Thursday, October 03, 2013

Recent Irish Comedies

Well over the last fortnight, there has been four of them and they've been spread out through RTE2, BBC1 and Channel 4 respectively. The question is - are they funny? Well, kind of in a way.

1: Father Figure (Mondays 9pm RTE2/Wednesdays 11.35pm BBC1)

How to describe this show? Well, it's almost like an attempt from comedian Jason Byrne to do a bizarre mashup of Mrs Brown's Boys and Malcolm In The Middle where he plays a hapless stay at home father named Tom, who is constantly at his wits end with his family - a family that includes Pauline McLynn playing his interfering, Strictly Come Dancing (like that show needs any more plugs, BBC!) mother. Having watched the first three episodes and given the bad timeslot awarded to it by BBC1, I don't think Brendan O'Carroll has anything to worry about for the time being.

2: The Mario Rosenstock Show (Mondays 9.30pm RTE2)

Sometimes I forget that the first time I've actually seen Mr Rosenstock was when he was playing a dopey doctor in Glenroe (no sniggering) but over the years he's been doing various impressions of Irish celebrities and politicians on radio series Gift Grub and now in the second series of his own show. Not every sketch works and some are dragged out but overall, it's still a wonderfully entertaining series and Rosenstock's takes on the likes of Joan Burton, Trappatoni and Miriam O'Callaghan doesn't fail to entertain.

3: Damo & Ivor (Mondays 10pm RTE2)

I have to admit, I've been that fond of Andy Quirke's sketch with chavvy Northsider Damo and his (not surprisingly revealed) secret twin brother/Southsider Ivor on The Republic Of Telly, so I was a little skeptical about them being awarded their own half hour show on RTE2. Funnily enough, they're actually more entertaining on the own as Damo seems determined to do anything to save his Grano (Ruth McCabe on fine form as Dublin's oldest prostitute) and distance himself from former girlfriend, Tracy while Ivor deals with his adopted parents abandoning him by becoming a model and generally behaving as obnoxiously as humanly possible. I was surprised with how much I found the first three episodes amusing, especially with the thinly veined Jeremy Kyle spoof in the recent episode. Now all we need is both Damo and Ivor to cross paths and that looks like it's going to be happening fairly soon.

4: London Irish (Tuesdays 10pm Channel 4)

Now this is a rather strange one for me. On one hand - I like the main cast - sister/brother duo Bronagh (Sinead Keenan) and Conor (Kerr Logan) and their friends Niamh (Kat Reegan) and Packy (Peter Campion) and a lot of the Irish stereotyping has some element of truth behind it but the characters themselves are in need of some depth. Two episodes in and it has been them mostly drinking and getting into bizarre scrapes, including taking someone's child and kissing a corpse at a wake. The humour is certainly juvenile but there have been worse programmes out there. It's all good fun but some depth with our four Irish folk in the next few episodes would certainly give it a boost though.

All these programmes can currently be seen on RTE2, BBC1 and Channel 4 respectively.

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