TV Review, Mock The Week, BBC2

I didn’t even know that Mock The Week was back last night. Or even that it had gone away. I must be watching too many reruns on Dave. But according to the BBC this was the first episode of the fifteenth, yes fifteenth, series, helmed, as ever by smiling Dara O Briain. 

Compare its discreet return to the fanfares for Power Monkeys on C4 the night before. It’s interesting to play compare-and-contrast with the shows. How do you like your comedy, fast and furious so that if you don’t like one gag another will be along shortly? Or topical gags that are written so close to the wire that they might not exactly be honed to perfection?

It was no surprise that the gags ran smoothly on Mock The Week. You could see people shamelessly bunging bits of their act in. Nish Kumar for instance, did the black James Bond routine from his award-nominated last show. And why not? Of course it was funny. Gary Delaney’s one liners were also brilliant: “I hate people who phone me up just to complain about the weather which is how I lost my job with mountain rescue.” I don’t know if he has road-tested them on Twitter or used them in his live show but if they were funny who gives a stuff? It's a comedy show, not a state of the nation address.

Hugh Dennis and Ed Gamble also added to the jollity and Josh Widdicombe got in the mood for Euro 2016 by asking why England was always making documentaries about getting to the 1996 semi-final as if it was the best day ever. Does Germany make documentaries marking the fact that they came second in WW2? Though was it just me or did anybody else think Tiffany Stevenson was edited a bit roughly? There was at least one gag where after her punchline it cut straight to a quip from someone else before we heard much in the way of audience laughter.

The show is more benign since Frankie Boyle left and to be honest the punchlines flew around so fast nobody really had time to notice that Andy Parsons wasn’t back. Mock The Week is hardly the most sophisticated satire ever to hit our screens but it can be clever and funny. What’s not to like?

Mock The Week, Thursdays, 10pm, BBC2. Watch it on iPlayer here.

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