December 26, 2020
Black Mirror co-creators Brooker and Annabel Jones discuss new comedy special Death to 2020, and the importance of being silly in the face of disaster
Charlie Brooker: ‘There’s a certain release in laughing into the abyss’
I have been uncharacteristically optimistic this year,” Charlie Brooker says cheerfully from his west London living room, a prop sign from Black Mirror’s Bandersnatch episode behind him. “Partly because I’ve always been a pessimist and feared the worst. Suddenly, I don’t have to worry about the worst happening, because it’s happening. I think being a neurotic, worrisome person has slightly prepared me for it. After swine flu, I wouldn’t touch a door handle for about a year.”
There are other reasons for his unusual levels of cheer. Considering that a global pandemic has resided for years in Brooker’s buzzing mental database of potential catastrophes, he has not had a bad 2020. In May, he hosted the BBC’s Antiviral Wipe, the first network comedy show to be made about (and under) lockdown. In July, Broke and Bones, the new production company launched by Brooker and his long-time creative partner Annabel Jones, announced a Netflix deal that extends far beyond its breakthrough hit Black Mirror. The pair are opening their account with Death to 2020, a one-off (obviously) about the rotten year that was. As Leslie Jones, one of several A-list guests, says in the trailer: “I’d say it was a trainwreck and a shitshow but that would be unfair to trains and shit.”
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