Channel 4 Comedy Lab: iCandy review

The Comedy Lab, Channel 4’s hunt for new comedy talent, brings us Liam Hourican in iCandy tonight. But is it worth a watch?

Channel Four is, across the coming week, showing a series of programmes in its latest round of Comedy Lab commissions. These are one-off shows that can and have led to bigger things for those concerned, and certainly that’s been the case in the past.

Among the new comedy talent being showcased in the latest run is Liam Hourican, an Irish writer and performer who’s the brains behind a new sketch show, iCandy. iCandy is neatly structured around the menu system of an Apple Mac operating system, and thus there’s some cycling through various options – which Hourican has a lot of fun with (particularly those that prove not to be available!) – before settling on the next sketch.

He’s not short of ideas, either. Among the characters we meet here is the newly elected Irish Prime Minister, who opens the show and reappears as it progresses, and a teacher who will appeal to those who work in the profession who really would quite like to give their subjects a piece of their mind.

It’s a wide-ranging selection of characters that Hourican has put on the screen, and iCandy does manage to raise a few chuckles. The sketch we warmed to the most was his take on Peter Stringfellow doing his bit in the community. Hourican does a mean Stringfellow, and as with most of the sketches here, he moves on before he overeggs it.

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That said, though, iCandy does have its problems. And the main one is that too many of the sketches simply don’t generate many laughs. The spoof Louis Theroux weird weekend, for instance, didn’t really gel for our money, and it was a case of a good idea that didn’t pan out as well as you might hope.

On the upside, Liam Hourican is clearly a man of talent, and if iCandy is a springboard for him to have a few more stabs at the big time, then that’s a good thing. For there are ideas and laughs in iCandy that do lead you to think that there’s potential here.

The problem is that to get noticed with a sketch show, given how successful they’ve been over the past decade or so, you really need to come up with something special. iCandy, in spite of the computer menu glue that holds it together very effectively, isn’t funny enough to break out of the crowd. Hourican, however, may well prove to be.

iCandy is on Channel 4 on Monday 19th April, at 11.05pm.