Here’s a clip of Kevin Eldon’s stand-up, which includes some of the characters used in It’s Kevin. Eldon is a comic actor, and in front of an audience, in a more personal space, his unique mix of characters and funny faces and improvisation works far better than it does on It’s Kevin. A sketch show just isn’t, in my view, the best format for Eldon’s humour. He’s a very funny actor, and an interesting and different stand-up, but not, I think, a great writer. And his ideas for this show have been supplemented by sketches from other writers which mostly just aren’t very good.
That said, there were some decent skits in episode five. One, about a former music hall star, had elements disappointingly similar to The Fast Show’s Arthur Atkinson sketch (although Paul Whitehouse was in this episode, so presumably he doesn’t mind), but the interview between Eldon and the former star’s grandson was funny, as Eldon awkwardly treated the man as a child – ‘How old are you?’ ‘I’m 37.’ ’37? Wow…would you like some juice?’ The comic timing in the sketch was great, along with the reactions and facial expressions of Eldon and Rufus Jones as the grandson.
That was pretty much the only outstanding sketch in the episode though. There was a decent one about a competition between two outraged 1970’s vicars but it went on far too long – five minutes in total, or 20% of the episode’s run time. That’s if you include the buckets of water gag that broke the sketch up, which was the same joke as last week’s screaming pillows sketch, which as I pointed out last review, is a joke done many times before. So, it’s derivative of a derivative then, which is at best very lazy.
Episode five also leaned heavily on the absurd. There where two sketches, one in which Eldon wonders if there is any difference between being shot at dawn and being shot at dusk, and one about David Hockney, which were so baffling I think I must have missed something. Then there was Crab Marley, a reggae singing crab, which is the type of thing you might find on YouTube, smirk at, and then forget forever. Televised comedy shows need to be better than that.
The poet sketch had some funny lines, the Perspective Twins raised a laugh and the bizarre sketch in which Sanjeev Kohli seemingly sits in a room interminably guiding flies out of a window was funny in a Chris Morris’ Jam kind of way. And then there were the songs: one at the start which was good, one in the middle about kings which was uncharacteristically flat, and quite bland in direction, and the final one, Caveman Pop, which was okay, although the commenters on YouTube seem to have taken issue with its similarity to a Horrible Histories sketch (presumably this one). It’s becoming a bit of a problem; this show’s similarities to other shows. To be fair, it is tough to be original with a sketch show.
It’s impossible to know, without having access to specific writing credits, whether Kevin Eldon is lacking as a writer or if he just didn’t have enough material for six 30 minute episodes. Either way, it’s a shame that a show with such potential has been so consistently poor in its writing.
- ‘That’s really rattled them – the bum there.’
- ‘Available in what bookshops there are still left.’
- ‘But wait. What’s that up in the road ahead? A car crash and the driver’s dead. And by the road stands an orphaned vole and he laughs and he shouts from the depths of his soul. Aha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-HA. Death to the driver, death to the car. Roadside, roadside, gene-cide. Roadside, roadside, geneciiiidDrive care-fullyyyyyy.’
- The comic strip sketch at the end had the 1967 hit I Was Kaiser Bill’s Batman by Whistling Jack Smith as the soundtrack, the bizarre music video for which is well worth a watch.