TV Review: Comedians In Pubs Talking Comedy, BBC Three

We all love comedians chatting off-duty, that’s why Jerry Seinfield’s Comedians In Cars series and Alan Davies As Yet Untitled do so well. and now BBC Three has got in on the act with the low-budget, lo-fi but big-on-laughs Romesh: Comedians In Pubs Talking Comedy. 

This scribbled-on-a-fag-packet format pretty much writes itself. Romesh Ranganathan basically settles into a saloon bar and gently probes funny people about their career. Jack Dee recalls a dodgy gig in a prison, Jayde Adams talks about closing her set with opera and finding comedy in tragedy and Tim Renkow recalls someone trying to convert him to Christianity on the bus.

The conversations are relaxed and open as well as funny (if a little too quick). Russell Howard is angrier than usual explaining how he gets exasperated by the spelling of the word “chihuahua” before he and Ranganathan compare notes on working with – or rather being upstaged by – their mothers. It’s all in the edit, says Ranganathan: “let’s see how funny they are without us.”

There’s a nice frisson of honesty in a couple of interviews too, particularly when Ranganathan reveals to Sharon Horgan that he auditioned for Catastrophe and didn’t get the part and then later when he is jealous of YouTube star Humza Arshad, whose first gig was in front of a thousand people whereas Ranganathan’s debut was in the back of a pub like the one they are chatting in. Arshad tries to high five Romesh but he is having none of it…

It’s cheap television certainly, but for comedy fans cheap television at its best. It only lasts 21 minutes but I could watch this sort of thing for 21 hours. 

Watch here.


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