Comedy Cuts (3 stars)

ITV2, Thu 18 Jan, 10.55pm


Some people hold the view that since the demise of The Tube, TV’s commissioning heads haven’t really taken live music seriously. Well, what of live comedy then? Apart from the Stand-Up Show, Scotland’s Live Floor Show, and the odd bonanza on Paramount, there’s barely been a regular vehicle for aspiring stand-ups on the circuit who aren’t close buddies of Jack Dee. And yet here comes little old ITV2, the place where 80s American movies, Emmerdale repeats and Judge Judy go to die, giving the young comics of the land a golden opportunity to air their wares.

The format here is that the comics do some quickfire snippets of their material, not upon the stand-up stage but in any mocked-up situation that the directorial likes of Stewart Lee, John Gordillo and Cal McCrystal have deemed appropriate. So, we get Katy Brand talking to some zoo animals about relationships, Mark Watson talking to us in a park about army recruitment adverts, Brendon Burns lifting weights and pondering the future of Down’s Syndrome and Howard Read telling his animated pal Little Howard a disturbing bedtime story.

The nature of this particular beast is that there are as many misses as there are hits (the semi-nude balletics of Spymonkey and the cul de sac ramblings of Josie Long are the obvious downsides) but where else on TV will you see Phil Nichol recreating his classic skit about simulating rough sex with his girlfriend’s elderly Irish father? Nowhere, that’s where.

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