Questions for Brits about TV shows and comics

I got started watching 8 Out Of 10 Cats, 8 Out Of 10 Cats Does Countdown, and a couple of similar shows on Youtube.

What network do these run on that allows that kind of language (f-word, m-f word, among many others)? Are these late-night shows?

Is this kind of humor pretty typical of British comics? Everyone seems to make fun of everyone else.

A comic named Jimmy Carr seems to lead the attack, although to be fair he gets his share of shafts from his fellow comics. Comments about Jimmy? (His current partner apparently described him when they met as “a one-note comedian with the eyes of a sex offender.”)

If there is swearing, they are usually on after the 9pm watershed on Friday and Saturday nights.

These are celebrity panel games, often guessing games and the humour is pretty stupid joshing between these celebrity ‘personalities’. Most are comics who are keen to get TV exposure and the appearance fee, to sell their money making big theatre shows. They don’t want to waste their best theatre material on TV so they just make fun of each other. Most of the shows are filmed over a full day and edited down to thirty minutes of the best material. The humour is pretty asinine. Filling material for the weekend evening TV slots.

The news quiz shows are better. ‘Have I go news for you’ can be quite sharply satirical and the butt of the jokes are politicians. :dubious:

That style of panel game is common, although those two are among the least serious. Would I lie to you? Is a show from before the watershed, and actually makes more of an attempt to stick to its format, whilst Mock The Week lets the comics do more of their stand up.

I’ve seen Jimmy Carr live, I think he’s very funny.

I’ve never really understood the US network thing, but those shows you mentioned air on Channel Four, where the occasional mother fucker after nine isn’t unusual.

You can pretty much say and show whatever you like after the 9:00 watershed on any of the main broadcast channels (i.e. the channels that are free to everyone without subscription)

If you like them, then seek out Taskmaster if you can - I think you’d appreciate it. Start from the first episode, though, as I think it’s better watching it as it evolves.

I find him funny - time-served standup so is very sharp and acidic. Pretty lightweight, so wouldn’t have much of a political dimension to his act if you prefer comedians to address the issues of the day.
He’s been on mainstream telly for years, now, so is more of an establishment entertainment figure. Well recognised so would sell out a UK comedy tour pretty comfortably I would imagine, but not to the level where people would be fighting to get tickets.

A full day, really? My experience must be nonrepresentative, then. I attended tapings for two different panel game shows and they lasted at most a couple hours. When I saw the shows on TV later, they had edited out a great deal of material, but they didn’t include any material I hadn’t seen, which suggests they were not building episodes from different filming sessions from the same day.

Well, they are professionals, and also probably not being paid by the hour or the joke.

Of the current crop of Brit panel shows, I’m most enjoying Alan Davies - As Yet Untitled.

For those who haven’t seen it, he gets a mix of current comedians, B list celebrities and occasionally an unusual other person [Germaine Greer was one - not shy of a microphone, but has a proper job outside media]. They sit around a bar table in front of an audience and whitter away on whatever topics take their fancy.

Quite hit and miss, but when they all click it is gold.

There seems to be a culture in Brit comedy to play well with others for the sake of the show. I’ve only seen a few American attempts and usually they are awful, as each person tries to claw attention to themselves but not feeding the show.

I am guessing, but I suspect the bit the studio audience sees is only part of it. How long it all takes, I guess that is one of the secrets of television.

I can tell you that he sells out very quickly every time he comes to South Africa (I’ve been, he’s great).

Not only is he funny, he’s also very clever (from a* QI *bit where the panel had to make words/sentences with letter as a side thing).

If 8/10 Cats shocked the OP, I do wonder what he’d make of Frankie Boyle-era* Mock the Week * - easily available on youtube - this bit being my particular favourite:

Spoilered because decidely NSFW - “Stop saying fuck!”

OP, FYI*, 8/10 Cats does Countdown* is the comedy variant of another show, in case that was unclear. Also features Rachel and Susie, but not Jimmy, John nor Sean

Well, sure—I can believe that the celebrities had to show up earlier than we did in order to get their hair and make-up done, and maybe do some rehearsals and other prep work. But as far as I can tell, all the actual filming for a single episode, including pickups and retakes, took place during a two-hour window when the audience was present.

To bring this conversation back on-topic, I should point out that in the filmings I attended, there was plenty of swearing and off-colour humour, all of which was edited out for broadcast. Which was a real pity, because those bits actually had the best jokes. I guess the shows I saw were intended for broadcast before the watershed hour. (One of them was QI; I don’t remember the name of the other one.)

I think where the “Whole day” thing comes from is that several episodes worth are filmed on the same day (I’ve heard 3/day for QI). So each episode (and hence audience and guests) is 2 hours or so, but crew and regulars are there all day.

I attended filmings of Have I Got News For You (minimal swearing) and Mock the Week (lots of swearing). Both tapings took about three hours from the time we got in to the finish, but there is always a warm-up comedian before the taping starts.

I’ve also attended tapings of BBC Radio 4 comedy panel shows. Apart from the topical ones like The Now Show they will usually tape two episodes at a time (Just a Minute does this), which again takes about two to three hours all told. Radio 4 will bleep out swear words (not that anyone swears on Just a Minute but they do on other shows) when broadcast but if you download them via the iPlayer they tend to be unbleeped.

Check out season 13 episode 9 of 8 Out of 10 Cats. It’s the first episode after Jimmy Carr’s tax problems and the look of glee on Sean Lock’s face as he is waiting to begin is hilarious.

[quote=“Steve_McQwark, post:14, topic:824058”]

Check out season 13 episode 9 of 8 Out of 10 Cats. It’s the first episode after Jimmy Carr’s tax problems and the look of glee on Sean Lock’s face as he is waiting to begin is hilarious.


And fair play to Jimmy for openly taking the hit on that one without excuses. (FTR Carr was one of several celebrities that had been involved in a tax avoidance scheme on the advice of financial advisors. They hadn’t been doing anything actually illegal IIRC but it looked very bad.)

Well I wasn’t clutching my pearls, I’ve heard and said all the words before, but then it occurred to me this was broadcast and I wondered. You don’t get that thing here even on late night shows.

That clip is very funny, I’ll have to look up more of that show.

I assumed there was a show called Countdown but I couldn’t find it on Youtube. It looks like it might be fun (if not comedic) to watch, so if anyone has better luck than I did finding it, please post a link.

Aye, Countdown’s something of an institution over here. It’s been running on Channel Four since it was launched in 1982, originally presented by Richard Whitely (who also presented a local news show in my neck of the woods, so he became known as Twice Nightly Whitely). It’s a known favourite with those of advancing years (the mid-afternoon slot means they’re the key demo, I imagine), as is occasionally alluded to by Jimmy on Cats Does Countdown.

No idea if this will work overseas, but here you go:

It’s one of a series of Laddish panel shows that have evolved over many years (anyone go further back that They Think It’s All Over?’s_All_Over_(TV_series))

They have been severely criticised on the basis that this sort of jump-in-and-be-offensive/aggressive humour tends to exclude women comics, because most women comics don’t work like that (in the UK at least). (Note that I have not expressed an opinion here).

As for the one-note comedian in question - I agree with his partner about that. But the context, which is important, is missing. His partner works as a TV booker of comics and, as part of her job, had to see his show and interview him. The description you quote comes from her notes post interview. It’s discussed in John Bishop In Conversation With … Jimmy Carr. Tried to find it online for you and failed. It was rapist, not sex offender, BTW.


Interesting. I’ve heard both critiques (jump in and be savage/not many women), but in isolation. I didn’t know the everyone-pile-on style was thought of as the reason for a lack of female involvement: I assumed that was just another facet of the fact that women are still relatively underrepresented in comedy.

As soon as I read the idea though, I immediately pictured Mock The Week, not Cats Does Countdown. MTW appears to be the centre of that universe; it’s pretty much built into the format.

He actually mis-quoted it himself, apparently, in an interview with one Kirsty Young, excerpted here:

“She literally wrote notes because I was auditioning. I was a one-note comedian with the eyes of a sex offender. She actually wrote that and we’ve still got it,” he said.

Yorkshire Pud, thanks for the link. They actually do that every night? It must be exhausting.

Updated: rats, it doesn’t work “in my area.” Oh well…