In a turn of events that actually fits 2018 like a glove, a British award bestowed upon the best comic fiction of the previous 12 months will not be granted this year, because the committee decided none of the works under consideration were funny enough—and they didn’t even give Kevin James a chance.
It seems the genius behind Kevin Can Wait failed to even be submitted for evaluation, thereby rendering this whole process moot. Nonetheless, the BBC reports the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for comic fiction won’t be awarded this year, because the judges decided none of the 62 novels in contention were sufficiently humorous to earn the designation. Clearly proving they’ve never read a transcript of James performing one of his signature pratfalls, judge David Campbell released a statement explaining the committee’s decision to withhold the prize. “Despite the submitted books producing many a wry smile amongst the panel during the judging process, we did not feel than any of the books we read this year incited the level of unanimous laughter we have come to expect,” Campbell says, presumably while enjoying the merry japes of Are You Being Served? in the background. “We look forward to awarding a larger rollover prize next year to a hilariously funny book.”
To be fair, this is a very specifically British and old-timey style of humor they’re looking for (read: old white people). The award is meant to go to the novel that is “deemed to best capture the comic spirit of the late PG Wodehouse,” as The Guardian clarifies, perhaps in response to a furious influx of callers demanding to know why the forward-thinking savant behind Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 was not presently prepping an acceptance speech. “Wodehouse is so incredibly great, he really does make you laugh out loud. But that’s not an easy thing to do at all,” Campbell continued. “There were lots of very good novels, but nothing outstandingly funny … Nothing stood out this year. There were a lot of witty submissions, bloody good novels, but they weren’t comic novels. The alchemy was not there.”
The prize includes a case of champagne for the winning author, along with the honor of having a rare breed of pig named after their novel at the Hay Literary Festival. Next year’s prize will include “a particularly large pig,” which is good to know, since that gives Kevin James plenty of time to put pen to paper and give these clueless Brits a good what-for, possibly followed by a fart joke.