TV Review: Comedians Giving Lectures, Dave

While the mainstream channels seemed hooked on the ageing panel show template Dave has certainly come up with some innovative vehicles for comedians. Obviously their best one is Taskmaster, but they've also had Hypothetical and Jon Richardson's Ultimate Worrior. And now here's a new format fronted by Sara "can do no wrong" Pascoe. 

Except that it might as well be fronted by Stephen Mulhern, Matthew Kelly or Bradley Walsh, because it's the guests that deliver the bulk of the laughs here. In each episode Pascoe introduces three comedians who have to present lectures with the same titles as real serious lectures and make them both entertaining and educational. It's a good idea and it makes sure that stand-ups can't easily fall back on their own familiar set. I just wish Sara Pascoe did little more than exchange banter with her guests when she introduces them and then chat a bit when she tots up the scores at the end.

Pascoe, for example, would probably be brilliant at delivering an entertaining and educational lecture herself. Who knows, maybe she will get to stand behind the lectern in a later episode.

But first up are Nish Kumar, Natasia Demetriou and Tom Allen. Kumar's subject title is 10 Ways The World Could End. I stopped keeping count halfway through after he suggested that WW3 is bound to be horrendous because the third instalments of most franchises are never any good – although he was funny it was making me too depressed. Kumar was fast, sharp and clearly well-prepared. While the monologue style does feel a bit like Radio 4's Just A Minute it was certainly not improvised.

Next up was Natasia Demetriou with Anatomy of the Vagina and proving, as if proof were needed, that she is far brighter in reality than her character in Stath Lets Flats. Not that that is difficult. Demetriou took a firm feminist stance on the subject, arguing that dicks can be seen everywhere, from on walls to on smartphones and it was about time we saw more vaginas. She wanted to change the "dick first, pussy second culture". And judging by the cheers her lecture received the audience agreed.

Tom Allen is really on a roll at the moment and he delivered the goods again here with a talk called Why We Make Bad Decisions. He used more powerpoint presentation that the other two comics, while also revealing a bit of a fixation for Denise Van Outen. It was probably a bad decision to leave his phone on as the Essex Police kept calling him while he was onstage, but naturally this turned out to be part of an elaborate gag.

As for the winner, you'll have to watch on catch-up or when it's inevitably repeated to find out who was victorious – expert judges and the audience get to award points and vote. I'm not really sure it matters though. Nor does it really matter if the lectures are that educational. They are certainly entertaining. A show that leaves you wanting more...of Sara Pascoe.

Comedians Giving Lectures, Dave, Wednesdays from September 18 at 10pm.

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