Mock The Week: Why I Hate The Turgid Shit Fest

Does anyone actually find Mock the Week amusing? It's about as funny as mass genocide and is everything that comedy shouldn't be...
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Does anyone actually find Mock the Week amusing? It's about as funny as mass genocide and is everything that comedy shouldn't be...

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I've never agreed with that cliché stand up comedians roll out about their profession being the loneliest job in the world. Watching stand up comedy is the loneliest job in the world. Especially when they're crap. If there's one show on television that perfectly sums this philosophy up, it's the turgid shit fest that is 'Mock the Week' - a show that that aims to represent a cutting edge take on the country’s affairs and ends up sounding like Tracy Beaker after a few too many WKDs.

One of the worst traits of television over the past few years has been the rise of the panel show. It used to be the gig where the big hitters of British comedy went to refine their act. Now, we’re so saturated with the fuckers that they'll book anyone who has played the undercard of Live At the Apollo. It’s almost like an entry exam to being a successful comedian. A 'mock' if you will in this show’s case, where headmaster Dara O' Briain gently navigates his comedy apprentices through the grainy fields of improvisation and satire in the hope that some of his students might throw a bit of shit at a wall that sticks. O' Briain is there of course to give the show some gravitas. A talented comedian in his own right, he desperately tries to drum up laughs from an audience that looks partly fucking demented. A typical 'Mock the Week ' audience in fact consists of autograph hunters with the social skills of Mark Chapman and pared down loonies who would laugh at a Russell Howard joke if he told it in the Killing Fields.

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It actually says a lot for the show that Russell Howard has been Mock the Week’s 'White Album' - its cutting edge high point. Over the past few years the show has been a conveyor belt for the type of comedians, who if they lay dead in a desert with a joke book made of flesh - even vultures would ignore them. Comedians like Andy Humphries, Chris Addison and Greg Davies who look constantly shellshocked when asked to improvise headlines and one liners in the spotlight. These are the type of frightened looking comedians you sense would commit suicide if a good heckler got hold of them. Hence, like Terry Waits tied to a light entertainment radiator they tread the well worn path to safety and acceptance. Politicians’ expenses. The EDL. The England football team. Watching porn. Meat and drink subjects for two welders in a bait cabin really. In a particularly galling part of the show they even line up and have the gall to laugh at each other's terrible attempts at delivering a one liner to Dara O' Briain's chosen headline. It's a horrible form of cheerleading and backslapping given that the watching viewer sees the joke signposted a mile away.

Which good satire should never be of course. Not in a million years. Good satire should be about picking righteous targets and saying something original, funny or even downright crude to shift it in its axis. No one is expecting Bill Hicks type missiles here (that would be asking too much), but certainly it should be keeping us on our toes. 'Mock the Week' on the other hand is little more than a smug comedians’ private bar that preens itself in self importance and occasion when in reality it's little more than a wedding check list for comedy suckfish. Something borrowed. Something blue. Something old. Something...

Well, pretty awful actually.