Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Lee Nelson's Well Good Show

Are you sitting at home, thinking "I miss the classic 20th century simplistic jokes with punchlines so easy to spot I wrote them down on paper and put it in an envelope before the show started and got them all right, because I, at times, like to feel like some sort of comedy Derren Brown."? Then I have some incredible news for you! Lee Nelson's Well Good Show, aired on BBC 3, delivers all of these demands and more!

"But," I hear you introduce your list of unusual, yet oddly specific demands that would make a serial hostage-taker proud. "But I haven't had an old woman pull funny faces at me since I was, at most, two years old. I feel the absence of this factor in my otherwise idyllic life has caused me to become emotionally repressed and socially awkward!". Well, help is at hand, because this show features and old woman gurning at the audience for nearly a minute, curing you of your crippling phobias and possible impotence instantly.

The show, hotly tipped to win the coveted "Misnomer of the Year" award, famously given to Alanis Morrisette's "Ironic" in 1996 (The award's peak, of course), features Simon Brodkin as lovable cockney Lee Nelson, and also features Simon Brodkin as unrelenting irritation with stupid cockney accent, Lee Nelson. Also, there is his best friend, Omelette, a man so gargantuan in stature he thinks about little but food. Indeed, when Lee Nelson asks him "What's it time for?" he responds with "Pudding?". "Ohohoho" I chortled maniacally, and not without a goodly amount of sarcastic hatred. You see, it's funny because he's fat. I say "Funny". I use the term loosely. A better expression would actually be "Not very funny at all". But then, if we were to be as specific as that, the show might lose its "Comedy" status.

The show also has a moment where an audience member (Read "Stooge") wearing a waistcoat has to pick from 4 women and gets 5 minutes in the disabled toilet with whoever he picks. They were facing with their backs to him. Stop me if you've guessed the punchline. Oh? Already? Yeah, me too. I know, right? Who would have thought it, these 4 people masquerading as gorgeous women weren't actually gorgeous women! Two were men, one was an old woman and the other was ACTUALLY a gorgeous woman put in there to pretend she would have been, and I quote, "Well up for it", and the audience member, nick-named Stoogey McStooge was really unlucky to pick the bloke with a beard and not her. Oh, how I laughed. "How unexpected!" I managed to splutter out with gasping breaths as I giggled with uproarious laughter, the room veritably thundering with my glee.

Apart from one brief glimmer with a character, Dr Bob. Possibly the only bit I found funny, I put it down to sheer chance. Unless you're showing me a gritty real drama or, perhaps, a documentary on the ravages of worms in Africa, I'll probably laugh at something, anything, once in any given half-hour period. Credit where's it's due, that was tolerable.

Then the show took a turn for the worse, impressively. The show was already classed in my mind as "Pretty abysmal" when, suddenly it plummeted in estimation to "Hand-crafted by some demons who clearly are out to wreak havoc upon my life" (Then I saw Russell Kane was a writer, and all became clear). This, obviously, happened with "Faliraki Nights", a sketch which so soured the whole show so much, it was like they'd announced that watching it caused blindness (Some might say a blessed relief, during this sketch. That's right. This sketch was worse than blindness). It was so bad I actually complained to the BBC. Obviously it was intended with great dollops of irony poured on a culture which glorifies drinking and sex, or "Club 18-30" as is its technical name. They tackled this with all the subtlety of a channel 5 shock-doc on the boy with no fingers , or whatever. "Hey, there's a certain group of people we could parody by showing them the extremes of their lifestyle" works within the laws of good taste, and this sadly fell so far outside the boundaries of good taste that, briefly, I toyed with the notion of hurling my own shoes at the screen to make it stop, as the remote was fully 6 inches away, and that was too much time to endure of it. Fortunately, though, I blacked out for 2 or 3 minutes, and can only assume I actually died of embarassment before coming back.

This sort of thing is fine, provided it's funny. If it's hilarious, but in poor taste, I don't mind. If, however, it is appallingly unfunny and in poor taste, it amplifies the "Poor taste" thing by a factor of about 62,312. "This is meant to be funny?!" you find yourself thinking, rhetorically, because you know it is, but you can scarcely believe it. Anyone who found this section of the show funny should claim a refund for their lobotomy due to the unwanted side-effects.

Seriously, who at the BBC stood up, cutting a lone figure across the office floor, and yelled "I've got it! A solution to the disenfranchised youth population! We'll lure them back in with a comedy sketch where people race to ejaculate! That's what young people like, right?". Rather than this man being gunned down (As would be the logical thing to do), for some reason, I can only assume the entire office burst into applause. "God bless you, sir." they said with their eyes welling up with tears of joy tinged with admiration, "For you have surely saved the BBC!"

Anyways, finally, Lee's Nan, a small white woman, sings us out to MC Hammer. You see, it's funny because she's a small white woman, and not an angry black rapper. Almost as hilarious as the rest of the show.

26 comments:

  1. Hello. I agree in the most about your piece on the Lee Nelson show. It was disappointing to say the least, especially as i have seen Lee Nelson (Simon) in pure stand up and he was extremely witty. I can not believe Russell Kane is a writer, and do not understand your distaste for him (without this show as reference). He is a comic with intelligence and a real eye for social hypocrisy.

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  2. Upon reflection I am being needlessly harsh towards Russell Kane, especially given his role is hardly substantial, classed as "Additional Material", and he is, upon a brief foray in youtube, rather more excellent than my memory recalls. I feel it is associations with other things, such as Big Brother or "I'm a celebrity..." which led to this harsh judgement, but his stand up is rather good.

    I have never seen Lee Nelson's comedy stand up, but at times the audience interaction was quite good and I could see how he could easily be good, but based on this, I doubt I will attend an event of his with any pressing urgency.

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  3. whilst comedy is all about opinion and you are totally entitled to yours, i would just like to point out that not a single audience member in the entire run is what you call a stooge - just thought i would point that out

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  4. Well, it is, of course, a matter of opinion. I have no knowledge either way, I'm just speculating that the audience member sitting alone who was perfectly to have a grown man take his waistcoat off and then stand on it at a comedy show either has cripplingly low self-esteem, or was put there by the producers. Also, fortunately for the show, he chose the person facing away who would be least un-funny to pick.

    But hey, I'm just guessing.

    Any evidence to the contrary is happily scrutinised.

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  5. This review is just stupid. Looking at your use of vocabulary it's obvious you're not going to like it. Why? Because you're not part of the target audience! That would be like me writing a view about Antiques Roadshow yet it's still ever so popular. While yes I'll admit the show isn't perfect there are still many postives to take out of it such as Simon Brodkin's brilliant audience interaction, so stop moaning and trying to use various techniques of oratory and rhetoric to convince the reader of your one-sided, biased view.

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  6. To the above,
    It is still perfectly possible to criticise something not aimed at you, unless you fundamentally don't understand the jokes. I don't think that was the case here. Just by simple comparison to other BBC programs it's fair to say it was pretty damn poor.

    Sure there are 'many positives' like lighting, the overall sound quality etc, but that won't make it 'ever so popular' or even redeem it from it's many more failings.

    And if he gave a balanced, two sided view it wouldn't be as funny.

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  7. i can tell you for a fact that he was not a stooge and yes he did pick number 3 which was a result for the final outcome, but he could have easily picked any of them to be honest.

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  8. Actually, by contrast, I think I was the target audience. I tend to find that section of society that a comedian holds a mirror against whilst parodying is very often the audience least intended to watch it, although, some people may have missed that point and thought "Oh, Lee Nelson, he speaks for the people" and swooned into their shell-suits. A brief look at the audience, a collection of respectable middle-aged people, rather than the sea of polyester you would expect does give this impression.

    Also, I'm curious as to how you know for a fact, but if it's your assertion, so be it.

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  9. Brilliant analysis, totally mirrors my thoughts but far better!

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  10. cos i was involved in show, thats how.

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  11. Involved how? As an audience member, or producer or similar?

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  12. Just the worst show I've seen on the Beeb in a long, long time.....

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  13. if I'd been involved with the show I'd post anonymously too. Copious booze didn't make it any better (and I even laugh at Dawn French when I'm drunk).....

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  14. Ha, true Davo. If there's a news report on this, everyone involved should in silhouette form, with a voice modifier.

    Also, I refuse to believe anyone laughs at Dawn French, no matter how drunk, except in the sense of "Dawn French buys her dresses from Marquees 'R' Us". I once watched Vicar of Dibley, which was like watching a video of my own colonoscopy, except without the fun of seeing lesions.

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  15. Get a life you self-centered miserable sack, I don't know why I just wasted 10 minutes of my life reading your "little" review, as if it was more entertaining than watching the actual show. Your review sucks balls, I even tried taking my shoe off to throw at the screen to stop it duuuh"
    You either love it or you hate it, or a little bit of both.
    Its nice light but very funny entertainment, the fact that it has 'well good' in the title probably just got your hopes up.

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  16. A review of a review. How very interesting. I feel it only logical I review your review.

    Query: Why did it take you 10 minutes to read it? I'll assume you were busy putting on your special helmet and mittens.

    Query: Why have you put "little" in quotation marks? Are you somehow trying to be sarcastic but feel the need to point this out to me, or do you just not know what they are for?

    My review "sucks balls" (That's what quotation marks are used for). Well, how very eloquent. And I need to "get a life". Sorry I didn't respond immediately. I was away to visit my girlfriend and do things.

    But hey, all input is appreciated, you insufferable nonce.

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  17. Although I completely agree with your brilliantly-written review of Lee Nelson's show (I was surprised at how shockingly awful it was, and it is the first programme I've watched on the BBC in a while that seriously made me annoyed that part of my licence fee had been spent on it), I must take issue with you over Vicar of Dibley. A lot of it is really quite hilarious :D

    Also, have you never seen any of French and Saunders? Try these on for size:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pakvWy8I59A
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9onI92OxBHY

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  18. haha, you are brilliant! i could only bear to watch about 3 minutes of this show and could not believe that any channel, let alone a mainstream one, would broadcast it. The very little of it that i did see is perfectly summed up in your review - i'm suprised you managed to watch the whole thing: hats off to you!!
    p.s. did you do english literature for a degree? your command of english is very witty!
    what impresses me more is your response to Martin Davis!!

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  19. Terrible program. As for the guest who described your view as "stupid". I can only imagine that was Lee Nelson himself - or similarly someone without intelligence, broadmindedness, and crucially, a sense of humour.

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  20. Erm, thanks.

    In response to questions, I'm actually a maths student, thus placing me about as far away from English literature as it is possible to be in a university scenario. I did, however, scrape a C at Higher, so I expect they are calling out in their droves for me to leave my true calling of Mathematics, and join them in literary deconstruction and analysis.

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  21. A very poor show, found it very unfunny.

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  22. You "suck balls" this "sucks balls", I reviewed your review of a review on a review.... That "sucked balls". Girlfriend ? Well now you're talking more rubbish than your "LITTLE" review. Which FYI "sucked balls" take your head out your ass, this show, in my opinion great, it was funny if not hilarious, you don't find it funny, because like everything,including the English language, you totally kill and bore others to death. Please, your review... I'd find a funeral to be a more interesting way to spend my time than having read this, now i will wait for some time while you drone some speech into me that you forced a copy and paste into your computer/ media device's thesaurus.

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  23. Right. Let's start from the top. Girlfriend? How can you POSSIBLY determine a girlfriend or absence of one from what I write? That'd be as absurd as me going "Tsk, you CLEARLY don't have a hand-held blender, don't make me laugh."

    Secondly, the show played to the lowest common denominator, and I'm sure they're pleased you enjoyed it.

    And just because I'm endowed with both the time and inclination to bother developing my language skills beyond that of "Brain-dead cretin" doesn't mean I'm instantly using a thesaurus.

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  24. No it means, as a wise man once said, you are "110% bent".

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  25. this show is well sh@t. Qualiteee.

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  26. cant believe the beeb are making more of this worthless excuse for a comedy. Im worried the qualiteee may be slipping. The controller is tripping. How many bjs is jason bent giving? Why am i forced by law to fund this circus of social conditioning?

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