For this first instalment, we were promised ‘bizarre scenarios’ and ‘credibility-stretching stunts’, all fitting into the theme of the week. The first theme was science. Somehow I doubted we would see Brian Cox staring wistfully from a mountain.
So, it’s fair to say that I wasn’t expecting much. Not just because I had never heard of Kern, but also because I doubted that there would be much in the way of actual celebrities. Or bedlam. Or science. Apart from that I had an open mind.
The first pranking skit was based around a hapless celebrity supposedly fronting a childrens’ science show. So, in came Howard from the Halifax adverts. Nothing like putting the big hitters up first, is there?
Howard had to talk about a species of bat that apparently has human-like testicles. This set the standard. Howard looked bewildered and was probably wishing he’d never left the crazy world of mortgages behind. Other skits of this type involved Cheryl Baker talking about the ‘fact’ that a cucumber will somehow remove all the alcohol from a pint of beer. See, kids? If you take a cucumber to the pub with you, everything is fine because you can drive home afterwards!
We also saw a bloke called Ben from Big Brother, who seemed almost crippled by his poshness and had vegetables taped to his face for reasons that were never explained. Had I known that this sort of thing was comedy gold, I would have just filmed myself eating a salad from Itsu yesterday without any shred of skill or dignity and then passed it onto E4’s executives.
The other sketches involved Kern playing the role of a scientist as more Z-listers met human ‘clones’, who were dragged onto the set staggering around like sleepwalking zombies. The celebrities, in this case Same Difference of X-Factor fame and Paddy Doherty (I promise I am not making this up) prodded, fed and gawped at the ‘clone’.
The second round of clone-based action involved Brian Belo from Big Brother and ex I’m A Celeb contestant and perpetual git David Van Day meeting clones of themselves. Van Day looks like a dripping waxwork of himself these days, so there was a slight ghoulish interest as to what his clone would look like. In turns out it looked like a stooping bloke in a dreadful latex mask. Van Day questioned the legality of it all, no doubt pining for the days when he ran a burger van in Brighton.
Belo, for his part, looked utterly terrified when his clone was wheeled out. He may well have wanted to launch into an impassioned speech about scientists playing ‘God’ and what this meant for the future of genetic studies, but instead he just shrieked like a nonce and pathetically tried to hide behind a table.
But the laboratory fun wasn’t done there, we also had some other forgettable celebrity look through a microscope at a picture of an ant with a top hat whilst Kern convinced him it was real. There was also something involving a monkey with more human testicles as well as a prosthetic penis in a jar. To be honest, I can’t really remember as, by this time, I was trying to work out why Kern has such a profound bollock fixation.
However, Kern did well to stay in character throughout and, being fair for once, kept the ruse going rather than resort to Beadle-style ‘reveals’.
But that was also part of the problem. There was simply no charm to the whole thing. Lacking the ‘look – we got you’ factor of Beadle and with nothing even approaching the satire of Chris Morris’ Brass Eye, Celebrity Bedlam was just an awful, empty waste of time.
Maybe its ‘niche’ (if you can even call it that) is in post-pub TV, when you need something with enough knob gags to hold your attention whilst polishing off the remains of a kebab. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not knocking that scenario, as there’s a reason why I’ve watched ‘Kevin and Perry Go Large’ three times. But, for midweek viewing, Celebrity Bedlam’s shortcomings were all too apparent.
At the end, Kern’s voiceover said: “What have we learnt? Absolutely nothing”.
Exactly. We all know that minor celebrities will practically whore themselves for a few minutes of extra limelight, but this seemed pointless and slightly cruel. I just don’t know what Kern was trying to achieve. In many ways, it was just a load of balls.