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Come in Lenny Henry, your time is up

January 8, 2008

lennyhenry.jpgThere are a few facts one can state about Harry Hill. He wears big collars; he used to be a doctor; his brand of quirky, off-the-wall comedy isn’t for some people. You can also add to that list the fact that he totally revolutionised TV Burp. Before Hill took over the reins, it was a load of arse.

So liking my ‘TV programmes’ (as it were) I was looking forward to last night’s Lenny Henry.TV. I thought it would be a cross between TV Burp and something from a Graham Norton programme, with maybe a bit of Screen Wipe thrown in for good measure. It was billed as “Lenny Henry takes a look at the most hilarious clips from the internet and CCTV footage.” Now, Henry I can overlook. I was willing to give him a shot. After all, a lot of the “hilarious footage” speaks for itself right? A show like TV Burp must be easy to put together, right? Wrong! I can imagine the TV execs all sat around their boardroom churning out ideas. “ITV have TV Burp” says one. “Why don’t we do something similar?”
“Great idea Tarquin,” replies his line manager, who has also been thinking outside the box. “Who’s the best comedian we can use at the Beeb? I know, Lenny Henry! He’s not doing anything til March…”

Firstly, I must also take offence with the title of the programme. I’m sure they’re all trying to be modern and hip and street by calling it a name that brings to mind the internet. Except that titles of internet sites are conventionally lower case. The fact that theirs is a cross between upper and lower (and the fact that the TV bit is in caps) totally ruins it. It’s too conventional. Too Beeb. If it was Ch4 for instance, they’d call it lennyhenry.tv which would be much better. Come on Beeb, push the envelope a bit, eh?

Anyway, thanks to the kind of micro management we come to expect from our beloved Beeb, what their show turned out to be is more like a bad version of You’ve Been Framed (canned laughter included) and then a lovely spat-off between Henry and Chris Tarrant and countless TisWas references (Hello? 2008 here!). Before I could wonder how long it would take before Lenny Henry did his over-used (and not even funny in the first place) impression of his mother’s African accent, he’d done it.

And that should have been my cue to turn off. But no, I pressed on. Past the clip of someone falling off a bike, inane, unfunny Lenny Henry comment, and canned laughter. Past another clip of someone falling off a roof, a really bad Lenny Henry observation and more canned laughter. And then a clip of someone falling over a child’s squeaky toy, Lenny Henry makes an embarrassing pun about the situation. And yet more fucking canned laughter. Cut to Henry sitting smugly at his desk. It’s a shame because I’m sure he was a good stand up when I were a lass.

Come in Lenny Henry, your time is up!

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13 Comments leave one →
  1. Lenny permalink
    January 10, 2008 3:03 pm

    African Jamaican

  2. January 10, 2008 3:07 pm

    nope. deffo an african accent…

  3. Terry permalink
    January 16, 2008 12:40 pm

    The Beeb are desperate to keep a decent quota of black entertainers in the limelight and it is failing. Lenny Henry belongs to the same era as Russ Abbott, Freddie Starr and Little & Large but where are they and why aren’t they constantly being offered work? Its a noble sentiment but ultimately it doesn’t work. Oh, and before you ask, my white hood is in the dry cleaners.

  4. January 16, 2008 12:46 pm

    if they seriously think henry is our best black comic, then they’re deluded!

  5. Terry permalink
    January 16, 2008 2:20 pm

    Well, they gave “Little Miss Jocelyn” her own series despite ridiculously low viewing ratings. She spent her time accosting tourists in Trafalgar Square, talking gibberish. It wasn’t funny at all and those people for the most part just ignored her, thinking she was off her head on crack or something. Plenty of canned laughter though, just to create the illusion of comedy. Its all about being pc and nothing at all about actually finding new talent.

  6. January 16, 2008 2:39 pm

    i dunno, loads of people i know find her show funny. but canned laughter (for me) is a sure sign of mindless ‘comedy’ and something that’s is deffo to be avoided.

  7. Terry permalink
    January 16, 2008 3:24 pm

    I’m with Ricky Gervais on this one. His character Andy Millman stood in front of beeb execs and said “There were no funny black entertainers in this country”. Cleverly displayed in the shot was a portrait of Mr Henry himself. Sometimes satire has to be cruel to get the message across and to cut through a misguided sense of benevolence. In America, they are awash with clever and funny black comedians.

  8. January 16, 2008 4:00 pm

    have to disagree with you there. that dude from the it crowd is brilliant.

  9. Terry permalink
    January 16, 2008 4:20 pm

    Hate to split airs with you but he is from the Republic of Ireland and therefore, technically not British.

  10. Terry permalink
    January 16, 2008 4:23 pm

    No, I’m wrong on that one and I will concede that he is indeed brilliant.

  11. April 24, 2009 11:16 am

    I read your posts for quite a long time and must tell that your posts always prove to be of a high value and quality for readers.

  12. anotn permalink
    March 19, 2010 9:16 pm

    “His character Andy Millman stood in front of beeb execs and said “There were no funny black entertainers in this country”. ”

    WRONG, Andy was refuting the statement but couldn’t come up with any names.

    Lenny Henry is hilarious in the first two seasons of CHEF!

  13. May 27, 2012 7:38 am

    I was wondering if you ever considered modifying the layout of your website? Its well written; I enjoy what you have got to state. But maybe you can include a a bit more in the way of content so people can connect to it better. Youve got a great deal of wording for only having one or two images. Maybe you can space it out better?

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