AUDIO COMEDY
The Lee Mack Show 2

Starring: Lee Mack
BBC Audio
RRP: 17.99
ISBN: 978 1 4056 7828 5
Available 19 November 2007


Lee Mack stars in his second series of the BBC Radio 2 variety show. The Bafta award winner, and star of TV's Not Going Out hosts more mayhem in a collision of comedy music and carefully rehearsed chaos...

For those that haven't heard The Lee Mack Show before, each episode opens with that week's musical guest singing a shortened version of a song they are well known for. This is followed with Mack chatting briefly to house band leader Steve Brown; a stand-up segment with Mack; a chat with sidekick Angela McHale (where he's generally sexist and patronising); a guest comedian spot; more stand-up from Mack; an interview with the week's musical guest; first part of a spoof movie play; musical guest singing another song; another Mack stand-up section; and the conclusion of the movie play.

It takes a couple of episodes to get used to Mack's humour. As the show was aimed at a Radio 2 audience, the jokes are fairly middle of the road, There's also very little that can be classed as cerebral - in fact more often than not the slightly subtler gags are explained just in case there are any slow audience members.

Talking part in the manic mix of sketches and stand-up are special musical guests former Spice Girl Melanie C, ABC's Martin Fry, Erasure's Andy Bell, Jamelia, Alison Moyet and Level 42's Mark King. Mack is also joined by comedians Andrew Maxwell, Phil Nichol, Jason Byrne, John Hegley, Mark Watson and Will Smith. Mack is also ably assisted by long-suffering sidekick Angela McHale and house band leader Steve Brown (Glen Ponder from Knowing Me, Knowing You With Alan Partridge (KMKYWAP)).

This four disc CD collection also includes the 2005 and 2006 Christmas Specials with guest stars Aled Jones, Barbara Dickson, Alan Carr and Simon Evans.

Mack describes himself as "cheeky but never blue" in one episode - the same quote that appears on the press release. I'd take issue with that as he includes jokes about vaginas, penises and there's a gag about Horlicks sounding like "whore licks". All very funny, but certainly blue.

The interviews with each musical guest are carefully scripted, with Mack getting near the knuckle with some of his questions. And, more often than not, when he over steps the mark of good taste he is met with a deathly silence from the studio audience. But the guests give as good as they get with their carefully scripted responses.

Each week's spoof film play features all of that week's guest stars - although it's easy to tell when one of the musical guests isn't really up for taking part as they generally only appear briefly. Over the course of all eight episodes we are treated to Titanic; An American Werewolf in London; Jaws; The Shining; Fight Club; King Kong; A Christmas Carol; and The Wizard of Oz.

There are plenty of jokes that will have you laughing out loud, but my personal favourites include: "Charlotte Church: Voice of an angel - DNA of a Pikey", as well as an old (and rather corny) gag about a guy who wants to join the circus with his amazing act.

The only real disappointment is the Steve Brown chat. This is too similar to his weekly chats with Alan Partridge in KMKYWAP. Sadly it's basically the same brief joke every week, and just when it looks to be going somewhere - with the slow build to him revealing he's done something heinous that he needs to get off his chest - everything stops and we're back to the same gag about him being depressed.

Those wanting a slice of comedy that's a little different - maybe a little more old school than you're used too - then The Lee Mack Show is an interesting and entertaining diversion.

Darren Rea

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