Saturday, 12 November 2011

Review – A Week in TV Comedy

If there is one rule in comedy it is a very simple one: be funny. So much can be forgiven if you get this basic guideline right; from non-PC stereotypes to ill-judged satire. Ricky Gervais and Co. Inc. seem to have forgotten this. Rather they think their self proclaimed super start status and large pay packet will automatically guarantee success. If anything proves their egos wrong it is Life's Too Short. The lack of humour exposes Gervais nasty side. In Gervais previous shows you laughed, mostly, at the Gervais character; here you are expected to laugh at disability. But the writing offers nothing funny so the result is, at best, simply embarrassing. From the trailers the program looked as if it would be dire. The only reason for watching was the previous success of The Office and Extras. And presumably Gervais had to do some work to make these so amusing. Now he assumes his mere presence will guarantee an audience; no longer is there the need to think things through. The rubbish presented proves this is not true.

On Thursday night, prior to the sad Gervais, was another new comedy. Rev is about a hapless vicar. It was conventional, contained the occasional laugh and was not wildly exciting. It was the best thing reviewed here largely because everything else was so disappointing.

After Mr Gervais we had Mr Frank Skinner apparently being opinionated. There was the occasional smirk here but the program was largely nondescript. Skinner presents himself edgy and topical; largely achieved by being safe and trivial. I shall not be bothering next week.

Overall comedy seems to by playing it safe theses days; so safe that it does not deserve to call itself comedy. Hopefully if there is a rising tide of anti-capitalism, growing protest against the cuts, Tories, banks and establishment then a few comedians will have the courage to buck the corporate quagmire.

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