Showcase Canada just premiered this British (duh) sketch comedy show last night, showing two half-hour episodes. I gather this is huge in England, but I can’t quite figure out whether or not I like it.
The show is sort of like Kids In The Hall or The League Of Gentlemen (except both of those shows are much more consistent) in that the two leads, Matt Lucas and David Wallaims, play a staggering amount of reoccuring characters. Some of these are very funny - I’m fond of the two teenage motormouth girls, and Wallaims’ “highly unconvincing” transvestite.
Some of the visual jokes are fast little throwaways, in the style of the old Dave Allen show. (A typical one: Naked man leaves his house, walks a couple of steps and then snaps his fingers as if he’s forgotten something. Goes back into the house and leaves again, still naked, but now carrying a briefcase.) The absolute best part of the show is Tom Baker’s narration, which is supposed to be an informative commentary on modern British life but is actually just a bunch of made up “facts” about Britain (“We’ve had running water for over ten years and we invented the cat!” “When people in Britain want to buy a pet, they go to a pet shop. If they want to buy a pet shop, they go to a pet shop shop. If they want to buy a pet shop shop, well, they’re just being silly.”) There’s also a funny bit where he introduces a sketch about the Prime Minister, but then quickly explains he’s not really the Prime Minister but just some guy who was on “Buffy”. (The Prime Minister does indeed turns out to be Anthony Stewart Head.)
Unfortunately, based on the two episodes I saw, it looks like they essentially come up with one joke for a character, and then simply retell that joke with slight variations. The wheelchair-bound Andy is a good example - within two episodes, they did the character about four times and it was literally the same joke every time. Definitely has a whiff of the sort of catchphrase-mania that SNL likes to indulge in. Still, there were one or two things that made me laugh out loud, so I’ll give it another try next week.
Can any of you Brits here tell me whether or not it gets better after the first couple of episodes, or have I seen pretty much everything the show has to offer?