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Take The Mike

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Take The Mike

“Just because you’re not funny, doesn’t mean we won’t laugh at you!”

This comedy showcase produced by Brighter Pictures, was aired on ITV at 12.35am in 2001. The show aimed to give new and wannabe comedians with the opportunity to learn from a professional and later perform in front of a live audience. Supergirlies Louise and Jai presented and took part in the different sections of the programme; - the workshop with a ‘legendary comic’, an interview with that same comic and finally live performances by the wannabe comedians, recorded at the Arts Café in London.

Louise and Jai were television presenters, interviewers and comperes during this show, which provided much opportunity to show their talents. However whether Supergirly made the most of this opportunity is up for debate. The links became repetitive and sometimes tiresome, while there was minimal input from Louise (nothing from Jai) in the workshop setting. The interviews were relatively more interesting, as Jai got more involved and Louise pulled faces to the camera in response to the comic’s comments in a very Ruby Wax way.

It’s a shame that the programme was just 30 mins long. I feel that if each of the 3 main components were given more time to be explored, the show would have been much more interesting (and perhaps less of a Supergirly vehicle). There is hardly anything of the professional comedians giving advice to the wannabes, something that would have been interesting to hear for any wannabes watching the show. The workshop in itself could have easily taken up 20 mins, with input and responses from the 'legendary comic' and the girls being considered and taken into account by the trainees, more detailed discussions and more of a ‘fly on the wall’ feel. However it seemed that this was squashed into a few minutes in between introductions, links and snippets of material. Similarly it would have been interesting to hear more from the ‘legendary comic’ in terms of their background, comedy influences and opinions on the group. Again this was over-edited to be too brief in my opinion. The second half of the programme is set entirely in the Arts Café, as Supergirly present the new comedians to a live audience, who get to vote on who they liked the most. While the voting goes on, Supergirly grace us with a tune (yay) but again these are often edited (perhaps for legal reasons!?) leaving us wanting more.

What stood out for me were the occasions when Louise's natural wit and sarcasm emerged in various situations. Eg tackling heckler comedians (Yep!); dealing with comments from sexist, anti-northern 'legend' Malcolm Hardee and of course as always the songs performed by Supergirly on the show. Strikingly good was Louise's alcoholic spin on Macy Gray's singing in 'I Try'. Classic!

So all in all I would argue that this show has a great deal of potential but doesn’t really follow through… However the next series has been given a complete revamp (and a new presenter – grrr) so we can perhaps see how other people responded to it by the way it has been developed. It should definitely get a better time slot!

Also by Caroline Marshall

• Dawn French
• Ruby Wax • Arabella Weir • Meera Syal • Gimme Gimme Gimme • Victoria Wood
• Caroline Aherne • Liza Tarbuck • Caroline Quentin • Lenny Henry • Pauline Quirke
Website created by Caroline  -> Contact