Tuesday, November 12, 2002

Rove Wasn't Built in a Day

In the live comedy scene, bitterness is a "given"; for a comedian, it is usually a fuel, a tonic, a springboard.

But what happens backstage, especially in terms of comedian-to-comedian rivalry and hostility? For the most part, outright front-, or backstabbing is rare - surprisingly so. But when comedians make the transition onto TV or radio, the knives unfortunately tend to come out. In saying this, the last thing in the world I want to be considered is a "suck", one who fends-off deserved criticism of truly-lame comedians. Rather, I just can't stand seeing good bitterness wasted - on off-stage sledging, as opposed to onstage inspiration.

Thus, to anyone who thinks Rove et al suck, what’s stopping you from nipping at his/their heels? He’s on commercial TV, for fucks sake; those guys don’t go all clingy and sentimental when they’ve got a better product waiting in the wings. And don’t try and argue Rove just got a one-in-a-million lucky break, a comedian’s proverbial silver spoon. He started on Channel 31, which is pretty much open to anyone, only with one effective condition – you’re in/on there as part of a team.

Which in a nutshell, explains why Rove et al are such comedy rarities – step one, they worked together, in a non-cannibalistic manner, and step two, they made the decision to go corporate, and so inevitably, to forfeit some artistic freedom.

For what it's worth, I don't personally find “Rove” – the show – particularly funny. But this is purely and simply because it is not *meant* to be, a comedy show, that is. As a tonight/variety show, its primary function is to provide advertorial space for the show’s celebrity guests, and the associated products they are hawking. The main innovation that Rove – and/or the show’s powers-that-be – has achieved is to dispense with the traditional role of sidekick/hack (which, if all else fails, will involve co-opting some of the floor crew, eg Bert, Letterman). Instead, Hellier and Grant have been allocated stand-alone roles.

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