Posts Tagged ‘Marcus Brigstocke’

The Friday Question: Never Ever?

April 3, 2009

There’s a new show over on BBC4, along the lines of Room 101, wherein celebrities admit to never having partaken of four or five cultural experiences.

I’ve never seen any of the Godfather trilogy, read a Dan Brown novel or listened to the music of The Grateful Dead. The idea is – were I one of those famous celebs – that they would invite me on and I would try these things out – then rate them out of ten.

Much laughter would ring through the studio as I expressed my bafflement at the popularity of my experiences or raved about my newfound discovery.

We haven’t got the time or patience to have you try out the things you’ve never done, and we certainly can’t hang about whilst you bang on about whether you enjoyed yourself or not.

Probably best then just to own up to some popular pastime or entertainment you’ve never had the pleasure of enjoying so that we can all point and laugh at you – or tell you not to bother trying it, whatever it is.

So – what cultural phenomenon have you never, ever experienced?

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One Minute Review: Argumental

November 4, 2008

This new comedy panel game is the first of Dave’s home-grown output, I think. I suppose they’re going to run out of QI and Top Gear repeats eventually, so it seems prudent to start making some of their own stuff.

This is rubbish though. Lovely old buffer John Sergeant as the host just looks pleased to be back on telly again and is either a better actor than I thought or genuinely finds these twats amusing.

The idea is this: two teams of two comedians. John gives them a subject to argue for or against. The audience vote for who is the winner.

It’s taken one of the rounds from Mock The Week and made a whole series out of it. I guess these things really stand or fall on the quality of the comedians and the two team captains, Marcus Brigstocke and Rufus Hound, just aren’t funny enough to carry it in my view.

The arrogant notion that you can be hilarious just by standing up and improvising can be quashed by going to any comedy night and seeing some dick trying it on stage. You can tell who’s laughing in the audience – it’ll be either drama students or pished under 21’s.

Some people can do it excellently, of course. I’m not really a fan of Mock The Week, but I think some of the guys on that do it fairly well. The master, for me, is the peerless Paul Merton. But it’s not nearly as easy as it looks, as anyone tuning into this forgetable rubbish will find out.

Thank God You’re Here

January 28, 2008

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.