At best, an offender could expect a sharp retort; at worst - if a man - a sock in the jaw.Today, however, the bounds of acceptable behaviour have been blurred and fractured, particularly on television.Viewers at home might well wonder whether a bunch of comics and musicians offering semi-serious exhortations “not to do” drugs will have any sway - and how UK addiction stands in the hierarchy of urgent giving needs compared, say, to starving Africans.
But how would it be if, in future, more guests had the courage calmly to make their hosts look small?
Brand's head, which with its floating ringlets always seemed pre-fashioned for the guillotine, has rolled.
So has that of the Radio 2 controller, Lesley Douglas.
Ordinary people tend to appear on comedy shows as willing stooges, grinning at their own humiliation: far worse than seeming a fool, it appears, is the terror of seeming without a sense of humour.
This phenomenon has extended to public figures such as David Cameron or Gwyneth Paltrow, who are expected to "play along" with a chat-show host such as Ross when he initiates crassly sexual lines of questioning.
It was certainly in bad taste, but it was also misogynistic in an ancient way.