Archive for August 3rd, 2008

Commercial Breakdown

August 3, 2008

According to the biography on his website Jimmy Carr is “one of the most original and distinctive stars on television, radio, stage and the big screen” which is particularly interesting as he’s currently reading an autocue of other peoples material to a canned laughter track, having taken over a position once filled by not only Jaspar Carrott, but also Rory McGrath, Jim Davidson and Jon Culshaw. Wow. Jimmy Carr must be a megastar.

There’s two sides to Jimmy Carr – one is an award winning stand up comedian and the other is a clip show veteran who has a penchant for taking anything offered to him, both of which cancel each other out. Carr may very well be a talented performer but his work on the stage is eclipsed by his shit-trawling TV work, equally his variety-act level TV patter would be perfectly acceptable were it not for the fact you know that at heart he believes himself to be an edgy comedian who’s taking the money and reigning himself in.

Take Commercial Breakdown, for example. It’s a footnote in the schedules, a lazy half hour filler of foreign purchasing that was barely noticed when it reappeared on our screens so exactly why does it need to be hosted by “one of the most original and distinctive stars” on TV? Actually, it needs to be hosted by someone famous so it’s not just like searching for ‘funny advert’ on YouTube and surfing for half an hour, but why would Jimmy Carr feel the need to take it when it’s clearly below the quality threshold of someone meant to be “one of the most original and… blah blah blah.”

The thing is, Carr knows his days are numbered. Like a fat man at a buffet he is grabbing all he can because tomorrow he may not eat – Commercial Breakdown may fucking awful TV aimed at people who can’t find the remote and teenagers hoping to see a nipple, but at least it’s work.

And so Carr stands behind some kind of funky podium and expands his views on the adverts we’ve just seen – well, I say his views but what I really mean is the views of some junior production runner who was allowed access to the typewriter. He stands alone, the backdrop some kind of leftover virtual shimmy from Auntie’s Bloomers and the laughter clicks on and off when necessary.

No need for an audience, no need for a set and no need to make a programme; just grab some shit adverts off a foreign broadcaster, throw a ‘personality’ for hire infront of an automated two camera vision mixer and have him read the autocue until the egg timer goes off and the tape stops recording. It’s pretty much the same format as You’ve Been Framed, except that’s voiced over by Harry Hill who makes the programme worth watching, Commercial Breakdown is just a bit sad because you’re not sure which are more desperate – the adverts or Jimmy Carr.

So the programme is an autopiloted piece of filler, barely worth anyone’s time let alone a viewer’s, but you want to know the saddest thing is? The truly deep down heartwrenching proof of the pointlessness of Jimmy Carr and his involvement with the show? He couldn’t even get his name above the title, and it would have been aliterate as well… Jaspar Carrott managed it, hell- so did Jim Davison and he’s a racist dinosaur whose name doesn’t even begin with a C. Jimmy Carr, though, “one of the most original… etc” comedians is usurped and beaten in importance by funny adverts from foreign countries.

There’s one important thing to mention, though, before this post is over. The biography on Jimmy Carr’s website where it claimed him to be “one of the most… etc” comedians goes on to say “with 2007 looking just as exciting”. That actually explains a few things. Back in 2006 or whenever his promotions company commissioned a copywriter to squeeze out some nondescript bumpf it looked like Jimmy might actually be “one of the… etc” but now, in the harsh light, he’s just another smug talentless lump taking the money and running.

It’s a commercial breakdown alright, just a different one to what we were expecting.