I figured I’d review episode two of 10 O’Clock Live, as, with the writers having weeks to prepare for the first episode, this one should give a better idea of the series’ normal quality. I’ll just note for regular readers, all four of you, that I might not review the whole series, as I’m not sure there is enough to talk about with a show like this.
Anyway, episode two was weaker than the first, and short on satire or insight into the week’s current affairs. It was funny, and I enjoyed it, but the episode was a good illustration of the show’s problems, and the reason it’s often criticised.
Not much to say about the opening roundtable this week; it was mainly just a summary of what was coming up in the show, and a few weak jokes, complimented with the usual, slightly awkward fumbling from the hosts.
Week in Review
Similar to last week, most of the jokes in Jimmy Carr’s monologue were based on double meanings in words – Greggs’ ‘disappointing turnover’ for instance. There was a nice joke about UKIP’s positive opinion polling and how it’s the first time in history that they’re actually excited about seeing a pole. And then there was some jokes about how unemployed people are alcoholics who stay at home all day watching Jeremy Kyle.
Carr is the best argument against the view that all the hosts are left-wing liberals. Carr certainly isn’t; he’s apolitical, willing to make any joke that gets a laugh, even if it does demonise those on benefits.
Charlie Brooker’s bit wasn’t great this week. There were a lot of jokes about Nigel Farage being a racist, but there was no argument made to back this up. That’s not satire; it’s just insults. I’m not saying that there isn’t a problem with UKIP’s rhetoric and policies, but satirists need to illustrate why that is; they can’t just call them racists in a funny way.
And the Newswipe is funny, but it’s mainly just video clips and more insults; isn’t Ed Miliband boring and aren’t David Cameron and Nick Clegg twats. They are, yeah, but I’d prefer some satire of their policies in amongst the humorous abuse.
Roundtable on Local Elections
Next, the four hosts discuss the upcoming elections in England and Wales. ‘He’s memorable,’ David Mitchell says about Ed Miliband, ‘but the problem is that the memory is an unhappy one.’
Lauren Laverne mumbles something under her breath that no one can hear, which is something she needs to stop doing. A lot of people don’t like Laverne on the show, but I think you need a straight (wo)man to chair the discussion, and she does it well in my view.
Brooker doesn’t say much in this debate, so let’s instead talk about his appearance, because he looked like he was dressed against his will by a trendy stylist. He had a polo shirt on with a suit jacket over the top, the sleeves of which were either too short for him or purposefully undersized, why raises the question: why is Charlie Brooker trying to bring back 1980s fashion? Also, why does he have the haircut of a teenage X-Factor contestant? It doesn’t matter obviously; it’s just interesting because it jars so much with his grumpy personality.
Roundtable on Obama and Ian Duncan Smith
After an ad-break, they discussed Barack Obama’s appearance at the White House Correspondent’s Dinner. This was mainly a missed opportunity at decent satire. I’d love to see them point out the absurdity of journalists – who are supposed to regulate power – sitting down to an expensive dinner, wearing $600 tuxedos and laughing at the most powerful man in the world’s jokes. If you want an example of great satire, watch Stephen Colbert’s very brave performance at the 2006 dinner.
Brooker gets in some decent lines though, about Obama’s drone policy and ‘cool guy’ image, and Boris Johnson’s impenetrable shield of buffoonery. And Mitchell has a rant about cutting someone’s balls off which is funny.
The debate closes with a sketch from Angelos Epithemiou, which I didn’t think was that funny, but I think it’s an interesting direction for the show to go in; getting other comedians in for sketches
Debate on the Elderly
Mitchell completely lost control of the debate this week. There’s a problem where, because the guests are on a comedy show, they think they can throw all debate rules out the window and just shout like children. It’s really tough for Mitchell to manage.
Peter Stringfellow was annoying throughout and Janet Street-Porter, who can often be quite intelligent, was pretty bad as well and kept making straw man arguments. Shiv Malik was okay but he kept getting shouted down.
There was a lot of filler as the guests wandered off into irrelevant discussion, and whenever things got interesting everyone started screaming. ‘This won’t work unless you all shout completely at once,’ Mitchell said, despairing. Probably best to just write this one off.
The episode ended with a closing discussion. There’s a man too sexy for Saudi Arabia, and a David Mitchell head made of cheese.
So not a great episode. Short on satire and with quite a lot of filler, and some weak jokes. But I still enjoyed it. Judging from reaction online, there’s a real split in opinion on 10 O’Clock Live. I’m in the camp that likes it, weak episodes and all.
- ‘Nigel Farage – played by Admiral Ackbar from Return of the Jedi.’
- ‘Talk about lazy immigrants; these ones are too lazy to even come here so we can send them back to where they didn’t come from.’
- ‘It’s a message only slightly undermined by the massive woollen foreskin hanging round his neck at the time.’
- ‘Ed Miliband there: The only leader so soporific it’s actually illegal to listen to him while driving or using heavy machinery.’
- ‘I’m starting to find him quite annoying. He’s like the world’s first ironic president. He does comedy sketches inbetween drone bombing villages in Pakistan. It’s like he’s hoping North Korea doesn’t kick off because he’s pencilled-in to guest host Buzzcocks.’
- ‘I’m from 1673.’ ‘It’s like working with the guy from Quantum Leap.’
- ‘Boris Johnson can pretty much shit himself.’ ‘Here’s hoping because that would be an easy week for us.’
- ‘I can clarify; we don’t live in Stalinist Russia.’
- ‘Ultimately, people want to fuck robots.’ ‘Are you sure about this theory?’ ‘Yeah, I’ve invested a lot of money, so…’