Irish writer Linehan has gone from the writer of much-loved Channel 4 comedies The IT Crowd, Father Ted and Black Books into an outspoken anti-transgender activist in recent years, leading many in the UK and Ireland to boycott him.
His book, Tough Crowd, has gone on pre-sale on Amazon this week. Its reviews section displays favorable quotes from talk show host and writer Ross and actor-director Ayoade, who starred in The IT Crowd between 2006 and 2013. Other advocates include author John Boyne, anti-trans journalist Helen Joyce, comic Simon Evans and British TV director Lissa Evans.
Ross was quoted saying the book is “one of the most compelling and unflinchingly honest memoirs I’ve read in many years. It’s also the funniest,” while Ayoade was quoted as saying: “Graham Linehan has long been one of my favourite writers — and this books shows that his brilliance in prose is equal to his brilliance as a screenwriter. It unfolds with the urgency of a Sam Fuller film: that of a man who has been through something that few have experienced but has managed to return, undaunted, to tell the tale.”
Parts of both quotes appear to be on the cover of Linehan’s memoir, which charts how he went from a comedy writer to an outcast among many circles, effectively losing his comedy career along the way.
The reviews sparked a war of words on X (formerly Twitter), with trans rights advocates slamming the pair for vouching for Linehan’s work, some voicing dismay at their support and others praising them for the public vote of confidence. Linehan reposted several messages in support of the reviews.
Ayaode won a BAFTA for his role in The IT Crowd. He also starred or appeared in Nathan Barley, The Mighty Boosh, Disechantment, The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part and Soul, as well as presenting British shows Gadget Man, Travel Man and The Crystal Maze. He has directed features such as Submarine and The Double.
Ross is known for his long running BBC talk show Friday Night With Jonathan Ross and serving as host of the public broadcaster’s Film program. He has presented The Jonathan Ross show on ITV for the past 12 years and featured in dozens of TV and radio programs, including as a judge on The Masked Singer UK.
Deadline has reached out to Ayoade and Ross’s representatives for comment.
Here are a few examples of the messages on X.