The Beer Factor, a rare piece of original comedy for GO!, started up on Saturday night. Hosted by stand-up Tom Gleeson it’s basically The New Inventors but where all the inventions are solving beer-related problems – one guy invented a machine which can pour perfect glasses of beer, a lady invented a way of keeping ants out of your beer at picnics, etc, etc. Perhaps unsurprisingly the show is being paid for by one of this country’s best known brewers.
There’s possibly more laughs to be had from the pointlessness of some of these inventions than Gleeson manages (why not just pour a beer using your hands?) but this isn’t one of those programmes that sets itself up to be great television. This programme is piece of blokey fluff designed to sell even more of the beer made by its well-known sponsor, and given that fact the attempts at product integration are remarkably restrained.
Gleeson is joined on the show by a judging panel consisting of Sally Dominguez (The New Inventors) and stand-up Tommy Little (The Project, Slapbang Radio), plus there’s a house band called Elbow Skin (who are a bit like The Scared Weird Little Guys). In its late night slot on Saturdays it’s easy viewing after you thrown down a few of the sponsor’s products, but we wouldn’t recommend you watch it sober: if you do you’ll probably start reflecting on how sad it is that digital channels a) haven’t given us more niche comedy programmes, and b) that when they do they’re there to sell something. And no one wants to think about that sort of thing when there’s beer to be drunk.