Bishop himself has such an overwhelmingly self-satisfied expression, a face that when relaxed still bursts with pride, that it is hard for viewers to actually engage with the program, and are instead simply stunned into staring at his cocksure face in mild disgust.
Okay, so Kevin Bishop is a talented and versatile actor, but as for his self-titled sketch show… how unfunny can officially endorsed TV comedy get? Surely there has to be more talent out there than this? If only Catherine Tate could give up her dreams of being a serious actor and resurrect this now endangered genre!
The phrase “fast-paced” has been applied here by TV critics, not because the humour is quick-witted and buzzing, but because the producers clearly have such little faith in any of his material that they want to rush us through the succession of nauseating sketches as rapidly as possible.
Several of the skits occupy distinctly old sketch show territory, such as spoof perfume adverts and Cowell-esque panel show parodies, while one or two sketches (like the sex-mad detective who incorrectly channels the thoughts of a victim) are irritating to the point that they are unwatchable.
The whole show comes across like a prefects’ end of term revue, but only lacking in originality, lacking in cast and attempting to cater for a nation as opposed to a school year group.
Sketch comedy is clearly about good writing and sadly the Kevin Bishop show will fall shamefully into that pile of instantly forgettable and very average TV comedy, like Horne and Corden just months before it. One can imagine the faint pitiful smile on Jennifer Saunders’ face as she watches a show like the Kevin Bishop show and feels comforted by its reassurance that her legacy remains unchallenged. Actually, I sincerely doubt Saunders bothers to watch these counterfeit and amateurish telly offerings.
The success of Star Stories is evidently indebted to better writing, fantastic acting from supporting stars like Alex Lowe, and a relatively original approach – the celebrity telly biography parody.
The first series of The Kevin Bishop Show did contain a certain amount of refreshing humour, notably the Pete Burns spin-off show ideas, and the first batch of Nintendo Pii jokes. How he secured funding for a second series though is anybody’s guess.
People only watch the sad and sorry show reel of naff sketches because the program is wedged between Friday night’s Big Brother, and the live eviction, or in other words, the show is book-wedged between Davina gold.
As Catherine Tate’s nan would say… What a load of old shit. Let’s hope Channel 4 bosses attended the Edinburgh Fringe festival this year, and enrol some new groups like the Leeds Tealights. Max Dickins’ ability with words and Patrick Turpin’s acting make one realise how incredibly limited The Kevin Bishop Show actually is.
Above: Kevin Bishop as Gok Wan, a good impersonation, that simultaneously testifies how sketch shows are not just about confidence but are all about the writing.
Words: Jack Cullen