo says:

    I remember watching this at the time and feeling really uncomfortable with it. And the next day everyone gave an opinion. Since then I’ve watched loads of Youtube VTs of Bee Gee interviews and see that they were really good craic and could take a joke. So what went wrong in this “chat show”? Could it be Anderson’s the problem.
    Repeatedly goading to incite a reaction without taking stock of the obvious body language from his guests who were showing it was unwelcome is blatant bullying. I’m glad Barry had the balls to lead the walk off. C’mon, Anderson’s since said he doesn’t understand why they did. MY ARSE. He knew what he was doing but has no integrity and believed he had grandeur right.
    Note Anderson’s disappeared off the radar and no-one remembers him except for his dire moments while the Bee Gees are still as popular as ever and Barry is still perfoming to an audience who love the music he and his late brothers made.
    RIP Maurice and Robin. Go Barry 🙂
    Anderson you’re a complete tosser.

  9. Freddie says:


  10. C says:

    Yeah, that was pretty rude.
    You don’t have to like your guests or like their work, but slagging them repeatedly throughout the interview is crappy behaviour indeed.

    • Jack says:

      You’ve not really understood the point of the show, have you?

      • Jo says:

        And what was the point of the show?

        • Les Tosseur says:

          It’s basically a roasting show. Clive makes fun of his guests, I love Clive and his wit and see this as three diva’s who can’t take a joke. Ok to dish it, but can’t take it. Bee Gee’s = Les Tossuers !

          • acapellaluv says:

            No, Clive’s good a ribbing, but gives no room for come-backs, he just keeps talking over people, over & over..GOOD comics/wits know spacing/timing’s key..It was more important for him to get zingers in then any real listening…Clive’s always liked to hear himself talk.. Listen carefully to all his ‘Whose Line’ remarks..I livestock wits as much as anyone, but
            truth is truth…

            • Ashley says:

              If you find the follow,up interview with Maurice, they were told Clive was a big fan and it would be hands off. It was nonstop digging…..but to be honest I had to go back to wait it again to try to figure out why Barry walked out.

  11. I thought I was seeing (and hearing) Ringo in triplicate!

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