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Thursday, 21 July 2011

Show Me The Funny, ITV

Show Me the Funny. Judge Kate Copstick, Alan Davies with host Jason Manford

When reality TV hit America in the mid norties just like in the UK every possible format where a contestant could be judged, humiliated and sent packing was tried. Some of these tries worked others well they’re the ones that gave reality the bad name that sometimes comes with it. One of the formats I personally think worked well in the states was an NBC series called Last Comic Standing. Like most of these shows the premise of the show is fairly easy to work out thanks to the simple title. It saw a team of comics touring America trying to find undiscovered stand ups and put them up against one another each week. As is customary in these things the public was given the task of dialing a telephone number to tell producers who they liked and wanted to see the following week. Unfortunately those who didn’t get as many votes as the others were sent home! Are you following? It may not have been revolutionary but in the age of Survivor and American Idol it was nice to see a show that didn’t involve a singing voice or a backstabbing tactic to win just a sheer sense of humour. It had its downsides, it was drawn out for far too long and often the comics weren’t top notch shall we say but on the whole it wasn’t too taxing on the ole brain and also didn’t over dramatize itself as so often happens on reality TV.
Fast forward to 2011 and ITV announce new reality series Show Me the Funny. Perhaps a more over optimistic title than Last Comic Standing but I thought worth a shot. Yes its another reality competition but guest judges Alan Davies and Jimmy Tarbuck lulled me into a false sense of security by assuring me they’d never lend their names to something tawdry and half arsed. I’m not a fan of the term half arsed but it does work in certain circumstances and Show me the funny is the perfect one of these. Let’s go through the downsides of this half arsed piece of Monday Night TV shall we..

Firstly, the title didn’t deliver. Show Me the Funny never actually lived up to its name as instead of showing us the funny (comics making crowds of Liverpudlian Women giggle) It spent the first 23 minutes sending the contestants on a ridiculous and completely unnecessary wild goose chase finding women called Michelle and trying to find stuff out about Liverpool from the customers at a hairdressers. Now those who know me will tell you I’m not always known for my use of common sense but if I had been in that production office and someone had suggested giving the wannabe comics dopey little tasks to do before we even see if they’re funny or not I can assure you my hand would’ve shot up!

Unlike the X Factor the contestants never told us their sob stories. No one appeared to have lost their father or had a traumatic accident with a trombone but even that would’ve filled the gap better than sending them out and about to wonder aimlessly As a result I know nothing more about each participant having the seen the first episode as I did before I started.

By the time the comics did take to the stage in front of the all female crowd in Liverpool its fair to say I was deflated and barely interested. Host Jason Manford took on a sort of Ant & Dec on Britain’s got talent role, standing at the stage door commenting on each act as they either “had the room in the palm of their hand” or “died a very visible death” on stage. This was actually quite a nice little idea except again whilst Jason was critiquing we missed out on yet more Standup comedy! I ask again Show Me the ruddy Funny!

Each comic was asked to write a new five minute set but with all the dozy running around when they took to the stage the producers only had time to show us under two minuets of each routine. This is a standup comedy competition right? Even more annoyingly even when an act seemed to have the room by the short and curlies us TV viewers were still left in the dark about how well they had actually done as we saw virtually none of their performance.

Truth be told I did enjoy the grilling the final two acts received from the judges, particularly the Kate Copstick who took on the role of Simon Cowell with ease but once the first contestant had be booted off and the promo for next week’s episode were trailed I realized we would be treated to the same pointless tasks again (this time in an army base why!) and lost interest completely. Its very easy to be an internet blogger and say “oh I could’ve done that better” when you’ve had no experience in such things but in this case I think its true. It is a genuine shame because if the show had focused more on making the TV audience laugh instead of trying to be a poor imitation of the Apprentice it may’ve worked. It should have worked. I’m not alone in my disappointment here as ratings the following morning revealed it was royally trounced by BBC1’s New Tricks (its alright, Its OK) and I suspect half of those people will be watching something else next Monday or enjoying a summers evening out even if its tipping it down.

There will be a live final where the winner will win some cash and a DVD deal to be in the shops for Christmas but who will buy the DVD when they’ve not been given the chance to see an act perform! Furthmore who will buy the DVD when no one is watching the show?

Were you watching? What Did you think? Add a comment Below..


Anonymous said...

Wow, you really want to work in tv dontcha? Always better to join in and show us what you can do than snipe away on the sidelines. 'If I was in that production office'?? You'd get eaten alive mate. All that could be forgiven if you actually had some fresh insight. Poor, poor piece

Daryl said...

I have to agree with your review. I tuned in expecting to see comedy. Then half of the programme was wasted on pointless tasks and most of the performances were cut down to next-to-nothing. FHM Stand Up Hero on ITV4 was far better.

They could learn a lot from Fool Us. That show actually dares to show the acts!

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