The song that begins each episode of It’s Kevin is always really good, with the lyrics changing each week and Kevin Eldon strutting around some interesting backdrops. It has got my hopes up three weeks in a row and each time I’ve felt let down by the poor sketches that follow.
I counted 18 sketches in episode three, only two of which I liked. Three of them were okay, and there were a few isolated funny moments within the poor sketches, plus the songs which were fun. That’s probably just over one third of the show which was enjoyable to two thirds which was poor. That’s a pretty bad ratio even for a sketch show.
One of the biggest problems It’s Kevin has is that sketches are often completely lacking in jokes and are instead built around punchlines and the premise. Take the beefeater sketch in this episode, which went its whole length without a joke beyond Eldon’s amusing performance and the punchline that his character didn’t know about the Tower of London.
Even worse was a sketch about someone travelling back in time to kill Andrew Lloyd Webber. It was three minutes long and had just two jokes: the premise that someone would travel back in time just to kill Lloyd Webber and the punchline when it is revealed Tim Rice ripped off Rolf Harris’ leg. At a push, you could maybe say the wackiness of the sketch was a joke, but I’ve already written extensively about the laziness of using such absurdity in place of an actual joke.
A three minute sketch can’t have just two jokes in it. This problem occurred in a number of the sketches, for instance, the child chef sketch or the Alexander Graham Bell one. They had nothing but a punchline. And then there were the sketches that relied entirely on absurdity, like the wrist perfume one, or Stewart Lee pointlessly showing up for 15 seconds to make a bad joke.
There was though some sketches towards the end that I enjoyed. The Amish version of the sex pistols’ notorious interview was funny and innovative, contrasting the two extremes of morality to good effect, and I liked the purposefully lame ‘hold your hand over one eye’ sketch, which reminded me of an ingenious Andy Kaufman bit.
The show ended on a song about catchphrases which was really well directed and edited, with the words of the song appearing superimposed on the screen and Eldon filmed at skewered angles in his weird, white world. The show in general is really well directed, adding quite a lot to the comedy and the world Eldon has created. Al Campbell was the director, and according to IMDB he also directed Charlie Brooker’s Screenwipe and Newswipe shows, which were also visually stunning.
It’s a shame that inbetween the songs It’s Kevin has been consistently mediocre. Hopefully future episodes will improve, but I’m not that optimistic after the first three. Another three episodes left though, so still time for it to improve.
- ‘Is seeing believing?’ ‘Well…’ ‘Rhetorical question.’ ‘Ah.’ ‘You do know what a rhetorical question is?’ ‘Oh, sorry, I thought that was a rhetorical question. Yes I do know what a rhetorical question is; who doesn’t?’ ‘Lots of people.’ ‘No, that was a rhetorical question.’
- ‘Got a cat called Lady Gaga that’s got a face that looks like it’s been squashed in a vice.’
- ‘I would not like to get my head between those two beauties and go waba waba waba.’ The poet sketch was funny but it’s the same joke Tim Key has been doing for years now.