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Hilarious, totally-irreverent, near-slanderous political quiz show, based mainly on news stories from the last week or so, that leaves no party, personality or action unscathed in pursuit of laughs. Hosted by Deayton, with team captains Hislop (magazine columnist) and Merton (comedian) joined by, typically, a comedian and a politician, journalist or news figure - although an absent Labour politician was once famously replaced by a tub of lard! Regular rounds of Caption Competition, Odd One Out, What Happened Next and Missing Words are interspersed with running jokes: Deayton's senile mother, Hislop's Jimmy Somerville impersonation, the firm belief that all politicians are crooks... Written by
Cynan Rees <email@example.com>
Hosted by Angus Deayton, two teams (Captains Hislop and Merson and one guest each) pick through the weeks news in a quiz format. Rounds include odd one out, working out a story from news footage, missing words round etc. Winning is not as important as making good jokes.
This is the original panel show that sparked off copies on other subjects, music (never mind the buzzcocks) sport (they think it's all over) TV (It's only TV but I like it) etc. However it's a very British style of comedy - relying on sharp wits and cynical, satirical views on news stories. Deayton provides the scripted lines, Hislop provides the cruel satirical wit and Merson provides the off the wall style humour. All three are very different but work together very well making for a constant stream of jokes that appeal to different senses of humour.
The chemistry is so good that the guests don't really matter. Some are very good and match the sharp wits joke for joke. However others are clearly out of their depth and are not able to keep up with the joking, rather just try to answer the questions straight. Many are on so that they can be the butt of jokes - politicians are the main group that walk a tightrope by appearing on the show. However the guests are not that important - indeed Merson's team mates have included an Elton John impersonator and a tub of lard (after guests dropped out at the last moment), yet the show was as funny as ever.
Overall very Private Eye Editor Hislop's sharp, cynical humour mixed with Merson's surreal brand of comedy held together in a quiz format makes for a very funny show that feels as fresh as it did all those years ago.
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