As part of Channel 4’s Funny Fortnight, the big wigs have given Facejacker favourite Terry Tibbs (played by Face and FoneJacker creator Kayvan Novak) a chat show pilot. Was it a wise move? Well, in my opinion, no.
I’ve never been a huge fan of Fone or Facejacker and was vaguely aware of the character Terry but didn’t know a great deal about him – other than the fact that Novak plays him, he’s very popular and is a car dealer. Therefore, I watched Verry Terry merely curiously – I didn’t have any preconceived ideas. In fact, the only Facejackers I’ve seen are the first two episodes of the second – and most recent – series and the only character I found properly funny was Terry, but it’s only now that I remember him: it didn’t conjur up any memories when I sat down to watch this show on Thursday night.
Maybe it’s because I haven’t watched either of Novak’s shows extensively before but I didn’t really ‘get’ the humour of Verry Terry. It just didn’t seem to me that there was anything funny or any jokes in the show. I must say that I think Novak – who wrote this show too – decided he could carry a thirty minute-long programme simply by repeatedly saying the F-word every time something even slightly unexpected was said by a guest or audience member.
HE’S NO ROB BRYDON…
On the subject of the guests, they were abysmal. Mickey Rourke and Anthea Turner? What the hell possessed the Verry Terry team to book these two? Even looking at or hearing their names, they don’t scream comedy potential, do they? Or, perhaps they were secured in order to give Terry a chance to prove himself as a funny and potentially popular chat show host? As it turned out, the guests didn’t fulfil their extremely minimal comedy potential and neither did Tibbs prove himself to be a good chat show host.
When I wrote my review of The Rob Brydon Show, I wrote about Blur’s Alex James being a difficult guest for Rob but how the host made the interview somewhat bearable. To say Mickey Rourke was a difficult guest for Terry Tibbs would be an understatement – a major one! Chat kings like Norton or Ross have previously made interviews with Rourke successful (so successful, in fact, that he was actually a guest on Jonathan’s last ever BBC show) but – obviously – they have experience, whereas Tibbs doesn’t (and neither does the man behind the rubber mask, Kayvan Novak). However, you would expect someone starting out in this genre to show at least some competence with such guests as Rourke but there was none obvious, not even with Anthea Turner – who didn’t give a lot, but didn’t give too little which – you would have thought – would have been ideal for Terry as it gave him something to work with but didn’t leave him to put all of the effort in, either. Alas, however, he didn’t seem bothered to give being funny a shot.
It would be easy to say the poor quality is because Terry is a character, not a real chat show host like the aforementioned Jonathan Ross or Graham Norton but this isn’t an excuse! Mrs. Merton (Caroline Aherne’s perfect creation) was extremely successful (so successful in fact that it allowed Aherne’s to give the BBC the ultimatum of commissioning The Royle Family or her not do any more Mrs. Merton). And then there’s Angelos Epithemiou (AKA actor Dan Renton Skinner), whose chat show is still in its first series on Channel 4 but whom is proving himself to be a master in the field already. Sure, his pilot was a bit shaky but it at least showed promise (hence why Channel 4 commissioned it), unlike Verry Terry!
This was only a pilot, however, and if Channel 4 actually decide to take the leap of faith and commission Verry Terry for a full series, let’s hope Kayvan Novak has some real jokes to hand before the cameras start rolling!
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