Where this was once “Much watch” TV due to the complete craziness, unpredictability and downright rudeness, it’s become a fairly standard TV Award show. No more Spike Milligan calling Prince Charles a “Grovelling Little Bastard” or Michael Barrymore ruining the set, gone are the days when Julian Clary could be banned from TV for making a gay joke about the then Chancellor Norman Lamont and it’s been a while since Kathy Burke got pissed and heckled a Knight of the Realm.
Why? Because comedy is big business and this is no longer the office party – instead it’s become a place where you can sell a few more DVDs and promote your huge arena tour instead. Meet up with executives to talk about new projects and schmooze your way round everyone. Well that’s how it comes across on the TV these days. I love my comedy and many of the faces tonight I will have seen live in the past and will continue to but more and more that’s where the real anarchy and interesting work is being done – on stage. There are a few really good examples of British TV comedy this year with the exception of the IT Crowd Special, Count Arthur Strong and the ever brilliant Have I got News For You, but on the other hand we have had to suffer Mrs Brown’s Boys, Jason Byrne’s Father Figure and Sarah Millican’s TV Programme. Sarah and Jason are brilliant live but for me their shows just don’t work.
Ross Noble’s Freewheeling on Dave was a brilliant show but not very well publicised and Matt Berry’s Toast of London was hidden away on a Sunday night at 10.30pm. How do we expect new and exciting comedy to make an impact when they are not advertised or in the mainstream. That’s a big concern because Graham Norton aside and the Panel shows what does BBC1 have to offer us with comedy – BBC2 only has Count Arthur Strong – ITV have nothing as usual and Ch4 have been quite hit and miss.
Where are the new sit-coms that everyone talks about and buys the DVDs of? Where are the new presenters rather than the same old faces? The only fresh face really has been the brilliant Adam Hills & Co with the Last Leg. 8 out of 10 Cats has lost it’s edge and has just become cruel, Buzzcocks has it’s moments but even Phill looks bored now, Jonathan Ross’s chat show is terrible and when a kids show – Horrible Histories – is winning adults awards you know there are issues with comedy in prime time!
Edit – Friday 13th Dec: Thank you Johnny Vegas for lifting what was an average night and made it very funny indeed. there’s nothing better than when he let’s rip at any and everyone. Oh and Channel 4, at what point did you think it was a good idea to cut Steve Coogan off in his acceptance speech for a repeat of Gogglebox?