Friday, 17 June 2016

Radio Review: 17 June

The World Of Simon Rich was somewhat poor

Written by Louis Barfe
It was the presence of Peter Serafinowicz that made me listen to The World Of Simon Rich (R4, Thursdays, 11pm). That and the fact that Rich was billed as ‘one of the funniest short-story writers of his generation’. Quite something to live up to, and I’m afraid that Rich – an American with Saturday Night Live on his CV and ‘Butcher of Broadway’ Frank Rich for a father – might struggle to live up to such unhelpful hype on this evidence.

There were some good ideas here, but some of them seemed to develop in an unsatisfactory manner. Some were just thrown away when they could have gone further. For example, the moral conundrum of going back in time to kill Hitler was used as a quickie, which seems a bit of a waste.

Meanwhile, others were kept up way past their bedtime with diminishing return, such as the sad tale of a condom in a teenager’s wallet, narrated from the contraceptive’s point of view by Tim Key. This piece really did have its moments, but would have benefited from a good editing.

However, I couldn’t fault the dog-dating advertisements, apart from to suggest that Rich missed an obvious gag by not including ‘GSOS /good sense of smell’. I was also quite fond of Key as an insecure Nostradamus, and later a maths teacher setting exam questions based on the collapse of his own life. Also, Serafinowicz as a doctor obsessed with April Fool’s jokes, being given a dressing down by Cariad Lloyd.

I wanted to like this show, and it certainly had its moments, but overall I struggled. Maybe, despite the excellent cast, Rich’s stuff works better on the page? Or maybe it was that I found the studio audience intrusive, as they seemed to laugh most at the things I enjoyed least…

Louis on Twitter: @LFBarfe or email: wireless@cheeseford.net



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