‘Roast Battle’ – Comedy Central

Comedy roast are not all that common in the UK, despite this being the home of the Archbishop of Banterbury, Bantom of the Opera and the Bantersaurus Rex (lads! lads! lads!). While we’re very much at home with taking the piss out of each other in the pub, the playground and all-office emails, this kind of vicious verbal sparring in front of an audience is a format that we’re just not used to in merry old England. We leave that to the Americans, and a proud history they have of it too. Instantly this new Comedy Central show is a bit out of step for the British audience looking for funnies, with a post-apocalyptic set, macho gunshot sound track, and the studio audience expected to shout and point as well as drink and laugh. It’s all a bit too much to believe we can multitask like this.

I love stand-up comedy, on tv and especially live (shout out to the excellent Fat Penguin¬†club nights in Birmingham – if you’re in the Midlands check them out), but I turned this on and watched it through my fingers. I didn’t was this format to fail, but it was bound to be a disaster, right? As The Guardian said “Roast battles and insult comedy? No thanks, we’re British”. But despite the silly gunshot noises and the heavy reliance on Paper Planes by MIA, the battles themselves were not as aggressive as I’d thought. If anything the style is collaborative; usually solo comics acting as a team, building on each other’s jokes, laughing at themselves and visibly enjoying the experience. I was all set to hate it but the four comedians in the first episode did such a good job they quickly won me over.

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‘The Daily Show with Trevor Noah’ – On the Box

Last night there was a sea change in American late-night comedy. Young South African comic Trevor Noah took over at The Daily Show from the esteemed Jon Stewart. There’s been a lot of chatter about whether he was the right appointment (he’s not a woman, he’s black, he’s not American, he has a funny accent, he’s made some crappy jokes on Twitter) since it was announced 6 months ago, but last night was the one night that mattered.

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‘Inside Amy Schumer’ – On the Box

I’m coming late to the party on the hottest name in American comedy. Amy Schumer is a household name in the States and with Comedy Central UK advertising her stuff every two minutes she’ll soon be well-known here.

And she totally deserves it.

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