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NY Post
21 Oct 2023

NextImg:A Real “Nut” Job: Paul Hollywood Forced Too Many Bad Genitalia Jokes on ‘The Great British Baking Show’ “Chocolate Week”

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The Great British Baking Show

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So far the 2023 season of The Great British Baking Show — known as Collection 11 on Netflix — has delighted in being naughty. Prue Leith brought the tent to hysterics in the Season Premiere when she asked Nicky Laceby about her “beaver,” and Rowan Claughton has repeatedly found himself in rather saucy situations. But it was none other than Paul Hollywood who kept bringing The Great British Baking Show “Chocolate Week” into the gutter with his incessant jokes about “nuts” — specifically when it came to baker Josh Smalley‘s creations. What made these nut jokes all the more remarkable is they didn’t seem to go down as well as most dirty jokes and double entendres do in the Bake Off tent, and they were ironically all inspired by Josh?? Sigmund Freud probably would have had a field day parsing all the ways in which Paul Hollywood forced an off-color nut joke in The Great British Baking Show “Chocolate Week”…

The Great British Baking Show has never shied away from embracing the juvenile joy of a sexual double entendre. Over the years, we’ve gotten tons of jokes about hot buns, soggy bottoms, and yes, even one chocolate starfish gaffe. What makes these moments so lovely is the way adult jokes knock against the Rated-G vibe of The Great British Baking Show. What makes these gags so perennially funny? Well, they usually are unintentional. Like, Prue Leith didn’t realize that by asking Nicky about her beaver that she was setting up a joke until the words fell out of her mouth. Paul Hollywood’s nut jokes in The Great British Baking Show “Chocolate Week,” however, felt a tiny bit forced. Like he told himself to jump on any opportunity to insinuate naughtiness when nuts came up.

The first offending instance happened less than five minutes into The Great British Baking Show “Chocolate Week.” After Josh explains that he’s cleverly using icing sugar to smooth out the ground pecan flour for his Signature Chocolate Torte, Prue opines on the extra challenge he’s given himself. She says, “If you’re grinding your own nuts, it’s always difficult.”

“And painful,” Paul says playfully, prompting Prue to mime punching him in disgust. 

“Grind them up quick,” Noel deadpans. “Less pain that way.”

“You boys are just disgusting,” Prue says as they move on to another baker.

If Paul was dissuaded by Prue from trying more nut jokes in the tent that day, he came back swinging when it was time to judge the Showstopper Challenge on Day 2.  When it came time for Paul and Prue to judge Josh’s Showstopper Challenge — a chemistry-inspired chocolate box containing both cake and chocolates — “nuts” were once more all over Paul’s lips. 

Paul complaining about Josh's nuts on 'The Great British Baking Show' "Chocolate Week"
Photo: Netflix

After critiquing the poorly tempered chocolate box, the judges went in on the cake. Paul admitted that the “sponge was baked beautifully,” but it didn’t carry a lot of flavor. Prue explains it’s because the hazelnut filling and topping are “so strong.” Paul once again takes the opportunity to mug for the Bake Off cameras. 

“I would complain that I’ve got too many nuts in my mouth,” he says to scattered chuckles and blushes throughout the tent. 

Before the episode ends, Paul takes one more knock at Josh’s nuts. When Alison points out that she thinks Josh should be in line for Star Baker because he piped her name on the side of his box, Paul says, “You need to try it because you’ll have a problem with his nuts.” Alison and Noel succumb to giggles. At long last, a joke has hit. 

Look, I don’t blame Paul for attempting to make some light, comic conversation. In fact, one of my favorite parts of The Great British Baking Show has always been the intersection of the tame and tawdry. My one complaint — well, okay, I have two, but one thing is bugging me in particular — is that Paul seemed to be purposely twisting his colleagues’ words to make these jokes work. The best Bake Off naughty bits occur spontaneously. They are moments so rife with innocence that the offending jokesters don’t even realize the joke until the snickers start. (My other issue? Why gang up on Josh?!)

The Great British Baking Show “Chocolate Week” is already a memorable installment of the Netflix hit for a lot of reasons. Poor Tasha Stones had to leave early and Allison Hammond parkoured over a bench to hug a triumphant Dan Hunter. What I bet no one remembers, though, is Paul nattering on about nuts.