The Kevin Bishop Show Review: Comedy Skit & Miss

July 30, 2009 by  
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THE KEVIN BISHOP SHOW REVIEW: Friday 31st July,  Channel 4, 10pm Alert Me

By definition, sketch shows almost always fall into the hit-and-miss category – it’s just a question of what ratio they can manage.

Kevin Bishop’s latest series lands slap-bang in the middle of the comedy highway – refreshing in parts, but equally bland in others.

Making someone laugh is not easy. I manage it every day as I stumble half-asleep onto some part of the tube, but generally the comedy rule is that if it wasn’t intentional, it doesn’t count. In shows where performers parody TV and celebrity culture, because we have nearly always seen it before, the task is slightly harder.

Bishop is a competent impressionist, but what we’re really after is something which seems familiar yet delivers the unexpected. In its early exchanges this show looks like it might achieve this, but ultimately it fell as short as a hung-over commuter on the circle line.

There were definitely parts which made me chuckle. The mild rippings of House and Jason Statham were brightly conceived and I lol-ed at ‘The Secret Tramp’, a superbly executed version of The Secret Millionaire.

However these highlights departed as quickly as they had arrived, and I was left waiting for the end of an average sketch on more than one occasion. This was a pity because before he ran out of steam, it seemed like the writer had genuinely aimed to push boundaries.

Adopting the presentation technique which makes viewers feel like they are flicking between channels, the show’s quick-succession sketches meant that misses were quickly forgotten, but also hinted at the producer’s lack of confidence in the material.

Despite this, there were a couple of real gems in here. A particularly good moment was the deliciously cynical trailer which appeared to be modelled on Red Riding – with every character simply repeating the phrase ‘gritty bafta’ as they acted out various clips.

The recurring theme of the show was Bishop taking a dig at Frost/Nixon by recreating some of TVs most memorable interviews. In three clips Bishop recalled the appearances of George Best, Keith & Orville and Oliver Reed. Fittingly, they were good, bad and average.

Charlie Brooker will not be looking over his shoulder just yet.

Sean Marland