On the surface, Corey White’s Roadmap to Paradise looks like another of those shows, in the tradition of John Safran, which uses comedy to make a point. Except it isn’t; Corey White takes a different approach. He’s got actual solutions to some of the most pressing problems facing our society – the state of democracy, excessive capitalism, affordable housing – solutions which could really make a difference. He wants to make us laugh too, and he succeeds, but mainly he’s making a point.
This approach feels very timely. The 90s/00s attitude of giving it to all sides because they’re all dreadful, and not taking a firm stand on any serious political issues, has clearly got us nowhere. Also – and we’re about to say something we don’t often say here – sometimes comedians have to be serious about things to be effective. Sometimes, going for laughs would ruin the show.
When White’s talking about the problems he sees in our society and his solutions to them, the absolute worst thing he could do is chuck in some zingers in the middle of his argument. Instead, he lays out the facts as he sees them, trusts the audience to go with him, but, equally, isn’t afraid to throw in a few irreverent laughs when they won’t detract from what he’s saying.
Corey White is a comedian who really understands how and when to use different tones. And Roadmap to Paradise is a show worth watching, with arguments worth thinking about, even if you don’t necessarily agree with them.
It’s a shame The Weekly with Charlie Pickering can’t get the balance as right as Corey White (or even Tonightly with Tom Ballard) does. Serious points plus silly gags works well, serious points plus smug self-righteousness less so. Or, to put it another way, Corey White (and Tom Ballard) are playing low status and punching up or speaking truth to power, while Charlie Pickering’s playing high status and telling us all what to think and do. We all know by now which is funnier.
What’s going to be interesting with Corey White’s Roadmap to Paradise though, is later episodes in the series when White talks about problems he has personal experience of – domestic violence and foster care. These episodes are likely to be even less about laughs and more focused on solving the problems. But then, as we said, laughs aren’t the point here.