Sunday, February 13, 2011

Ben Elton [on life support] from Planet Earth

"Oh dear!!" Those were my first words when I tuned in last Tuesday excitedly hoping that the brilliant comedy of Ben Elton would find a place at self proclaimed Channel Nine 'the home of comedy.' Elton writes and does stand up brilliantly but what I saw on Tuesday night was akin to the worst bits of the 'Comedy Company' or a Camp Concert. I got the idea, just not the jokes!!
The skits were introduced and then referred to after like an RSL skit comedy gig from the 1980s and I thought it might bomb!! The 'Top Gear' lead in with 900,000+ viewers started well, dropping to 600,000 in 15 mins for a low of just under 300,000 at the end [luckily this is spoken of in averages] but NCIS basically picked up a lost audience very quickly!
I then tuned in the next night to Adam Hills at Gordon St, a foray into chat show by Hills while Spicks n Specks takes a rest.... a bit old school, low budget, tame... but it seemed brilliant by comparison. Highlights included simple ideas like being prepared for audience interaction by pre reading their online Q&A answers so Adam could extract a funny story or in this case send Pete Rowsthorn to Perth with a 'digger' to retrieve $15 buried rather than handed in to a fundraiser way too late when the audience member was in High School. It wasn't earth shattering but it was made to look great by comparison with the previous night. I enjoyed the idea that 'guests bring a gift' and that audience surprise could be a strength in coming episodes!!
My worst fears were confirmed by reading in the Sunday papers that Ben Elton basically has one more week before either being shifted to GEM or heading home to Perth to lick his wounds and write another blisteringly funny novel!!
BEN, more of your stand up, observational stuff, maybe bookend some videos to make your point, choose one skit and a band each week and put it on an hour later and you've got me [and maybe 500,000 others]If not I'll give it another go on Tuesday before it disappears into the archives next to Mick Molloy's tapes!! Adam Hills Show is plugging the 'Spicks' timeslot but should also be at 10:30pm!! imho...

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