The Mash Report resurfaced last night in the guise of Late Night Mash, on Dave, having been cancelled by the BBC on political grounds. The show hosted by Nish Kumar, has a brand new glittering set otherwise a very similar format.
Depending on your own political leanings the show is either not hard hitting enough, too hard hitting, biased to the right, biased to the left, too controversial, not controversial enough. Unfortunately it is a weak cocktail of all views and therefore falls flat. The BBC must have been hyper sensitive because the show has all the satirical bite of a poodle with rubber dentures.
Late Night Mash must be viewed and judged purely as a comedy sketch show, based around current affairs. It does not have the cutting edge satirical punch of John Oliver’s ‘Last Week Tonight’. Mores the pity. Nor does it have the balls to take anyone to task.
The new series got off to a pretty safe start last night. Rachel Parris was her usual vibrant self, delivering another good piece but why the need to have a ‘quiz’ based on fake news? The news is bizarre enough not to need the creation of fake items. Geoff Norcott did a hit and miss ‘non-political’ safe piece on the pandemic. Nish Kumar himself seemed more relaxed in his new environment, piloting the show and delivering the main news stories of the week.
Another familiar element that still jars a little is the incongruous ‘Two Ronnies Newsdesk’ delivering ‘fake news’ items. Some good jokes more than ably delivered by the excellent Ellie Taylor and Steve N Allen but with so much going on around us, these interludes could use real current affairs on which to base the jokes.
The difficulty for the team is that current events across the political spectrum are so ludicrous that the phrase “you couldn’t make this stuff up” rings out across social media every day, making it tough for the writers to be more satirical than reality: an unenviable task.
There’s not much wrong with Late Night Mash as a comedy show but if it ‘grew a pair’ it would be so much better.