Ian Wolf

Gigglebox Weekly #49

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Gigglebox Weekly With Ian Wolf

This week Ian Wolf watches a mountain of porn and a lot of reused ideas.

Live at the Electric

BBC Three has launched a new comedy show starring a comedian called Russell, to go alongside its other big comedy series, also starring a comedian called Russell.

Live at the Electric is a show which mixes stand-up from Russell Kane with sketches and songs from a huge range of different performers: Humphrey Ker, Nick Helm, and American Hari Kondabolu, as well as sketch troupes Two Episodes of Mash, Jigsaw, Wittank, Lady Garden and Totally Tom.

As with any show featuring so many acts, the quality varies from skit to skit. However, you can almost find something you like. For me, my favourite moment was Wittank’s sketch in which a man finishes a job interview, only for his suitcase to open a huge torrent of porn mags falls out of it.

If I were to criticise anything it would be the camera work, mainly duringl Kane’s stand-up. I don’t mind it if it cuts to Kane talking to camera, but often it would cut to a shot from the back of the stage, filming through a broken window for the supposed purposes of being cool. No, just stick to Kane, or the audience reaction. Don’t cut it so you can’t actually see anyone.

I would urge readers to give Live at the Electric a go, partly because it’s highly entertaining but mainly because it attracted less than half-a-million viewers when it went out on Thursday. So it will only be a matter of time before Zai Bennent, head of BBC Three, axes this along with the rest of the channel’s comedy output…

You Cannot Be Serious!

When Harry Hill’s TV Burp aired for the final time I mentioned that I hoped that ITV1 would cancel the show rather than find someone else to take over as host because it simply would not be the same. It seems ITV1 agreed. That said, instead of resurrecting TV Burp with a new host they’re just ripped the entire format for this new sports satire starring Alistair McGowan.

Obviously, You Cannot Be Serious! covers different topics and has a different host, but the format is almost identical. The show begins with a Have I Got News for You style weekly round up featuring funny clips – most of the comedy comes from looking at recent TV footage (along with voice-over impressions), special guests making cameos and the show ends in a song. However, given that Harry Hill is credited as an executive producer, perhaps these similarities are not surprising. At least there’s no fight in the middle, otherwise the show might have breached copyright law.

There are some unique touches, however, that make this show differ from its predecessor.

For starters, due to McGowan’s impressionist abilities, he can do the voice of Adrian Chiles while interviewing himself playing Roy Hodgson on a pre-recorded segement (complete with a large false nose).

For me, though, the similarities outweigh the originality. I can understand why ITV1 wants to replicate the success of TV Burp, but I wished they could do something a bit more inspiring. The show’s also fundamentally flawed. Namely, everyone who owns a TV set would have a slight interest in watching TV Burp, but not all TV viewers are keen on sport, so I would presume that audience figures may be hampered…

And finally, I’ve got another complaint: you know the sketch featuring Far Eastern athletes knocking into hurdles? I don’t mind seeing the footage, but did they really have to call one of the athletes Lu Sing Now?

I’m not the only one a little uncomfortable, right?