Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Show Me the Funny ITV1 18th July-25th August 2011

L-R Stuart Goldsmith, Patrick Monahan, Cole Parker, Prince Abdi, Ellie Taylor, (Jason Manford), Rudi Lickwood, Tiffany Stevenson, Dan Mitchell, Ignacio Lopez, Alfie Moore

I wouldn't usually use this to rant about television but a 'Comedy X Factor' has begun on ITV1. Us comedy fans don't get many comedy contests, we don't really get much stand up on TV in general so this was bound to get attention.

It has been getting attention. None of it positive and quite rightly so. The programme's has many weaknesses, both comedy and reality TV based. We never see the auditions, why were these contestants chosen exactly? I believe, please note I know nothing, that for reality TV to work we need to see auditions, we need to see it from start to finish with us ideally picking who goes home.

SMTF doesn't allow for that, instead Kate Copstick,  Alan 'mind your ears' Davies and a guest judge make that decision based on a five minute set and Jason Manford is your host, yes Jason Manford. The judging line up is another problem. I would have rather have seen someone like a comedy agent, such as Addison Cresswell who was once suggested for BBC comedy X Factor and a more successful comedian than Alan Davies. I imagine many didn't want to touch it with a barge pole. The concept is awkward, it is no Last Comic Standing, which ran between 2003-2010 on NBC-it showed auditions and had comics from all over and went on for WEEKS and it is clear many comedians were reluctant to audition.
For example this quote from Nat Wicks on the British Comedy Guide forum says it all
Didn't enter because I had a bit of a negative vibe from it... I thought that knowing me, I could quite feasably damange my potential career a hell of a lot more than I could help it! But that's because I'm a negative nelly. 
 I think she is entirely right, like your X Factors, your BGTs etc it is a very public way to fail and too short a series for anyone to give a damn about you if you did win. Comics are being very nice about it on twitter, of course. 'Don't bite the hand that might get you on primetime ITV1 and that' There are only 7 episodes in a show where we don't see the comics perform all their material. How will this help any comic's career? To be blunt I don't think this a way for any comic to become a mainstream success. It is also very telling that this show isn't made up of new comics but comics, who are established on the circuit. One comic, Rudi Lickwood, has been in the business 21 years; I hate to be a horrid bitch but if you've not made it by now...

The sad thing he isn't the only one. These comics haven't necessarily been chosen because of talent but because of personality and looks, just like anything other reality show.  SMTF is poor because it fails as a reality show and a comedy programme. There's room for live comedy on television and there's room for a competitive element but putting them together isn't working on this.


  1. I listen to quite a few podcasts by American comics, both up and coming, and made, and they all to a man or woman hate Last Comic Standing. Many fantastic comics get no chance at all, whilst they cast a reality show with a suitable mix of "characters".

  2. That is interesting; I'm not really surprised the reaction was so hostile to it. I think it benefited, though temporarily, foreign comics more than American ones.

    I know in my heart those auditions aren't just comics just turning up off the street but I like being lied to about that sort of thing.


    anyone know if they are running this again next year?
    ive been watching the ocassional episode (predict PAT to win) and i think my first time open mic(link above,cheeky monkey!) would have got me an audition at least! what dya reckon?