It’s amusing to read back our review of episode 1 of Dirty Laundry Live and recall this…
[Celebrity gossip’s] a solid comedy topic, and more importantly, it’s not one that’s currently being mined to death.
…because 16 weeks on and Dirty Laundry Live has a competitor in the form of This Week Live. What is it with TV programmers? One minute all the want is Daily Show knock-offs, next minute they’re all making comedy panel shows about pop culture. Or to be slightly more accurate, putting breakfast radio on TV.
Having said that, and despite it being more “breakfast radio” than Dirty Laundry Live, This Week Live is probably the better show. Its 45 minutes of air time are a well-paced mix of stand-up, segments, sketches and guests, whereas Dirty Laundry Live is just topic after topic, a very light-touch quiz and Luke McGregor’s interview. Sure, the quiz is an inoffensive framework to hang the rest of the show on, and Luke McGregor’s schtick is great, but some of the topical discussions have really dragged – especially when the show was extended to 45 minutes. And they’ve dragged even when someone good was on the show, and there were lots of good people – old faces and new.
What Dirty Laundry Live didn’t nail over its 16 week run was the right format. It evolved a lot but it still felt like there was something missing. What it needed more of was pre-recorded sketches and segments, to break away momentarily from the main panel discussion and quiz. One of the nice things about good live shows is they have an “anything could happen” atmosphere to them. Dirty Laundry Live never quite had that. The panel could swear and talk about sex and stuff, but no one was suddenly going to burst on to the screen and do something really surprising. And if that was never going to happen, what was the point of doing it live? Or doing it at all?