Channel 4 is famous for its late night comedy. Whether it’s an edgy off the wall chat show hosted by someone the producers found wandering around Soho or panel games that are at their funniest after you’ve drunk a six-pack of lager, they’ve become a part of the TV landscape and launched many a career.
However, this year’s Big Fat Quiz of the Year went one stage further and let the drunks into the studio.
In case you’re not familiar with it, the Big Fat Quiz of the Year is Channel 4′s sideways look at the last twelve months, mainly focusing on the sillier stories. For example their Olympic questions were about whether a rower had an erection during his medal presentation, or whether swimming dynamo Michael Phelps peed in the shallow end. Cutting edge stuff, I’m sure you’ll agree.
Having said that, the format might be simple (and daft) but it’s very effective. Quiz master Jimmy Carr asks three teams of celebrities, mostly comedians, questions about the year with one team installed as the class jokers for the evening. Thanks to the outraged hoots of the Daily Mail everyone knows that this year’s class clowns were Jack Whitehall and James Corden.
Throughout the programme their jokes were funny and no different in content from last year’s show (or other panel shows for that matter), although the quality dipped the drunker they got. However, there were moments of genius, like when they had a takeaway pizza delivered to the studio halfway through the show.
Unfortunately they also dominated the programme in a way that previous year’s class clowns haven’t. One of the reasons this happened was because the other teams, Jonathan Ross/Russell Howard and Richard Ayoade/Gabby Logan, didn’t produce jokes of the same quality and quantity as the now infamous team. In fact Ayoade and Logan were one of the worst combinations I’ve seen. After round two they started offering up completely different answers to each question, seemingly forgetting they were meant to be a team
Logan, more used to getting dull sporting comments out of bored pundits, would have probably worked much better with Jonathan Ross who is used to wringing a few drops of ‘comedy’ out of such situations.
It seems Gabby Logan was there as the token women – something I wish Channel 4 would stop. There are plenty of funny and interesting women out there who are as good as (if not better than) the men who were on the show. Why not get someone genuinely talented on next year, like Josie Long, Shappi Khorsandi or Jo Brand?
One thing they shouldn’t change is the question style. Mixed in the usual mystery guest and celebrity cameos are the shows three strongest elements: the Mitchell Brook Primary School Play, Jon Snow reporting on a pop song and Charles Dance reading a book.
If there is anything cuter or more entertaining than Mitchell Brook Primary’s version of the Queen’s Jubilee over Christmas this year than I certainly missed it. And Charles Dance reading 50 Shades of Grey was even better: Channel 4 need to buy the rights to the book and give him the lead role. It could be their version of Last Tango in Halifax.
Big Fat Quiz of the Year 2012 is well worth a watch. Grab a bottle of wine and a takeaway pizza like Whitehall and Corden, then settle down to enjoy it. After all, if it offended the Daily Mail then it has to be funny!