Televisual Ambivalence

TV: Live At The Electric

We made a terrible mistake in not turning off the television after the BBC3 double-bill of American Dad.

It was followed by the most dire of comedy variety programmes – Live At The Electric. Apparently Russell Kane is a stand-up comic. He isn’t very good. Despite the drunken baying of the television audience he comes across as an utterly charmless wanker. His whole opening routine was a lengthy and unfunny spiel about how women are his preferred audience because even if they don’t like him to begin with, they will by the end. By contrast, men who don’t appreciate him never will, because he might be gay (or looks like Nick Grimshaw; I doubt I could tell them apart myself). He has a curious reliance on his ‘metrosexual’ appearance and seems to enjoy implying that he might be gay – as if this is some novel formula for comedy. It’s not.

Kane’s programme, and particularly the awful skits he’s in are laced with unpleasant homophobic gags that seem only to fit with his dead eyes and perpetual sneer. It was very hard to not want him to die, and at that time of night I don’t have much will power left. The supporting acts that he comperes through the show came across terribly, possibly as a result of his dreadful compering. There was series of awkward mock-back-stage sets, a painful character act Chastity Butterworth and some forgettable stand-up. The only act I rather liked was the Twins Macabre, a well edited piece about a creepy pair of goth serial killers. I’d watch more of that, and joyously you can – on YouTube.

TV: Uncle

Incredibly we left the TV on after the suckfest above, possibly because it had destroyed our will to live. I’d seen the adverts on the beeb for Uncle (there are a stunning number of ads on the BBC these days) and was fairly amused by the ramshackle uncle bribing his nephew to abandon a football game. It seemed unlikely I would ever watch the programme though, and I suppose we should thank Live At The Electric for making everything else in the world bright and good.

I was very taken with Uncle. It begins with the eponymous fellow preparing to commit suicide before being asked to pick up his nephew from school by his sister. It’s a strightforward setup, and the rest of the episode follows this simple favour. I was very pleasantly surprised to find myself laughing and smiling along with it. I like the lead, Andy with his automatic lying, deep depression, and habit of speaking to Errol (his nephew) as if he were an adult. He’s a sad, troubled man played affectionately by that rarest of things on television – a stand up comedian who can act. All I know of Nick Helm is that he dragged one of my friends, Carl Jones (also a stand-up) onto stage during a show at The Fringe and spooned with him on a mattress for the rest of the routine. I found him very likeable and was touched by his performance.

The nephew, Errol is a classically peculiar teen – awkward and a loner. He is also played very well, and the relationship between them is tested and developed through a string of rather odd encounters with people in each of their lives.

I enjoyed it,. I really hope they have a music video in each episode too. I shall set the box to record it; I wouldn’t want to accidentally watch Live At The Electric again.

(apologies for the irritating “Feed My Funny” at the start of the trailer)

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