Saturday Night Rove Fever

Is the best thing about Saturday Night Rove Judith Lucy’s sarcastic voiceovers over the crap bits of the show? Yes, of course, it is. Because nothing saves live comedy that’s dying on its arse like an experienced and much-loved legend of comedy letting rip with a bit of deprecating humour. Thank god she’s there, otherwise, this show would be a much harder watch.

Rove McManus hosting Saturday Night Rove

And this is bearing in mind that last night’s episode was an improvement on week 1. It was pacier and tighter, they’d had the good sense to book a stand-up for do a few minutes – and to give Justin Hamilton something to do – and the pre-recorded stuff was a lot funnier as well. Ben Folds delivering bad news to people was a funny and clever twist on his inimitable style of music. More of that kind of thing, please.

The basic problem with Saturday Night Rove, though, is that the team hasn’t yet managed to produce quite enough good stuff to make this a decent commercial hour of comedy television. They may well get there, but not so far.

Which means they have to fill showtime by booking a widely-disliked former Prime Minister to play a few rounds of handball. Because that’ll be hilarious, right? Only if Judith Lucy steps in with a sarky voiceover it will.

And what is the deal with comedy shows thinking it will be hilarious to have actual politicians on their shows? Does no one remember how much funnier it was when Paul Keating refused to go bowling with Andrew Denton in the 90s?

Instead, Kevin Rudd puts out a tweet challenging all-comers to a game of handball, and TV and radio programs with time to fill jump at the chance. And what results? Rudd looks like a loveable, cuddly guy (which he isn’t) and everyone forgets all that stuff about the spill he lost, and the second spill and quickly-following election which he also lost, and the bullying he’s supposed to have done, and his legacy is assured. Or whatever his endgame in.

Here’s a thing all comedy shows need to remember about politicians: they are unlikeable people who desperately want to be liked, and they will use anyone and do anything to achieve that, and if that involves mildly humiliating themselves on some silly comedy show then they will. So, when a politician goes on a comedy show, the winner isn’t the comedy show for creating an amazing moment involving a politician, it’s the politician. Because these “amazing moments” are always never amazing, or funny, or anything other than a space-filler.

And in a show like Saturday Night Rove, where a fair number of the segments already feel like space-fillers, including yet another one isn’t a good idea.

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