The best-selling stand-up DVD of last year was, apparently, the debut disc from Alan Carr. One half of The Friday Night Project, we found Carr’s DVD a little bit underwhelming, with the scattering of funny lines spread a little too liberally across a gig that left you more pleasantly amused than in pain from the laughter.
This year, to capitalise on the success of his last disc, he’s back on the shelves again with a compilation of material from his Celebrity Ding Dong programme. I’d caught the show once when it first began, and thought that, as a novelty, the idea of having a team of celebrities against a team of members of the public, wasn’t too bad a plan. Sadly, as this disc demonstrates, it doesn’t spread any further than that.
The show has two fundamental problems. Firstly, the team pooled from members of the public is generally just there to be ridiculed, which Carr can just about get away with without coming across as nasty. But what he can’t do is make this work more than once or twice, and it’s perhaps telling that the current run of the show works solely on teams of competing celebrities, rather than making cheap gags at the expense of the public.
And secondly, too often it’s just not funny. Given how the broadcasting schedules are awash with good, entertaining panel games, this just looks like a shoddy vehicle to try and showcase Carr’s talents, and give the oxygen of publicity to a boatload of celebrities who can’t get onto the cover of Heat magazine. Beyond, however, showing their faces, on the evidence of this disc most of them are content to laugh in the right places, collect the cheque and move on. And much though we love Leslie Phillips – and we really, really do – the frequency with which this compilation throws him saying “Ding Dong” at you will send you scurrying for the eject button.
That’s, of course, if the attempts to intersperse the clips with a specially-filmed attempt by Carr to get to the bottom of celebrity doesn’t put you off first. This, basically, follows him as he tries to track down Liz Hurley for an interview. Only, of course, it isn’t Liz Hurley, it’s Alan Carr in a dress. And it’s not funny, bluntly. While it’s good to see some effort put into a disc such as this by adding new footage, in this instance, it really doesn’t work at all.
On the plus side, the disc has got a decent running time, and if you’re a dedicated fan of the show, then it’s probably just about what you expect and want. But, for this reviewer anyway, it ran out of steam long before it ended, and slipped firmly into ‘boredom’ territory.
Alan Carr is a funny man, but he’s wasting his talents here.