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Comics provide little relief

Fair play to anyone who sat through the entire 25th anniversary Comic Relief telethon on Friday night.

I managed about 80 consecutive minutes before switching it off and resorting to catch up with the highlights the following day on the BBC iPlayer.

During its 25 year history Comic Relief has stuck to the tried and tested format of: funny bit, sad bit, funny bit, sad bit, repeated until such times as you’ll be laughing and crying so uncontrollably that you’ll feel it’s only fair to pledge some cash.

My issue with what I saw of this year’s show was that there wasn’t a clear enough demarcation between the funny bits and the sad bits. Sketch after sketch passed me by with the overwhelming urge being to cry rather than laugh.

I seriously began to wonder if all those celebrities flaunting themselves in cameo appearances were the ones in need of help.

For fear of sounding like a grumpy old man, light entertainment just isn’t what it used to be.

I’m not saying I didn’t raise a smile at some of the sketches, it’s just the laughs were significantly outweighed by those moments when tumbleweed swept through the room.

Even Peter Kay, usually so reliable to pull Comic Relief out of a hole, was a bit of a let down with his sponsored sit down and uninspiring music video for ‘Sit Down’ with James. Perhaps the underlying subtext that we were supposed to be laughing at was the fact that even Peter Kay couldn’t be bothered this year.

Comedy is of course subjective and, while I sat poker faced, others may have been laughing their legs off.

One award-winning funny person who baffles me is Miranda Harte. I can’t work out what I’m supposed to be laughing at. I can only presume it’s the fact Miranda is enormously tall, awkward and gets flustered very easily whereas the vast majority of women are petite, sure-footed and exude an unerring calm.

To be slightly more serious I think Miranda fails to amuse me because she pushes a brand of comedy that is trying to please all of the people all of the time which, as we all learn at some point in our lives, is impossible.

For me, being universal doesn’t work in adult programming, be it comedy or otherwise. With grown-up tastes being so varied, programmes benefit from being tailored to their target audience.

For example if you like the past you watch Time Team, if you like the future you watch Tomorrow’s World and if you like the present you watch the news.

Not only do individual programmes have target audiences, but many channels are devoted to specific genres of programme. For example, if you like sports you’ve got a vast array of channels showing everything from Premiership football to underwater snipe shooting.

I for one love a good drama. Just the other night Karen was watching Masterchef and they were just about to announce the winner when I grabbed the remote and changed the channel. Talk about drama.

Anyway, before you label me a spoilsport for my attitude to Comic Relief and its bland, star-studded approach to light entertainment, I’d just like to point out that I put my hand in my pocket to support the charity at a local level.

My friend Glyn who’s a school teacher was raising money for Comic Relief by getting his legs waxed in front of his pupils.

I always loved Comic Relief day when I was at school. It was a day when education was put on hold in the interests of having a laugh. That’s the mantra I’ve stuck to ever since and it’s served me well.

When Glyn suggested sponsoring him to have his legs waxed I crunched a few numbers and drew on my knowledge of human biology before offering to sponsor him £5 per leg. A sound investment if you ask me: I pay to inflict suffering on my mate and Comic Relief benefits to the tune of £15.

Like I said previously, putting education on hold in the interests of having a laugh is a mantra that has served me well and I challenge anyone to show me evidence to the contrary.

Weekly teaser

The answer to last week’s teaser was: the man from San Francisco being pursued across a field at night while clutching something in his arms was an American footballer.

Here’s this week’s teaser: Two men are standing on one side of a bridge and two women are approaching them. One of the men says, “Here comes my wife and daughter” to which the second man replies, “Here comes my wife and daughter”. If they are not married to the same woman and the women aren’t pregnant, how is this true?