You can’t imagine why the Whingers selected this one, can you?
This sounded very much our cup of cheers: a live chat show with celebrity guests in a bar hosted by the usually reliable Arthur Smith; the perfect excuse to knock back a few drinks and round off an evening.
But this was more of a cocked-up than a Pissed-Up chat Show.
Each guest is invited to take a breathalyser test as Smith interviews them and there are various riffs on the dangers of too much drinking.
And there lies part of the problem. While you’re sitting there knocking back the alcohol you don’t really want to be shown the difference between a healthy and an unhealthy liver do you? You’d rather be clutching your sides with laughter than feeling to see if you have one left.
Smith has given up drinking, one of his guests on the show we saw Art Malik was also teetotal, so it was really left to the other guests – Malik’s daughter Keira (appearing on the Fringe together in Rose) and Fish from Marillion – to fly the flag a bit.
One audience member was invited to blow into the device but sadly neither Whinger was selected on this occasion. Perhaps this being the Fringe they can’t stretch to a backup machine and felt it was too risky.
But the tone, which feels a bit preachy, was made even worse by the feeling of unpreparedness from Smith who rambled through the evening referring to notes on a bit of paper and even then failing to get the name of his guest musician right. Is he sure he’s given up the sauce? If he has, perhaps he should consider going back on it.
As it happens, Fish (AKA Derek Dick) provided the most interesting chat and seemed a very likeable chap. But the evening was almost saved from being a complete shambles by Smith’s besuited side-kick Derek from the fictional Scottish Licensing Agency who provided most of the real laughs.
Of course as the guests vary every night so no two shows will be the same, but the whole drinks issue seemed counter-productive, rather than over-the-counter, to the proceedings.
Dispiriting in both senses.