Friday, 15 May 2009

Never mind Simon Amstell - Never Mind the Buzzcocks

Advantages: Some great humour from Bill Bailey and the guests

Disadvantages: Mostly cheap-shot humour from Mark Lamarr and Simon Amstell

This show just reminds me I am getting older! 

I remember a time when I used to follow contemporary pop and rock pretty closely. This I no longer do. Looking back, as a youngster, it seemed that there was an urgent necessity to keep in touch with the latest sounds, rather than an actual want. 

I also remember a time when i could walk into a pub quiz and really tilt the balance for my team, when it came to the music round. 

Nowadays I know this would not be the case - not because I go to lots of pub quizzes and have seen myself fail, but because I am finding the questions on Buzzcocks increasingly harder. A simple analysis is that the questions are involving more recent music, which I am just not keeping up with - nowadays I couldn't tell your Arctic Patrol from yer Snow Monkeys!! 

However, I still enjoy the quiz, even though it has become 'less serious' if that is possible. 

Basically, two teams and a quizmaster/host. Originally hosted by that annoying Mark Lamarr, it is now hosted by the thoroughly irritating Simon Amstell. 

The teams are of three people, each made up from a resident team captain and two guests, from the world of celebrity, usually from the music world. From time to time there will be a scapegoat guest - a B-lister, or someone who is not particularly funny, or loudmouthed enough to defend themselves against the 'wit' of messrs. Lamarr and Amstell. So this poor guest will be embarrassed and humiliated, so that we can all be happy at how funny and witty the presenters are. 

The game involves answering questions on pop and rock, based around video clips, 'what have they got in common' spot the pop star, name that tune through a capella versions, and complete the lyric. This is all bound together with witty banter between the presenter, captains and guests, and yes it can be funny, but much of it relies on humiliation rather than humour. 

As for Simon Amstell, the show has gone downhill since he started. OK, I know the show isn't meant to be taken that seriously, but he doesn't seem to give a toss about the show. He only seems concerned with trying to be funny.

Simon Amstell, wake up!! - you never were, aren't and never will be a presenter, or a comedian. How in heaven's name you managed to get a job in the media, is a mystery. You were a terrible interviewer on Channel 4s Popworld - truly truly awful. You didn't interview pop stars on that programme, you just tried to put them down. You just tried to come across as superior. You are up - or should I say down - there with Stephen Mulhern - another presenter who relies on humiliating people (check out his pieces on Britain's Got talent). 

Back to Buzzcocks - Thankfully the best humour comes from Bill Bailey. This guy IS funny and doesn't rely on cheap put downs to entertain. 

Try and catch some of the earlier episodes pre-Simon Amstell on some of the repeat channels. 

I would give this programme 5 stars, but Lamarr and especially Amstell do spoil this.

Summary: A great show, spoiled by its presenters.

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