Doug Coutts’ TV Preview: The John Bishop Show

THE JOHN BISHOP SHOW |TV1, 9.35 Thursday

A Personal View By Doug Coutts

A Personal View
By Doug Coutts

Variety is the spice of life – well, it used to be in the days before Moore Wilson’s opened. Now you can get your spices almost anywhere – luckily, for variety there’s John Bishop.

John Bishop is a stand-up comic, or used to be until he got a hankering for presenting variety shows. Now he’s in charge of a self-titled one and he seems to be enjoying himself. It’s certainly not stressful – he doesn’t need nearly as much material for a start and he’s recycling a lot of it anyway (from other variety shows).

I have to be honest with you – when someone says, “I have to be honest with you,” they’re obviously lying, so when JB tells us right up front, “It’s one of the most exiting moments of my life – it’s actually the most exciting moment of my life,” you can expect another standard variety show.

And it is. Ageing mod icon Paul Weller and his wig pop in for two songs, there’s a juggling act, a musical freak show and three comedians, including Trevor Noah channelling Eddie Izzard.

A fourth comic, Zoe Lyons, features in the credits but doesn’t make it onto the programme sent out to the colonies, a victim no doubt to the need to fit in 17 minutes of commercials. How bad she must feel being cut so Paul Weller could do a second number …

This type of show used to be a Sunday night staple and now, thanks to on-demand, they can be again. Or you can watch it in real-time and you’ll probably find something to enjoy. That’s the essence of variety – there’s something for everyone. Unless you’re a Zoe Lyons – whoever she is – fan.

What other critics said:

“The John Bishop Show served up golden buzzer-worthy acts in a format suited to sofa slumping on a Saturday night … The only audience participation came when the implausibly skilled beat boxer Beardyman asked for crowd suggestions. At that point, I realised why I was enjoying it: there were no red buttons or voting apps. This was old-school telly and it felt good.” — The Independent

“I have to say I’ve been impressed by The John Bishop Show. Just when you think stand-up on mainstream TV has settled into a rut with the same acts on a shiny-floored conveyor belt John Bishop has given air-time to different stand-ups who really deserve it in a weirdly appealing mash-up of seaside special variety and club comedy.” — Beyond the Joke.

“It bore some similarities to Live at the Apollo, in that it was filmed in a theatre, and featured comedians. But unlike Live at the Apollo, which knows its post-pub audience inside out, the comedians were punctuated with music and variety acts. Oh dear … It was all too uneven, too unengaging and – fatally – too unfunny.” — Forbes.

Doug Coutts has had a career in and around television for close to 40 years. He spent 13 years as a floor manager at Avalon Studios before going freelance and never earning as much again. His writing has spanned TV genres — from Shortland Street dialoguery and quiz shows to documentaries and comedy — while a lengthy stint as TV reviewer in the Auckland Star earned him two mentions in Metro magazine’s Hot List and an angry letter from Jon Gadsby. You can read more of Doug (the satirist) at:
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