10 O’clock live – ‘At least 90 per cent of the subject matter is as crusty as yesterday’s underwear’

10 O’Clock Live

It should have been the Holy Grail of late-night topical comedy shows. Well, at least that’s how Channel Four marketed it in the near-hysterical pre-launch publicity. Featuring irreverent stand-up comedian Jimmy Carr, Geek poster boy David Mitchell, savage Guardian columnist Charlie Brooker and, er, Lauren Laverne, Channel Four promised us a sizzling slice of current affairs satire ”“ a British equivalent to ”˜The Daily Show’ if you will.

So why are my cravings for a genuinely funny look back on ”˜the week that was’ still not satisfied?

The painfully executed sketches, a pre-pubescent determination to the use the ”˜f-word’, the headache-inducing set”¦ It’s hard to pinpoint what exactly is wrong with ”˜10 O Clock Live’ other than that, just like Katie Price, everything about it is naff innit?

When ”˜The ”˜11 O’Clock Show’ first aired in 1998 it deservedly achieved cult status ”“ not least because of Ali G and his knowingly toe-curling interviews with everyone from Tony Benn to Edwin ”˜Buzz’ Aldrin. It was fresh, taboo and piss funny featuring Sacha Baron Cohen – a Dennis Pennis for the next generation – and star-in-the-making Ricky Gervais.

Hard to believe that 20 years later one of its original writers, Charlie Brooker, is now embroiled in this comic travesty.

Witness the usually-brilliant David Mitchell on last week’s show – introducing two gynaecologists and claiming they’re ”˜well-used to being surrounded by twats’. It’s all a bit Jonathan Ross presenting the BAFTAs rather than the type of razor-witted comedy I’d optimistically expected.

Where are the cult characters? The blistering tirades? If you can imagine this, it comes off like a liberal version of ”˜Top Gear’ ”“ without the motors of course.
Don’t get me wrong, the ”˜Listen to Mitchell’ monologue is a high point in terrain that’s flatter than Holland. But even then I can’t help but draw unfavourable comparisons with Bird and Fortune’s delicious swipes at Government incompetence.

The single biggest flaw in the show however is the unfathomable decision to broadcast it live. Why?
. Unless you’re mainlining Twitter live on air and responding to breaking news (which would be my recommendation to liven up proceedings) there is simply no need for this twist to the format.

If anything, at least pre-recording it would give Laverne a break from trying to sneak glances at her cue-card like a 13-year-old in an exam hall.

Reduced in status to nothing more than a shiny bauble, her duties appear to include ”˜unofficial presenter’ and ”˜seat warmer’. For a smart, funny, knowledgeable lass like Lauren this is a criminal state of affairs.

So how does Channel Four go about rescuing this dead duck of a show? Well you could do worse than getting Charlie Brooker’s old mucker Chris Morris in as executive producer ”“ that’ll put the cat amongst the pigeons. As for the presenters”¦ its late-night on Channel Four! Stop holding back and unleash that comedy shitstorm we’re all waiting for.

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