The idea of Live At The Electric is perfect on paper. An entertainment show showcasing the country’s next big comedians. Whether it’s stand up, physical, or even sketch comedy. But upon watching the show, the hope that it could be anywhere near as good as it seemed on paper floats further and further into the realms of fantasy.It’s an unfunny and moronic attempt at a something the BBC really should be better at. Something, which if it used the right comedians, could be heaps better than the current state it seems to be now.
The case for the prosecution:
The show is presented by Russell Kane, a comedian with a) one of the worst hairstyles ever seen on television, and b) jokes that are utterly tasteless and unoriginal. It makes you eager to switch over in seconds. His material consists of crude sex jokes, which just don’t work when you’re that over-eager and so keen to get a cheap laugh from the audience. And given these are the sort of jokes every new comedian is basing their material on these days; Kane isn’t exactly going to stand out from the crowd. And if by some miracle he does, it won’t be for the right reasons.
Following the abominable opening act, we are then greeted to a mixture of live stand up acts from a variety of comedians I’ve never heard of, as well as one or two pre recorded sketches in order for this so-called “variety” show to pass itself off as variety.
The sad thing about this episode is the fact that not a single one of the acts was remotely amusing. Take Marcel Lucont for instance. He’s presented as a chain-smoking, insult throwing Frenchmen, where his entire act is ticking off every French stereotype in the book. Not funny, not engaging, and most certainly not one to watch.
We also have the unfortunate return of two hugely overrated “comedians,” Joe Wilkinson (The one who looks like he’s homeless) and Diana Morgan (she’s on the Charlie Brooker shows). I’ll give Morgan the pass seeing as she’s been funny on other shows, but Wilkinson is such a dry personality, he seems to lack any comedic bone in his body. He possesses no charisma, no eagerness to sweep up the audience in laughter, and overall comes off as damp and sleep inducing.
Another one worth warning you away from is Paul Curry (yes, that’s his real name). A man who offers no life jacket for this sinking ship of a first episode. His physical comedy sketch on stage consists of him playing Russian roulette with a puppet, whilst he pulls the most pitiable facial expressions ever seen on a television programme. The only positive element of this segment was the reminder of what a talented and unique creation Mr Bean was in the early 90s. It seems that physical comedy is very much a lost art in this country; only mimicked by the equivalent of the class clown in your English class.
For what is a grand idea, Live At The Electric fails to even remotely showcase strong comedic talent. Opting instead to give licence fee money to the most clichéd, lacklustre personalities that showed up at last year’s Edinburgh Fringe and successfully schmooze BBC execs.