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Times Review of Vic Reeves show

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Ian Robinson
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2009 2:02 pm    Post subject: Times Review of Vic Reeves show Reply with quote

They don't like it!


What's on the schtick? Just the same old Vic
Vic Reves's new panel show is a tired and tedious reminder that its host is just not funny any more
Chris Campling

It's not hard to work out why Vic Reeves's execrable “comedy” panel show Does the Team Think? was given a second series (Radio 2, Saturdays, 1pm). Someone influential in the BBC labours under the false impression that Reeves appeals to that vital listening demographic, the Youth. “Yes, I know that Reeves is about as funny as a plate of cold sick to anyone over 35,” the powerbroker would have said at commissioning meetings, “but the young people can't get enough of that wacky and surreal stuff.”

And they would have been right, up to more or less 15 years ago.

But now the young people who went around saying “What's on the stick, Vic?” to each other and laughing like coyotes are no longer young, and young people today just think he's stupid. With the result that Does the Team Think? is what Reeves was doing in 1993, but to an audience of the young grown older.

For the first programme (of eight - God help us) Reeves gathered around him what you would think would be a pretty foolproof cast to answer questions from the studio audience: Jack Dee, Julian Clary, Ulrika Jonsson and the funny half of Vic'n'Bob, Bob Mortimer.

But if you gather a few gnarled old hacks together to be spontaneously funny, you run the risk that they will soon realise that the audience isn't there to be entertained but to recapture their own youth. Once Dee et al had sussed that this was money for old rope none of them really tried - after about 20 minutes they were saying, “Oh, I don't know” and getting a laugh for it - and the whole thing descended into torpor.

Reeves did try. He made jokes about Clary being gay and Jonsson being sex-crazed, just like always, and said wacky and surreal things about the people putting the questions - “that woman there, the one with a hat made out of toffee”; “the man there with an ice-cream cone on his face”. And he got laughs. Sad laughs, with an edge of elegy.

It's significant that the programme is part of that curious melange of the desirable and the dire, the Saturday afternoon Radio 2 comedy hour, after what used to be the Jonathan Ross (now Liza Tarbuck, be still my beating heart) show and before Dermot O'Leary's. It's worth your while dipping into it, because while the slot is quite capable of letting, say, Alan Carr show that whatever Vic Reeves can do, he can do worse, it also gives a home to stuff you're glad you heard, especially by accident.

At the moment that's provided by Jason Byrne, who follows Reeves and should have him weeping into his pillow. Not because what he does is that groundbreaking - it's just observational stand-up and sketches - but it's obvious that someone has sat down and thought about what he was going to say, memorised and rehearsed it, rather than believe that all you have to do is show up and be brilliantly funny because it's part of what you are. Some people can manage the trick - Robin Williams, Peter Cook, George Bush - but most of us can't, OK?
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 22, 2009 11:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My sentiments exactly. It was dire rubbish. Not only was it not funny, Reeves has got just about the most unappealing "delivery" of any comic I know. Sneering, leering..... interfering with what the panel were saying. Yet another Saturday lunchtime disaster for me. Only marginally worse than that one with Jennifer Saunders' husband in it. Crying or Very sad
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