Humour, by definition, is a funny thing.
Except, it seems on TV2. Since this column began several years ago, it has seldom visited TV2, for that very reason. It is aimed at a younger audience than the demographic to which I belong, and even the younger one that Mrs Brown claims to belong to.
She, of course, has long spread the word that she was a child bride, and that in itself is confirmation that she too shares a keen sense of humour, but there is no doubting the female side of the family does have an incredibly youthful look about them. You may think that last part could be taken as confirmation of my own lack of courage - and you'd be right. Anyway, as they say on TV2 whatever ... !
During what passes as silly season television in the country - some call it summer - we were bombarded with promos for TV2's new Monday comedy night. There were three new programmes starting, so I thought why not? It's been a while, and as the Black Caps cricketers showed recently, nothing and no one is bad all the time.
The first show to take was Super Fun Night at 8pm. The on-screen promo promised much hilarity.
"Super star comedian Rebel Wilson stars in an outrageous new comedy about what happens when you decided to live life outside of your comfort zone". I suspect many of you, like Mrs B and I, have not heard of Rebel Wilson, despite her billing as a "super star". Let me describe her. She is large, very large,[ almost Kim Dotcomesque], young and blonde. She makes her largeness the font of much of her humour, and that, combined with a series of predictable wisecracks, is 90 per cent of the show. Mind you, there is a clue to her omnipotent presence. Rebel conceived the show, which is really about her with a supporting cast to act as her props.
As Kimmie Boubier she and her two other single girlfriends, Marika and Helen Alice, go out somewhere special every Friday night. That constitutes "Friday Fun Night".
It's as though Rebel the super-star comedienne is not so creative and has taken a page out of the well-worn Friends concept and taken it a step further. The episode starts with the three girls having written down ideas on where to go that night and put them in a big balloon glass. The first idea Kimmie draws [who else] is to go to a piano bar where they can sing. Kimmie doesn't like the idea, because last time she went to sing on a stage, she got stage fright and fainted. Even though she was eight, as we get a flashback of a fat wee Kimette fainting. Back in real time, or as real as it gets in this programme, Kimmie draws another one. It's the same. One of the friends, I think it was Marika, admits all the bits of paper say the same thing, because she really wants to go to a piano bar. The others are not impressed.
"Following rules is the only thing that separates us from animals," one says.
Kimmie has an answer for that. "That's not right, what about using wallets?" The canned laughter is turned up loud for that one. It was one of the gems of the night, in a fake diamond sort of way.
There was more, much more, and without dissecting each attempt at humour, suffice to say Mrs B found it "embarrassing and with no redeeming features". It was confirmation that much of American humour, of the televised variety at least, is immature and predictably unfunny.
Trophy Wife followed at 8.30pm, and it was only marginally better. Our foray into the world of teeny- bopper entertainment was a reminder that we ought to stick to British humour.
In future we'll stay with Stephen Fry and his array of quick-witted funny panellists on QI. It has the advantage of also being described as a comedy and is actually funny.
Mind you, humour can come in all sorts of guises, sometimes unintentionally. On Wednesday night we were watching the Black Caps continue to amaze with their gutsy wins over world champs India when we were subjected to one such instance. The commentators are generally there for their knowledge of cricket rather than the English language and they continually mangle it.
"Seven bowlers have been used since the break and not one over's been bowled by the same person."
Those wonderful English commentators John Arlott, Brian Johnston et al would be turning in their proverbial graves, and rightly so.
- The Timaru Herald