Thank God You’re Here

by

Thank God You're Here

Thank God You’re Here is a new effort by ITV to put some decent comedy about. They succeeded with Harry Hill’s TV Burp, which for my money is the only laugh out loud thing on TV at the moment. Actually – not ‘for my money’ at all as it’s on ITV – it’s more ‘for my ability to sit through a series of rubbish thirty second adverts every fifteen minutes’.

Anyhow, Thank God You’re Here is hosted by Paul Merton, an old hand when it comes to improvisational comedy. TGYH involves well-known comedy faces walking onto a set in a costume. Actors, in character, are ready for them and set the scene immediately, enabling the hapless arrivals to attempt to seamlessly fit in and find their role. Obviously, with no preparation, this can be pretty amusing as the improvisers attempt to steer the situation in their own direction.

Featuring on Saturday were Marcus Brigstocke, the current Mr Show-Me-The-Money of television, having taken up Jimmy Carre’s crown when he decided to do that rubbish news parody thing with Trevor Mc Trevor McDonald. He did alright, thrown into a situation where he was a surgeon reporting on a child’s progress. More impressive was Phil Nichol, an American comedian who dealt impressive with the Wild West scenario he found himself in, managing to develop his character as a gay, fashion-obsessed outlaw who’d just returned from Milan. Bizarre, but impressive. Lee Mack was my favourite of the night, responding in his usual dry manner to being a bronze Olympic medallist who was giving a presentation to a school room. I laughed at all these bits.

Sadly it all fell down a peg or two when Coronation Street’s Fizz took to the stage. It’s not often the viewer can honestly say ‘I could do better than that’, unless they’re watching Paul Robinson on international duty. Or, as in this case, Fizz off of The Street trying to be funny. She died.

Peculiarly, Paul Merton also fell apart when taking to the stage as a clown being interrogated by a Ringmaster. His improvisation wraps up the show and is clearly an attempt at rounding things up professionally. Sadly, the actor he was meant to bounce off barked questions at him so quickly he’d have had trouble coming up with anything other than half a one-liner. A half-liner, if you like.

That’s the only weakness in this pretty diverting hour – the fact that the constructed situations can be a little too restrictive. It’s hard to know what limits to put on the actors, but I suppose it’s best they’re not allowed to drift off as they did in the woeful latter days of Whose Line Is It Anyway. But a bit more freedom for talented types like Nichol and Mack would’ve made this comedy gold.

On reflection, I watched this whilst seven pints deep on a Saturday night, so don’t take my word for it being alright. I’ll laugh at a potato when I’m half cut, so it may well be utterly unloveable poo. I once laughed at an episode of Friends, but we’ll blame that on the vicious strain of sensimellia my mate had skinned up a few minutes previous to the telly being flicked on. Also, that episode featured a monkey, which further excuses me.

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24 Responses to “Thank God You’re Here”

  1. Clarys Says:

    It sounds like a bizarre version of Whose Line is it Anyway? which I watch avidly on Dave (bad name, good channel). I avoided this programme as I had a suspicion it would annoy me hugely. I’m not a massive fan of The Merton either…

    I love Harry Hill’s TV Burp. Any show that has a fight between two people/characters/things that appeared on TV during the week gets my vote.

  2. Badger Madge Says:

    i like tgyh, although many on ‘the forums’ think it’s cheap and don’t get the rules for the improvisational aspect of the show.

    my fave so far has been that ozzie who always tries chatting up the female actors in his scene. he’s v funny.

  3. Swineshead Says:

    I’ve only seen the one episode… Aussie guy – is it the ginger chap with eyeliner who desperately wants to be Russell Brand – the bloke who was on Buzzcocks last week?

  4. Badger Madge Says:

    ew, no! ew he’s gross! no this guy is apparently a radio dj from oz and used to be a regular on the ozzie version of the show. he’s tall, curly hair. bit gawky looking. but cute.

  5. Badger Madge Says:

    *google search* he is called Hamish Blake. mmmmmm

  6. Swineshead Says:

    Ergh! You big gay BASTARD.

    *is not homophobic, like Chris Moyles*

  7. badgermadge Says:

    what?! he’s cute! and funny…

  8. Swineshead Says:

    Sorry for my overreaction. I’ll take your word for it that he is a good ‘un.

  9. Napoleon Cockaparte Says:

    Clarys is right. It DOES sound rather too close to Whose Line Is It Anyway? And that was a fucking awful show. It was as if Channel Four was punishing you for enjoying Vic Reeves too much … “Enjoyed Graham Lister arguing with Vic about lard, did you? Right! Here’s that hag Josie Lawrence inprovising going to a party with Satan’s spawn, Tony Slattery. SWALLOW YOUR MEDICINE!”

    I’m not watching this.

  10. Swineshead Says:

    How come you memorised all the songs Mike McShane improvised whilst sweating oceans of stinking perspiration?

    I just googled him, Christ he’s lost weight.

  11. Napoleon Cockaparte Says:

    I didn’t. When did I allegedly do this, then? I fucking HATED that show, HATED it. Watched it every week, like, but for that I blame your brother.

    Watching Mike McShane sweat was a marvellous sight, wasn’t it just?

  12. Swineshead Says:

    I imagine it gave many gay chubby-chasers of my generation their first taste of erotica.

    The important words in that last sentence are ‘I imagine’.

  13. Clair Says:

    i’d rather watch old eps of WLIIA on Dave, frankly. The problem for me is that the actors in the cast clearly have a pre-defined script they have to stick with, so it’s not really proper improv. Get down the Comedy Store on Sunday nights, or listen to Josie Lawrence and Jim Sweeney’s R4 show that’s back this week to see how it ought to be done, proper like.

  14. jasonspaced Says:

    I’ve watched all three editions of this show sober (blame being a new Dad for this) and have found it to be mildly diverting. Each week, the celebrity has been awful, with the exception of Fearne Britton who was funnier than you’d ever give her credit for. Swinesy is right – we really could have done better than Fizz. I actually couldn’t watch. It was embarrassing. That Aussie dude Madge talks about was great (and hot too – I can say that now as I have a baby as proof of my red hot manliness). Paul Merton is hit and miss. I love him dearly, but sometimes he just isn’t funny.

    I miss drinking 7 pints…

  15. Napoleon Cockaparte Says:

    Josie Lawrence is an abomination. In the Nazi-style hell state I’ve got planned for the UK should I get my hands on the reins, she’s high on my list of media types to be put up against a wall and shot. Of course, she’s not at the top of my hit-list – that dubious honour goes to Brian Harvey off of East 17. Anyone who runs himself over after consuming too many baked potatoes needs putting out of his misery for his own sake.

  16. piqued Says:

    I noticed Brian Harvey’s ex., *insert prol name here* B, appeared on TV Burp.

    Using this observation I posted it, here.

  17. Napoleon Cockaparte Says:

    Where?

  18. piqued Says:

    Right there, look…

    *nicks NC’s wallet*

    *steals his KFC loyalty card*

  19. Who Says:

    How many baked potatoes is TOO many?

  20. Napoleon Cockaparte Says:

    Enough for you to run yourself over and end up with serious chest injuries, however much that is. Ask Brian Harvey – he’s the expert on the surfeit-of-baked-potatoes:running-yourself-over ratio.

  21. Napoleon Cockaparte Says:

    Piqued – Where? Eh? There’s nothing there.

  22. Badger Madge Says:

    Jasonspaced: I read that as “poof of my red-hot manliness”…

    xx

  23. Swineshead Says:

    Any other WWM readers fancy coming out on our hallowed pages? Feel free, there’ll be no discrimination here, and we’re all friends.

  24. Matt Says:

    arf.

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