I’ve done two today, and that’s all well and good, but I’d like to get to the Julian Clary episode. Like the first three, it’s a good one.
Paul, Josie and Mike are back, Paul coming off a down show, but he does happen to have some nice moments of resurgence tonight, with Julian Clary, an old colleague of his, in the room. Julian’s an odd choice for an improv program, however…the fact that I’ve seen this one a few times proves that he’s a fine ‘guest star’ type.
The intros, once again, bring out the best in the performers
Clive: “Paul Merton, with a face that expresses anything up to two emotions.”
Paul, expressing one of them mouths “FUCK YOU” to Clive. The audience starts laughing at this right as the camera lands on Julian.
Film and Theatre Styles v1: Julian and Paul (door to door salesman and customer)
Julian: “WHYYYY HAVEN’T WE MET BEFORE?”
He then turns to the confused audience, and goes “…that’s the chorus.”
Julian: “I’ve come to sleep with your mother and then kill her. [strategic beat] …in that order.”
Paul: “I’m afraid I’ve done it already.”
Julian: “….how about your father, is he around?”
[Meanwhile, I’m laughing my ass off back here]
Julian, on the Disney style, goes campily patting Paul around with brushes.
Paul, momentarily breaking: “….WHAT DISNEY FILM’S THAT??? Hang on, there’s some chipmunks in me hallway, GET OUT!”
Julian: “Oof….lots of swearing, right?”
Paul, getting into character: “….MUM DIDN’T UNDERSTAND ME.”
Julian: “I’m not surprised.”
Julian, purposely contrasting with the style, grabs Paul and goes “Well, how about you cheer yourself up with a few brushes?”
Paul, to Clive: “BERKOFF??? ‘CHEER YOURSELF UP WITH A FEW BRUSHES???'”
Julian has a beat too many getting into the Pirate Movie style, eventually going: “Well, if you’re not interested in my brushes, young man-”
Paul, with the saving line: “Fancy a jolly roger?”
That was a pretty hysterical game top to bottom, even if Julian would peek out of character every so often. It brought out the best in Paul, and Julian was quite funny, especially in his earnest ways of keeping the plot going.
Film and Theatre Styles v2: Josie and Mike (suspecting someone of having an affair)
Mike: “I’ve just been out with the guys.”
Josie [sniffs Mike
Mike: “….some very fragrant, floral guys…”
This is a very well-acted scene by both parties, only going into comedy when the styles hit, with Josie having some great lines in Australian soap, and Mike…not even trying an Australian accent (must have learned that from working with Kevin Costner).
Okay…Josie’s rendition of Twin Peaks, wearing an eyepatch and opening and closing the drapes, made me laugh VERY HARD.
Josie does a nice job, in the old-time musical style, covering for a lack of Richard Vranch, by saying that someone’s shot the piano player and they’ll have to go on unaccompanied…which Mike does, in a very jolly number about shagging the next-door neighbor, which ends the scene.
Not as good as Paul and Julian’s, but still very well done.
Film Dub: Paul is a customer at Julian’s escort agency
There’s a brief moment of ‘who’s talking now’, but this has some great back-and-forth, with Julian wanting sex and Paul wanting champagne.
Julian: “What, don’t you want to do anything else?”
Paul, in a suit of armor: “Why, have you got a tin-opener?”
Fun scene, but a bit clumsy in parts.
Interview: Julian, from a Fanzine, interviews Mike, Julius Caesar
Mike, literally the first line of the scene: “Wow, uh, excuse me…my wounds are still a little sore…”
Mike makes this scene. Julian knowingly takes a passive approach, and Mike so sells his character, especially when he’s going over his favorite ways to kill people, going in graphic, and nostalgic, detail about them.
Julian: “And what about all this aggression you seem to exude? You don’t think that’s a bit too strong for this day and age, for all the young people that might be reading this?”
Mike: “Heeyyyyy, I’m CAESAR, GET IT WHILE YOU CAN, KIDS!”
This is a pretty nice one, better than most of the Interviews we’ve seen.
Song Styles: Electric Drill
Mike: Jamaican Reggae
Josie: Heavy Metal
Mike’s is a pretty nice one, as it has some really good lines, and it gets funnier as it becomes clear that he’s drilling chickens, ending with the line ‘CLUCK CLUCK, DRILL DRILL, Oh, what a thrill…”
As usual, Josie is able to COMPLETELY rock it out of the park with the Heavy Metal number, giving some amazing vocal range, and getting truly into the song. I’d give Mike’s song the edge here, but she’s giving it her all here.
Props: Mike and Julian vs. Paul and Josie
Julian, on the prop: “…it’s falling apart…”
Clive: “The whole program’s falling apart, don’t worry…”
Mike: “Very good, sir. Before we fit you for a new pair of buttocks, let me just get a reading…”
Paul: “…right, before we fit you for a new bra…”
As they cut over, you can hear Paul going “can we have a smaller size, Jack?”
Josie: “Alright, before we fit you for a new, erm…”
and then, inevitably: “COULD WE HAVE A SMALLER SIZE PLEASE, JACK?”
Really nice playing, with both sides playing along with each other, even, and with running gags.
Alphabet: Julian arrests Paul, starting with A
Julian loses his place once or twice, but there’s some GREAT back-and-forth here between Julian and Paul.
There’s a terrific moment where Julian reminds Paul he’s up to Q, then Paul looks Julian over, getting the PERFECT Q WORD IN MIND. Without even saying anything, the entire audience knows what he’s about to do.
Julian has to nod no, and say ‘children are watching’ underneath the laughter, for Paul to eventually go “….Queen Mother’s good for her are, isn’t she?”
As usual, this game gets trickier when it gets down to the later letters, so it ends with
As haphazard as usual Alphabet games seem to be, but still pretty funny.
Expert Translation: Paul translates for Josie, from Sweden, talking about Volvos
My SECOND FAVORITE Translation, behind ‘how the yak goes to the toilet’. This proves how this game can be at the mercy of its translator, especially when it’s Paul Merton.
Josie: [makes a driving motion with her arms]
Paul: “Have you ever had sex with a horse?”
The audience laughs. Josie cracks a bit, shakes her head, LOOKS AT CLIVE, and then continues.
Josie: [outlines the shape of the car]
Paul: “I HAVE, I HAVE!”
Josie, trying to get the game back on track: “VOLVO, VOLVO!”
Paul, not having any of that: “….I often drive to the stables in my Volvo”
The rest of the game is Josie trying to veer the game back on track, and Paul refusing. Josie has a long sentence ending clearly in ‘PETROL’, and Paul goes “My favorite brand of aftershave on a horse is petrol.”
Josie, very pissed, ends a sentence with “PAUL.”
Paul: “Anyway, I should be talking about the car…”
Yes, Paul had to betray Josie to get there, but this was still a very funny scene, and was proof that Paul was in a really nice mood tonight.
The best thing about this game is that the entire panel gets into it, ‘WHOAH’-ing and clapping at each other.
So…Paul gives this game his ALL, going all out and being very ‘fire-and-brimstone-y’, which is odd, because I’ve never seen him try this hard in a singing game before. Rap used to scare him away.
Julian just talks through his, sort of like Stephen Fry with slightly more rhythm, makes a joke, and then nods that it’s Mike’s turn. At least his heart was in it.
Mike, as usual, ends this game in grand fashion, even with Julian still sort-of no-selling it.
Overall: I’d put this one a notch above E2, and a few notches below Episodes 1 and 3 on the series so far, so this was another FANTASTIC show, with all four performers doing a great job. Paul felt revitalized, giving his best material since Series 1. Josie wasn’t far behind, selling her scenes, and biting back at Paul, even has he pissed her off throughout the night. Mike wasn’t bad either, although he’s made this habit this season of settling into a standard rather than being outstanding in shows- so far I haven’t named him Best Performer yet this series, and he’s been on 3 episodes. Julian…as funny as he was, knew he wasn’t gonna stack up to the other three, and just decided to lay back and have fun. His personality sort of matches with the show, and he worked well with Paul, but compared to the other three, he wasn’t much.
Show Winner: Paul
Best Performer: Paul, with a comeback for the ages
Worst Performer: Julian, only because he was up against 3 legends who had amazing nights.
Best Game: Film and Theatre Styles v1, for being incredibly watchable and really funny, even as Julian broke once or twice. Expert Translation came close.
Worst Game: Film Dub, but only for not having as many great moments as the rest of the show.