Thursday, 02 August 2012

Radio Reviews: 3 August

Our reviewer needs to talk about Kevin - one of ‘the funniest men in the business’

Written by Louis Barfe
Louis-Barfe-newBWEver since he turned up as the petulant hobbyist Simon Quinlank in Stewart Lee and Richard Herring's Fist Of Fun over 15 years ago, serious comedy fans have regarded Kevin Eldon as one of the funniest men in the business. However, until now, he's been a supporting player, providing surreal, often malevolent characterisations in shows like Chris Morris's Brass Eye and Jam. Thankfully, he seems to be emerging from the shadows at last, with his own BBC Two series starting next year and a four-part sketch show currently running on BBC Radio 4.

Listening to the first Kevin Eldon Will See You Now, it seemed, at first, as though there had been a change to the advertised programme, with the announcement that we were listening to 'The Chuckle Chest with Kevin Eldon', delivered over the yelps and howls of an overenthusiastic studio audience. The audience was immediately banished ('You're taking too long, I'm editing to when you've all left') and the show settled down to Eldon's seemingly idle thoughts about the future of the monarchy (All kings will be robots, apparently) and other issues of the day, leading into sketches that explored the ideas more fully.

The structure lends this disparate collection of items a coherence that may help keep casual listeners tuned in. If they were deterred, they'd miss a lot of fun. A sketch about the annual general meeting of the Society For The Advancement Of People With Stupid Voices worked beautifully because of the extreme stupidity of the voices used.

Then there was the newspaper review with a kitten, a duck and a rustic claiming to be Martin Amis; to say nothing of the Portuguese Horrible Lottery where 1 in 10 entrants win a prize, but a prize so vile that nobody would possibly want it, such as a '24-hour tape of Ricky Gervais laughing'.

It's a very knowing, selfreferential show. Twenty-two minutes in, Eldon went through his running order checking off all of the sketches that had appeared. It's not self-indulgent, though, or smug, and with a cast including Julia Davis, Amelia Bullmore and Paul Putner – another supporting player who deserves his own show – there's a lot here to savour. Part one is still on iPlayer if you're quick about it.

Kevin Eldon Will See You Now, BBC Radio 4, Tuesdays at 11pm.



For those who can't get enough of the Olympics, the BBC is running a special digital station, Radio Five Live Olympics Extra, broadcasting live coverage and highlights from the Olympic Park until 13 August.

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