I said to myself when I started writing articles and reviews for Vada magazine, that I wouldn’t review comedy, due to my involvement performing stand up. To review comedy would be fulfilling the role of my natural predator. However, I feel like I am in no danger of this when I write a review of Kookyville, because not only does the show feature no comedy writers or actors, it also has literally zero comedic merit.
For those of you that didn’t see it, that is absolutely the best way to see it. To save you the time and intact soul, it’s a comedy sketch show, but featuring real people, with no script. It’s kind of like The Only Way Is Essex, if The Only Way Is Essex was shot like Little Britain. I think some of you can see the inherent flaw in this idea. It’s completely and utterly unfunny. They have obviously tried to find people who see themselves as office clowns and wannabe comedians, meaning one of the sketches is an obvious pastiche of The Office, and Catherine Tate’s Nan character is amateurishly ripped off, but there’s none of the humour or writing effort that’s gone into the original ideas.
If only being chronically tedious was this show’s only problem, I could forgive it, I genuinely could. But that’s actually the least of its problems. Almost all the people in Kookyville are racist, sexist, disablist or homophobic, and you’re expected to laugh when they say something offensive. Two women sit at a table and giggle at a little person and discuss how ‘having a dwarf’ would be even better than having a Chinese baby, but not to have sex with, and I quote, ‘I’m not a pervert’.
This particular scene is possibly the most disturbing, as one of two things has happened. The show states that all the people are real, but some of the scenarios have been set up for comic effect (fat lot of good that did.) That means that either the man the women are snickering at is a member of the public who just happened to be in the restaurant where the sketch was filmed, or the man was an actor who Channel 4 paid to be there, meaning they wanted the women to mock him for the sketch. Both of these scenarios are deplorable, I’ll let you decide for yourself which one was more likely.
These aren’t the only characters who are problematic. A David Brent-style office manager tells us the Turkish are a ‘very greasy people’, an elderly woman is racist to a waiter in a Chinese restaurant, some hotel owners make jokes about a man suffering from the effects of thalidomide. There’s no irony, there’s no nudges, no winks, these are real people talking about their real thoughts and experiences, and it made me realise, as I have long suspected, that people are awful and I hate them.
I honestly can’t believe that no-one at Channel 4 thought to look at the tape of Kookyville before they screened it. I’m assuming that’s what happened because I can’t comprehend the idea that they knew how terrible it was when they put it out. If nothing else, it’s a massive slap in the face to everyone in the comedy industry, as well as to audiences, because it smacks of a huge paucity of ambition, imagination and budget.