More fool me. I gave The Sunday Night Project another try last night, but it's still a hopelessly awful format. I like hosts Alan Carr and Justin Lee Collins (when he's not sticking his tongue out like a killer whale mid-laugh, that is), but SNP is a real stinker. Why? Well, personally, I just hate the whole guest-host idea. And that's the raison d'etre of SNP, sadly. There's nothing wrong with having celebrity guests, of course, but the fake way they have to pretend they're in charge of this shambles is terrible.
The guests with experience of presenting cope better (and can sometimes make an episode pass by relatively painlessly), but most guests are actors or presenters who look lost and half-embarrassed by the experience. I feel particularly sorry for the American celebs, who must be persuaded to star because of SNP's vague, tenuous link to Saturday Night Live (it has guests-hosts, the acronym's nearly the same.)
But even Brits who should know better turn up for this drek. Take Kirstie Allsopp and Phil Spencer last night (a thrilling, big-name start to this new series, no?) The Location, Location, Location presenters were actually good sports, but they only agreed to this because it's a way to plug their new series. It starts this week, funny that. Actually, most people on SNP are only there for publicity reasons. Jack Whitehall (the new presenter of Big Brother's Big Mouth) and last summer's Big Brother winner Rachel Rice made brief appearances, "coinciding" with the start of Celebrity Big Brother last Friday. Oh yes, if you have a Channel 4 show, SNP is where you go to tell the nation. Well, the lobotomised 18-30s.
Incidentally, does this Jack Whitehall fellow know his own age? He's 22. So how can he claim to have first masturbated to Dani Behr -- who was only ever a fanciable TV star in the early-'90s? The Word finished in 1995, so is he seriously expecting us to believe he cracked one off to Ms. Behr when he was 7?! He made other comments on BBBM that didn't fit with his age, and that irritated me -- more than it should, I admit. If you're 22; act like you're 22, and reference things accordingly. Don't pretend you were a teenager when the Britpop battle between Oasis and Blur was happening.
Anyway, back to SNP. It's other failing is that it has nothing interesting to do over a whole hour. Its brainwave begins and ends with the idea of getting celebs to "host" the show (i.e, read an autocue, and put up with ribald comments from Carr and JLC.) There are a few weak sketches (only comedians do well here), sometimes a half-decent hidden camera joke, a fake reporter sketch (the best bit, as Carr handles the comedy), a pointless electric-shock quiz about the guest-hosts, a Q&A segment where it's claimed the audience can ask the celebs "anything" (they can't), and music from a guest-band oddly kept out of sight on a platform above everyone's heads. They seem to have ditched the game-show element that used to come at the end, thankfully -- but, with nothing replacing it, SNP now crawls to a close without a big finale.
Does anyone actually enjoy this? Or even manage to get past the first ad-break? Carr and JLC can be very entertaining elsewhere in solo projects, but despite their friendly chemistry together on SNP, the show is just terrible, monotonous, unfunny dirge.
4 January 2009
Channel 4, 10pm