Interview: Francis ‘The Viper’ Higgins

Current Affairs Editor HASSAN BAKER interviews Francis ‘The Viper’ Higgins about his reputable news show, ‘The Viper’s Views’

How does one go about interviewing the proud reptilian that is Francis ‘The Viper’ Higgins? With research? Wrong. Research, which extensively included IMDB, had repeatedly told me that The Viper is in fact a fictional character created by satirist Chris Tordoff. When questioned about his inspiration for the character, his response was a strict, and no way flexible, “I am The Viper.” Attempting to stretch the answer, an inquiry into the differences between The Viper and Chris was made. However, I received an answer of “Who’s Chris?” The truth of the matter is, who is Chris? I asked a couple of times, but although Francis’ wording varied, it still maintained the same point, the point being “Stop asking me about Chris I dunno who the fuck you’re on about!”

The idea of giving The Viper a news show hadn’t crossed anyone’s mind, however it did cross Francis’: “I used to watch this news channel called Euronews. It used to be on every night at the end of the schedule on RTE. There was a bit in it I always liked called No Comment which would show an unfolding situation and would have no newsreader talking shite over it. I liked this because it was almost always confusing if you didn’t understand the situation at hand. A few years ago I looked for Euronews on YouTube and lo and behold, they had a No Comment Channel. I downloaded a few vids and World News was born.”

It’s also notable that The Viper’s Views received a letter from Euronews, threatening legal action for unapproved use of their material. Promptly afterwards, RT swooped in and saved the show, giving The Viper a wider platform to menace with. “I was surprised anyone picked it up as it’s a relatively simple idea. Out of any news station though I’m not surprised that RT would pick it because they have room in their output for satire and quirky takes on what’s happening.”

The humour that The Viper conveys can sometimes be of the strictly Irish nature. When asked as to how it is that people who are not Irish can still find mirth in it, he was very much blunt with : “I don’t know if they do. Maybe some do. Maybe a lot do – I don’t know. The Irish have an identity which precedes them so maybe that skews whatever it is I do because people might see it as IRISH GUY READS NEWS HEADLINES LOL!!!! But really I try to just be myself and read into the news as I see it and not in accordance of some paddywhackery OIM OIRISH bullshit with didllee eyedeley where’s me boxty shite.”

I asked Francis about how he has reacted to his recent metamorphoses into memehood, through the ‘The evidence is there’ meme. “I didn’t know that I had. I dunno if that’s a good thing. Although I’m not a conspiracy theorist per say.” He went to elaborate as to how The Viper views conspiracy theories; “I really do believe that there are shadowy sides to all power systems that we don’t see. Maybe the whole illuminati thing is subterfuge for an even deeper level of organised control although I actually don’t believe humans are that smart enough to keep such elaborate, satanic, ritualistic organisations under wraps. THAT SHIT WOULD LEAK YO- LiveLeak style! D’ya ever watch LiveLeak? It’s like YouTube but with people dying and shit! I sometime watch that channel right at the arse-end of the day when I can’t sleep. Like 4 in the morning and the last thing I see before I drift off is some lad getting done in out in South America for not following the rules. Or the Chinese mercilessly continuing to walk by a pedestrian who’s been injured because there’s apparently some law whereby if you go to the aid of the dying, you could potentially be lumbered with the care of that person for life. Anyway, I don’t know why I do it, but I watch that shit late night sometimes and I’m none the better for it.”

In regards to the U.S. post-election bonanza that we’ve all been consuming, he had a different opinion to the usual ‘we’re doomed’ spiel. “The election in the states of Donald Trump is class. My reasons are not political. Here are my reasons. The next 4-8 years will be funny because a man off the telly will be on the world stage saying some daft shit ALL THE TIME. That’s entertainment. I like to be entertained. I’m already entertained by all the celebrities and comedians who are so hurt by Trump winning. These cocks are nothing more than mouthpieces who believe they should be listened to by the man or woman on the street who has to work and live in the real world paying bills and generally making ends meet. These libertarians make up a large section of the media who, in Marxist ideological terms, are exponents of the elites. The elites own the media and set an agenda. I’m so glad that agenda has been upset. I don’t care for the implications of Trump or Brexit – what I do care about is that people can still upset whatever the TV / Radio / Internet tell us is right.”

“I’m more scared about the state of the world to be honest. John Gray, author of Straw Dogs –  a book I think anyone interested in understanding human nature should read, said recently that no one superpower has full control of the globe , a bit like a hundred years ago before the beginning of WW1. Tensions, like the movement of the right are probably more likely to be the causation, the Franz Ferdinand-shaped match that lights the gunpowder for an even scarier division in the world.”

In regards to Irish politics he was less so enthusiastic; “Whenever I see or hear about politics in Ireland I want to cry with boredom. So boring. So, so boring. Infinitesimally boring. Enda Kenny! Fuck me. That guy is fifty shades of grey. And I mean that in Dulux colour chart terms, not whips, chains and ball clamps.”

Bringing us onto Enda Kenny, I was curious as to what his opinion of Enda withdrawing his statement to condemn Trump’s bigoted talk. The Viper was all the more colourful here, hypothesizing that “he will be rolling out the carpet for any man in the top spot. If Satan was elected, he’d be sucking off all three of that lad’s horns while posing with a pint of black stuff in Moneygall where Satan apparently had an Irish great grand-uncle.”

In this world on fire, satire seems to be a growing reflex. I enquired as to the importance of this type of media. “It depends on how vicious it is. If it’s not vicious and politicians actually get on board with it, like Sarah Palin getting on board with Tina Fey, it doesn’t work. It needs to be vicious and attack the people who are standing tall.”

To conclude the interview, I asked the usual question, of what comes next for Francis. “I dunno. Maybe a break. All this news gets me down. What do you think I should do?” Whatever it is, let’s hope it’s vicious and that it attacks the right people.