Did we like it?
There’s clearly some talent there as the performances were often measured and showed signs of real promise, but about half the sketches were derivative, shrivelled acorns of mighty comedy oaks.
What was good about it?
• The clown who mournfully states “I was hit by a ladder and pies, and had a bucket of water thrown down my trousers. And thanks to Claims R Us I received £4,000…”
• The 18th century literature spoof in which a stuffy officers attempts to challenge a foppish “cad” to a duel were thwarted by his accidental assault of the cad’s bystander wife first by slapping her with a glove and then by elbowing her as he draws his sword.
• The ranting cockney who discovers a magical Lion, Witch & Wardrobe kingdom in his downstairs cloakroom.
• The grown-up man who visits Santa’s grotto, sits on his knee and demands a “sit on lawnmower”.
• The ‘wildlife’ enthusiast who sets up a ‘slag trap’ in his garden, baited with cheap spirits. It would have been even funnier if the follow-up sketch hadn’t been as uninspired as revealing that the trap caught a slick businessman and not its intended targets.
• We’re not sure about the simmering middle-class couple who, she thinks, resolve their problems by singing them to one another.
What was bad about it?
• The weird videodate woman was done better and with more spark by Smack The Pony.
• While the two dim-witted plasterers will compare unfavourably with Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse’s Lee and Lance.
• The vicar who recalled when he used to visit Manchester City games and then recited the obscene chants was far too similar to many sketches – most pertinently The Fast Show’s Patrick Nice – that associate vulgar or fantastical anecdotes with a polite, gentle character, and failed to add anything new.
• The indignant office worker who denies that she is keeping a pony on the premises despite being dressed as a show jumper and ordering a bale of hay.
• The dull cyclists from Norwich who bore a succession of Devon innkeepers to death, literally.
• One of the most frustrating sketches was where a man introduces the notion that while setting up a device on his computer he was instructed “not to disconnect”, this had us salivating at the potential punch line, the more ludicrous the better; disappointingly the consequence for the man was a slightly misshapen hand.
• The tiresome Dungeons & Dragons parody that cuts out the geeky teenager cardboard stereotype from the back of a packet of serials before indulging in an enervating sketch of how the “dungeon master” kills off one of his friend’s characters after he spots him holding hands with one of the girls playing the game. In order to be funny, it relies on the viewer being a pot-bellied buffoon who has met only six people in their lives with an IQ of more than 55, and all of them down the pub with their tongues swimming in a puddle of their own vomit.
• The two posh blokes in a wine bar whose banter consists exclusively of jocular mockery that everything the other does is “gay”, only for them to be unveiled as closet repressed homosexuals. Again something that has been done thousands of times before, and much better.