TV review: The Javone Prince Show, BBC Two
A fresh new face for British comedy gets his own show
You might not instantly recognise the name but you might have seen the face: Javone Prince has been popping up in the likes of PhoneShop, Horrible Histories and Little Miss Jocelyn over the last few years. Now, BBC Two have taken a risk putting him front and centre in his own brand new series.
It's a mix of stand-up, sketches and live music (Mica Paris, Alexander O'Neill and Carleen Anderson all pop up over the first three episodes) before each show ends with the audience on their feet for the 'candy time' dance. As a young black comedian, it's understandable that many of Prince's jokes are based on race, affectionately mocking elements of Afro-Caribbean culture and skewering perceptions of stereotypes, particularly in running gag 'black people … since 1948'. Other sketches include a Made in Chelsea pastiche 'Made in Peckham' and street magician Fucko with his catch phrase 'Africadabra.' It's not overtly political but highlights one of the biggest issues in modern society and the overwhelming whiteness of the vast majority of mainstream UK comedians.
Linking each section, Prince is on-hand with a stand-up routine in front of a live audience, complete with a comedy MC and house band (fronted by perpetually pissed off soul singer Omar). And Prince's infectious upbeat enthusiasm leads to easy laughs.
Throughout TV history, sketch shows have always been notoriously hit and miss and The Javone Prince Show can't escape this pitfall inherent in the format. However, most of the punchlines hit with precision, and the fast pace means even the weaker segments don't outstay their welcome. There are a few stumbles but, for a debut series, Prince quickly establishes his personality and brand of humour. A fresh new face for British comedy, we're already looking forward to season two.
The Javone Prince Show premieres on BBC Two, Sun 19 July.