Mock the Week
Mock the Week is another comedy panel show, this time a news-based one, produced by Dan Patterson and chaired by Dara O’Briain, professional Irishman and comedian. Unlike its BBC equivalent “Have I Got News for You” this is all comedians and little savage political satire.
One team captain is Hugh Dennis, of the Mary Whitehouse Experience. The other side has a guest captain, this week professional Irishman and comedian Ed Byrne (some sort of trend here). Dennis is usually accompanied by the third Proclaimer, Frankie Boyle, and this week also by depressed-looking newcomer Alun Cochrane. Byrne was flanked by over-aged teenager Russell Howard and bald-man with strange facial hair, Andy Parsons.
The whole show is designed to allow the comedians the chance to run through some stand-up routines disguised as a quiz. The points are awarded by O’Briain to each team on a very random basis, which is mostly whim and never explained nor argued with. As always with panel shows there are regular rounds, this week:
- Headliners, where the initial letters if a headline are given along with a picture. This gives the panel an opportunity to run through all of their gags on the chosen subject before somebody finally gives the right answer. This week they had the manna from heaven subject of John Prescott, the greatest source of comedy of the past decade.
- Spinning the News, where four of the panel go to the stand-up area and a random new topic appears. One will step forward and do a stand-up routine on the subject. The last two battle it out over one subject and Dara chooses a winner.
- This is the answer, what is the question? Where an answer is given and the panel has to guess the question. This week an answer was “Sparrows, Otters and Hedgehogs”. This appears to be a genuine improvisation section where they think of amusing questions that fit the bill: “What does Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s breath smell of?”; “What is the least favourite Ben and Jerry’s ice-cream flavour?”; “What is the biggest selling porn mag in Norfolk?” before somebody comes up with the correct answer “What have recently been put on the endangered species list?”
- Scenes we’d like to see, where a random question is put up for them to make gags about in the stand-up area, such as “The Worst Thing to say when Running for US President.” Ed Byrne finished with a “bad one”: “I did experiment with marijuana, I did it in sleet, I did it in snow but I did not in hail”.
Hugh and Andy’s team won much the bewilderment of Hugh Dennis.
Mock the Week is generally good fun to watch but few standout moments like its BBC nemesis or Dan Patterson’s previous project “Whose Line is it Anyway?”