Have I Got to Mock the Buzzcocks for You: A Panel Show

Wed 17th – Fri 19th February 2016

reviews

Clare Cavenagh

at 01:01 on 18th Feb 2016

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If you love those comedy panel shows which seem to run continuously on all channels everywhere, then Have I Got to Mock the Buzzcocks for You is probably a great way to spend a late evening. If you've got your reservations about them, this might be the perfect moment to put those reservations to rest. With a completely brilliant host and excellent panellists, this show is loads of fun, and more than takes its place alongside its televisual cousins.

The introductory spiel reminded the audience of something hugely important: most of the comedy panel shows on telly are not genuinely improvised. Much of the time the guests, professional comedians though they may be, have already seen the questions or themes, and have had time to prepare their hilarious answers and witty banter. Not so with the cast of Have I Got to Mock the Buzzcocks for You. This reliance on improvisation to provide the audience with not just a coherent performance, but hopefully a very funny one is a huge gamble. One that, for the opening night, most definitely paid off.

This was, in the greatest part, due to the efforts of a fantastic host and an excellent selection of guests. Lily Lindon was completely delightful and managed to keep the ship more or less on course, reigning in riffing, dealing with (in truth very innocent and well meaning) hecklers, and providing brilliant jokes of her own. The guests, Sarah Creedy Smith, Ashleigh Weir and Aurélien Guéroult on the blue team; Ken Cheng, Yaseen Kader and Sam Knights on the red, were all witty and hilarious, keeping the action going throughout game after game.

Perhaps one of the nicest elements of Have I Got to Mock the Buzzcocks for You in comparison to the television shows it takes its inspiration from is how free it is from the meanness sometimes encountered on the screen. The teams and host were all constantly laughing at one another, and themselves, keeping not just comedy, but a kind of coherence and mutual appreciation going. This, if anything, added to the humour of the show - nobody was alienated, everybody was laughing.

The improvised nature of this show makes it terribly hard to review, as does the fact that the lineup of panellists will alter from night to night. The format of the questions means that each evening will be unique, full of its own challenges and potential sources of difficulty. But if they are anything like this opening night, they'll be brilliant. All I can say is, I loved Have I Got to Mock the Buzzcocks for You, and I'd be willing to place a modest bet on the fact that subsequent audiences will too.

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