Jonathan Ross’s Comedy Club misses the mark

Jonathan Ross’s Comedy Club was a pot pourri of emerging comedy talents. Inevitably there were some good acts, some okay acts and some acts that, like Thursday’s child, have far to go .

No names, no pack drill.

The headline act of the evening gets around 4 minutes however, because we are familiar with them, their style and their personality, their sets generally work from the start. Not so for the newer acts. Whilst it’s great that the show allows experienced comedy circuit acts to gain some limited exposure to a wider TV audience, 3 minutes allocated to them leaves no time to establish a personality nor that all important rapport with the audience but just 90 seconds for the two novice acts is totally insufficient for them to establish a routine before being hooked.

The biggest problem for new comedians is finding a unique voice or a route that is different from the plethora of emerging wannabees. Much of the material was not up to the mark. Some acts succeeded, most didn’t but they all have my total admiration for trying. To paraphrase: those that can, do; those that can’t, review.

The 5 part series ran for about 25 minutes per episode of which the 3 main acts have 9 minutes between them and the 2 green shoots, 3 mins so that’s 12 minutes of pretty mundane comedy with few laughs (despite the all too frequent cut-aways to Jonathan Ross laughing inanely, at what, I have no idea). Add to this the headliners 4 mins and we end up with 16 minutes of comedic content. Mawaan Rizwan’s musical interludes, whilst demonstrating his obvious talent, add little to the proceedings neither do the pointless interviews with the headline acts.

For me this show falls far below expectations and, I suspect risks terminating more careers than it launches.

BBC2’s Stand Up For Live Comedy series (a sort of mini-Apollo) on the other hand allows sufficient time for the four acts to  perform fuller sets. Naturally not all the acts will set the world of comedy alight: some won’t become headliners but it’s a far better showcase of talent than JR’s Comedy Club. The first two episodes set a reasonably high bar. Only when the 6 part series ends will it be pertinent to review the whole show.

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