Brian Edwards Media

Suicide Note from a Deranged Narcissist

Paul Henry

Paul Henry has given a lengthy interview to the New Zealand Herald‘s Canvas magazine. The paper teases readers in a banner front page headline: ‘POTTY MOUTH PAUL – Has Henry finally gone too far?’ Having read the piece my preferred headline would have been SUICIDE NOTE FROM A DERANGED NARCISSIST.

Been there, done that. Though the interview I gave to a national newspaper in 1970, when I was making my name on the current affairs programme¬†Gallery, was not riddled with expletives as this interview is. I’ve always thought that needing to pepper your language with ‘fucking’ represented a failure in communication. Or perhaps just trying too hard to impress.

Anyway, as I was leaving the studio one night after a particularly prickly interview with Brigadier Gilbert, the head of the SIS (who had immediately rung Keith Holyoake to demand that the recorded interview not be broadcast) I was stopped on the pavement by Bruce Broadhead the NZBC’s Head of Current Affairs. “You realise,” he said, “that you have transformed current affairs broadcasting in this country forever.”

I would later end a crippling Post Office strike by bringing the parties together on the programme. Time magazine reported on this apparently unique achievement.

So here’s the thing, Paul: for a couple of years I was more famous in Godzone than you will ever be. Loved and loathed in equal measure. Your former morning co-host on TV3, the gorgeous Hilary Barry, once called me ‘a legend’. On your morning show!

Skiting? Hardly. For starters, there was only one channel in those days. So viewers had nowhere else to go. No choice, no competition.

My point is that I know about fame if only in your own backyard. It’s corrosive and corrupting. It turns mild-mannered men and women into monsters.

Been there! Experienced that! And then one day you’re overcome by some self-destructive impulse to smash it all down. Or maybe it’s not self-destructive at all. Maybe you just want to test how far you can go before the adulation stops. Will you still love me? You’ve turned into a deranged narcissist! Time to give an intemperate foul-mouthed interview to a national newspaper perhaps. A career wrecking ball.

Been there, done that. Get some help, mate.

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40 Comments:

  1. I haven’t read the article , Brian, but are you sure your response is not ” the pot calling the kettle black” as most of your piece seems to be about how influential you ” were?”

  2. I over the last 5 years I have lost all respect for mainstream media in Nz. It seems to now be all about what gets clicks eg click bait, and opinion pieces which is largely negative. Actual success stories are rarely written about unless they are already well known people or companies. Maybe because they don’t get the clicks.

  3. I stopped reading the article after the angry description of his hatred of people at airports. I felt like my eyes were starting to bleed.

    Anyone with that level of intolerance towards others needs counselling. I just feel sorry for him.

  4. I find it incomprehensible why TV3 ever employed him. I find him so irritating I don’t watch his programme and fail to understand why anyone else would. Australia obviously agree. No doubt he is paid a stupid amount of money.

  5. Disappointing, Brian. As a rant against narcissism and Paul Henry your argument sadly lost coherence as it ended up about your own loss of recognition. Ironic at the least.

    • Rick/Rob I am with John. Your comments seem a bit harsh and miss the point.

    • I completely agree. Brian is just jealous.

      • What is there to be jealous of exactly – an aging tv host on a show in the basement hour of tv viewing who is obviously feeling the heat of a competing tv program.

        • 5.2.1.1

          Well, I don’t see paul as ageing. And I also don’t see morning broadcasting as basement viewing. Edwards has overreacted so much that something pushed his buttons. Paul is paul. He doesn’t sugarcoat, and I relate to him. He certainly has no competition in the same time slot. Have you seen the new Breakfast? I like Hilary but her show is mind numbing, jack is okay but nothing to write home about. There’s no zing. Paul has zing.

    • Well Rick, I’ll use your comment as an opportunity to reply to everyone else who sees my post as an expression of jealousy or sour grapes. That rather misses the point I was trying to make that in my own career I exhibited precisely the same mental attitudes and behaviour that Paul is now exhibiting. At one point I wrote a completely arrogant and stupid article about interviewing for a Sunday newspaper which included the claim that an interview was never any good unless it ended with blood on the studio floor. Ridiculous. That’s why I repeat “been there, done that” because I understand how celebrity can effect you. When my article appeared in the paper, I received a stern note from my NZBC masters that they thought it ill conceived and inappropriate. Pretty close to the situation Paul may find himself in now. However, your comment will serve as a reminder to me to express myself more clearly.

  6. Hi Brian, long time since the heady days of “Give Us A Clue”, when I was your Doppelganger. I’ve always disliked Henry, as much for his complete lack of real talent, as his misogynistic 3rd form giggling rants. It’s like having a tiny Trump buzzing in your ear incessantly like some narcissistic Zika-laden mosquito. Good on you! At least you ‘fame’ came from tough interviewing and some background prep. Cheers! Pete

  7. Personally I’ve always strongly disliked Henry’s views and style, so I don’t particularly want to defend him, however I understand his elderly mother is very unwell so perhaps he’s not his normal self.

    I agree with your final suggestion to get some help if that’s the case – not so sure that the internet is the best place to make it.

  8. Brian. Just because your media balls have all but shrivelled doesn’t mean Paul’s have to. As an American I find him irreverent and normal as opposed to all the PC vanilla coated talking heads we currently endure. What’s happened to Old Zealand? God we had fun in the 70’s, 80’s. Now we’ve got you, the Fun Police aka self-appointed finger wagger. He wound you up and you took it, hook, line and sinker.

    • Paul Henry: irreverent? No, just plain nasty.
      Paul Henry: normal? That might be the case in the Good Ole US of A but here in Godzone, it isn’t. Come to think of it, it must be the case in America – just look at Trump’s success.

    • Of course it was fun for young, white males – you got to be offensive and rude to everyone else and the people you derided had very little status or power to return your “jokes” with equal force.

      If they tried, they were jealous or lacked humour or …

      • 8.2.1

        The males I hung out with here in the 70s and 80s were hardly rude. They were nice, into music, politics and we didn’t take ourselves too seriously. We all had fun with no PC BS. I’m female and I was never derided, in fact I’m still friends with many of them. Including the Maories I went to school with and grew up with. That taunted me and called me Yank but I laughed and had fun!

    • See my reply to Rick.

    • Could there possibly be some other antidote to PC vanilla coated talking heads we currently endure that is not Paul Henry? Is thIs as good as it gets?

    • Your comments indicate your inferiority…Sorry…(no not really sorry).
      Referring to anatomy of which you have no experience, just …… nah….wasnt worth reading, and you have wasted a couple of minutes of my life.

  9. So who forced anyone to read the full interview. We all have freedom on choice to watch, listen or read.

  10. OK, we know him as a well-credentialed shock jock. So, no real surprises here, when it’s central to his mien. Besides, I prefer his true-to-thine-self persona rather than the strutting hands-in-pockets (with carefully mussed-up hair) and affected nonchalance of the infinitely more “narcissistic”, Mike Hosking; who inflects a more grating conceit than Paul Henry ever will.

  11. Brian the interview was a typical rough and ready Paul Henry interview.
    A interesting little read.
    It keeps the readers happy.
    It helps to sell the Herald.
    I suspect sour grapes from you because he dumped you.
    “ain’t them the facts”.

  12. I am grateful to PH for the interview since it resulted in BE coming out of “retirement” and writing on his blog. If this is the way of getting my most respected blogger back to the keyboard may there be many similar interviews.

  13. I find our household has a lot more time for productive activities since TVNZ and TV3 decided to appoint most of their profile spokesblokes from within the ranks of the National Collective of Narcissistic Nutjobs.

    We’ve never watched PHenry or MHoskings, so are unable to express an informed opinion of their self-regarding antics. Other people’s descriptions of them will suffice.

    And now, I think I’ll re-grout the bathroom. Seems preferable.

  14. Since newspapers are no longer necessary to keep up with the news they have to resort to manufacturing controversies to try to sell them to those anxious to be offended about something. Who cares?

    Women dress to impress and then supposedly get offended when men notice and comment to each other. Who cares?

    Meanwhile two complete narcissists compete for leadership of the free world. One promises to continue its slide into anarchy and the other to upend it. Who cares?

  15. What is wrong with being a deranged narcissist? What is wrong with deranged narcissists having such an important part in controlling my world?

    Through life I’ve found quite a number I’ve considered to be deranged narcissists, had mental health issues, been beep, dirty, beeps, smart arses or simply mad, being held up as the ones I should listen to, who knew best how my world should be.

    So often, later, when their fallibility became too obvious, those who supported them, were advocates for them, were sycophants to them, who scorned me for my disdain of them would change their tune.

    Then it would be, “Oh yes, but he had mental health issues, he wasn’t well.”

    Paul Henry and Mike Hosking being the kings of the New Zealand media is a sad reflection on our world.

    • Ahhhh….I remember the days of Paul Holmes being the thorn in many sides…..and then….suddenly he is ill and becomes a saint, and a sir and something of a legend..not sure what I missed really.

  16. Who is this Paul Henry that everyone is getting so excited about? I don’t seem to have come across him