Review: Peacock & Gamble Don’t Even Want To Be On Telly Anyway – Newcastle Stand
Despite what they may have told you at one point or another, Peacock & Gamble don’t want to be on telly. They’re keeping it real, “keeping it live”, on tour, with the people – even though they’re absolute shoe-ins for CBBC presenters.
If you don’t know much about comedy’s most unlikely double-act, listen to their eponymous podcast series on iTunes. The Peacock & Gamble Podcast (and the preceding Ray Peacock Podcast) give you a great taste of the silly humour on offer in their live work, but also the seriousness with which they approach their material. It’s often difficult to differentiate between their prepared and improvised work; most of Peacock & Gamble’s comedy is scripted, from off-handed lines to facial expressions and prop gags, even if it looks as spontaneous as scratching an itch.
Through the podcasts you can also track the development of Ray and Ed as characters, from two silly boys writing letters in the guise a dying child’s mother, in order to get free stuff (it’s not as wicked as it sounds), to the more defined roles they inhabit tonight at the Newcastle Stand.
Plump, impressionable Peacock plays the clown with a licence to muck about, try it on with the ladies and flirt with comic conventions; while fresh-faced Gamble is generally the straight bloke in the double-act.
There are a few exceptions, of course: Gamble’s brilliant ‘Dr. Ryan Commitment’ character – a cutting assault on underlying misogyny in comedy – and a sketch where the pair somehow become trapped in their own t-shirts, spring to mind. There’s also a particularly precious moment in which Peacock chastises Gamble for being a naughty boy.
Ray and Ed’s arrival at the Newcastle Stand tonight means that the room has been transformed into their very own lighthouse. It isn’t really a lighthouse, obviously, but a projector screen (with a pretty slideshow to give the show a clearer sense of structure) and a multitude of props – including a very naughty rubber duck. The stage has been removed, too, along with the tables and a few seats, which gives them room to race around the basement like two kids playing hide and seek.
Beneath Peacock & Gamble’s silly shtick, though, lies a genuine disillusionment for the way of the comedy world, particularly the growing celebrity culture that encourages silly buggers to do just about anything to get on the box.
Yet Peacock & Gamble are these people too. Over the years, both Ray and Ed have racked up the hours warming up for the likes of Greg Davies, Lee Mack and Russell Howard. Perhaps, then, this show – their pseudo-spat – is almost a reaction to being TV comedy’s dirty little secret, hidden away while the cameras are rolling.
You can’t blame them, either; they deserve a wider audience than they’re getting and everyone at the Newcastle Stand tonight thinks it too. Yet whether Ray and Ed are truly suited to life on TV is questionable. “You can’t do that on telly”, bellows Ed, as Ray tries to unzip his trousers. And he’s right – you can’t. Peacock and Gamble are so effective as a double-act because they’re not the norm; they’re two geeky, mismatched blokes punching upwards, with the crowd on their side.
And besides, think about poor Naughty Keith; they’d not let him on telly. He’d be consigned to the loft, with bubble wrap for a blanket. It’s a dystopian nightmare…
Peacock & Gamble Don’t Even Want To Be On Telly Anyway is one of the most intelligent, silly and funny shows you’ll see this year. If nothing else, comedy nice boys Ray and Ed prove that you don’t need to get on your soapbox, patronise your audience or sacrifice laughs to introduce an idea. And as a punter, you can enjoy them in so many ways: as a childish impulse to see two blokes giving adulthood the middle finger; as serious comic actors; or just as comedians who know the genre inside out and are looking to create something fun and original for their fans.
So do me a favour, boys, and do as you’re told for once: keep it live.