Shame on me. I rate Dara O’Briain as one of the funniest people on the planet right now, and yet it took me ages to uncover and start watching Mock The Week. On the plus side, it meant I came fresh to much of the material on this Too Hot For TV disc, which promised nearly three hours of fun from recent times.
This it duly delivers, although it’s a teeny weeny bit of a cheat. The main feature, the Too Hot For TV bit, runs to around an hour of material, and then in the extra features there are three extended version of episodes broadcast in 2007 (which includes the exchanges between the panelists before the show starts, and features O’Briain’s denial of having a thing for Blue Peter presenter Konnie Huq). Between all of this, the running time does, to be fair, add up to nigh-on three hours, although a good hour and a half has been broadcast before.
This, it should be said, didn’t bother me one iota. Because Mock The Week, while occasionally patchy, is surely one of the downright funniest programmes on television. What’s more, O’Briain takes a little bit of a back seat for much of it, giving his two teams of three much of the limelight. They don’t disappointment.
The genius of Mock The Week is that it has pretty much the best regular panelists of any panel game in recent times. Russell Howard and Andy Parsons sit on one side (along with a guest, who doesn’t often manage to get a word in edgeways), and these two alone could justify the cost of the disc outright. But on the other side is the always-worth-watching Hugh Dennis, sat alongside the man who has emerged as the real star of Mock The Week: Frankie Boyle.
Boyle is, bluntly, another of the funniest people on the planet, justifiying the occasionally outrageous and crude nature of many of his comments by being simply gut-bustingly funny. From letters to Points Of View, through to comments about Margaret Thatcher, terrorism and Princess Diana, it’s fair to say that Boyle isn’t someone you should watch if you’re easily offended, but absolutely is someone to seek out if you want big, big laughs.
Among the guests who pop up are Ed Byrne and Jo Caufield, and some fare better than others. You can’t help thinking, though, when you look at the array of comedy talent that makes up the regulars, that it must be one of the most intimidating arenas for a guest to walk into.Mock The Week: Too Hot For TV is a terrific DVD, especially now many outlets are selling it for less than a tenner. At its best, it’s as funny as anything broadcast on British TV last year, and even at its worst, it’s better than 90% of the DVDs you got bought for Christmas. Quite, quite brilliant.