The home of Critic, Writer and Film-maker: Liam Walters

Where Did The Funny Man Go?

Written By: Liam Walters

So I was checking my Twitter updates, when I noticed Lee Mack in the Trending Topics. As quite a fan of the funny man, I decided to go check out what all the tweets were about. Most, were talking poorly of Lee Mack’s new show. One or two people did praise the show, but the majority of the tweets were saying how bad the show was. After a quick search, I found the show to be Lee Mack’s All Star Cast, a celebrity talk show hosted by Lee Mack. So what I decided to do was go watch the first episode (first broadcasted earlier on today) and see if all the negative comments were true. Having watched the episode, I can now say… It really is quite bad.

To be honest, I think that it’s quite a shame. I love Lee Mack’s stand up routines, and when I normally see him on the Tv I sit and watch him. I will admit, I have only seen one episode of his sitcom ‘Not Going Out’, but I found that quite funny as well, and have been meaning to check out more of the series. So the question is, what happened?

I think part of the problem is Mack himself. I mean, most people, by now will be used to the transition of stand up comedians, becoming actors with their own show. To name a few, we have Jack Dee’s ‘Lead Balloon’, Sean Locks ’15 Storeys High’ and Dylan Moran’s ‘Black Book’ (albeit co-created with Graham Linehan), as well as what we mentioned earlier with Lee Mack’s sitcom, ‘Not Going Out’. However, seeing them make the transition to a chat show is just a little odd. It worked well with ‘I’ve Never Seen Star Wars’ (Marcus Bridgestocke) or ‘TV Heaven, Telly Hell’ (Sean Lock), or other such programs, but they work because, to start, they’re on a more one to one basis, and secondly, they still focused on the comedy aspects.

The problem with ‘All Star Cast’ is that it’s basically like a chat show, but with a few, quite very bad one-liners thrown in. There is also a quite disappointing and more or less needless sketch towards the end, which I can only figure is there to fill out the time slot. I mean, I hope these get better and funnier throughout the episodes, but first impressions, I wouldn’t watch this if it was on television (oh wait, it is).

Although as needless as the sketch show is, at least it isn’t bad as the stand up routine part way into the show. Basically, each week they’ll get a different stand up comedian, to come on and have their own part of the show to do a routine. All good and such, yes? No. It’s not even the stand up comedian. They had Stewart Francis, who has actually made me laugh on a few occasions. No, the problem I have is that it only lasted 2 minutes… That’s right, 2 minutes of stand up comedy. I mean, what is even the point? It’s like they planned the entire show, only to find out they had 2 minutes which they couldn’t fill with anything else, and so they decided that they should just let some funny person talk for those 2 minutes.

I’ve been banging on about the comedic side of things, so what about the actual chat show kind of things? Well… It’s just not really good. This week he had Frank Skinner and Fern Britton on as the main guests, and I’ll admit, I’m not exactly a big fan of theirs, but even so. No real questions or insights were made. The whole thing just didn’t really go anywhere.

The audience interaction on the show, which is a bit more involved due to that being how features of the show works… Just really don’t. They just jump on the people (not literally, because that would be a MUCH better show), the audience member talks for a few moments, and then goes. You really just don’t feel anything for these people. I mean, it’s not like they get any special prize. One of them gets a part in the sketch towards the end of the show (This weeks winner got to be a cow, in a fridge… I don’t know whether to say woo or moo). Another winner got to sit on the sofa after the credits and say who’s on next week (exhilarating stuff), and another person, who was actually sat in their home doing their act over the internet, got told she could return for next weeks show…

To be honest, I can think of no better phrase than the one my friend used to describe the show, which is ‘Pretty Poor’. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to the BBC to go pitch ‘Lee Mack’s Jumping on Audiences’…

Maybe I’ll try Channel 4 instead.


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