After the decline of Have I Got News For You caused me to drop it from my viewing schedule, a gap for satirical comedy remained. At long last, however, it has been filled with a new candidate for greatness- Mock the Week. Hosted by Dara O’Briain, Mock the Week is a far less serious affair than HIGNFY, using the basic format of asking topical questions to let two opposing panels go off on tangents of hilarious whimsy. Yes, you may have to leave good taste at the door to be able to appreciate it to the fullest, and you certainly can’t invite your grandmother to watch it, but give it a chance and you may find yourself weak from laughter.
The show’s current four regulars are Frankie Boyle and Hugh Dennis on one team and Andy Parsons and Russell Howard on the other. Frankie is legendary if a little crude, Hugh is a hilarious character actor, Andy is down to earth yet capable of an amusing punch line whilst Russell is a little immature but also observant. Each team also has one guest per week, with the likes of Michael McIntyre, Greg Proops and David Mitchell proving hilarious, whilst sadly certain female comics such as Lucy Porter are more cringe-worthy than amusing.
- “If this is the answer, what is the question?”: One player picks a category and a related number or amount is shown- it is then up to everyone to volunteer what question that might answer. The main aim of the round is to come up with something as funny as possible, before someone finally gets down to business and volunteers the correct reply.
- Headliners: An image is shown with a four letter acronym referring to a related headline, and again players must try to work out what it stands for. As above, this starts with out with the most hilarious answers before being wrapped up with the correct one.
- Stand-up: With a different name every week, this round sees two people from each team head over to the performance area to test their stand-up skills. The ‘wheel of news’ is spun to select a topic, and then players take turns to tell jokes and anecdotes vaguely related to that topic.
- Scenes we’d like to see: Always the final round of the show, Scenes we’d like to see sets two scenarios which all players must come up with amusing lines for, ranging from “The worst thing to hear over a tannoy system” to “Unlikely lines from the final Harry Potter book”.
- Other rounds include Hugh Dennis doing voiceovers for silent pieces of video from the news (hilarious), brief moments of stand-up and a never-aired round called “What on Earth”, in which the panel is shown an image and asked “what on earth is this?”.
Provided you like a good laugh and your sensibilities aren’t easily offended, then Mock the Week will be right up your street. Give it a try, but be prepared to feel your sides ache from laughter.