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The Daily Show is a program I like a lot. 10 O’Clock Live is trying, somewhat self consciously, to be a British Daily Show, and both passes and fails.

The Daily Show format, for those who haven’t seen it, is a 20 minute show (not including ad breaks) monday though thursday. It starts with analysis of the day’s news, underlining hypocracy and general asshattery. The middle section is then either an expansion of a single news story or a staff contribution piece, either in the studio or pre-taped. It then closes with an interview of someone who is currently on the movie/book pimping train or politically interesting. Close show, go home.

10 O’Clock Live, a show difficult to abreviate, attempts to pour a whole week of this format into an hour. So you have three interviews (Two politically interesting, one generically so) some satirical analysis of the news, and four or so feature pieces. It’s not quite tight enough – though a lot of that’s first night stuff – but more importantly, the balance of very worthy real news bits to comedy isn’t there yet.

The Daily Show works best when it’s satire satire satire ha ha look at the democrats being useless satire satire satire republicans love guns satire satire so what’s your new movie about satire satire satire why the fuck are the senate blocking a bill to pay for healthcare for 9/11 first respondents?

There’s the funny, or the jokes at least even when the funny’s not quite there. There’s the pre-recorded interviews with patently crazy people, the analysis of which people have used cross-hairs in political imagery over the last ten years, and then every so often they will do a gut-punch and do something absolutely seriously. The Daily Show is known for being a hard show for political guests, because Stewart *will* ask the question about why you, personally, allowed the banking system to collapse. He will drag it back to jokes if it loses them, or tries to, but still ask the question. It’s a steel football with a soft rubber coating, bouncy and fun until it hits you.

10 O’Clock Live hit the ground with a scattershot of satirical headlines and one-liners from Carr, a decent monologue feature piece on Sarah Palin, and then fell apart with a poorly managed round-table on bankers bonuses with a lot of interesting points all spoken over each other. Feature piece on Tunisa framed as a holiday destination, another on Sudan framed as a celebrity break-up story, and some all-too-brief actual discussion on the stories of the day in a round table with all the presenters.

It goes on like that, too. Four decent comedy minds who seem to care about current affairs (I assume Lauren Laverne does, but currently she is entirely wasted, performing almost nothing at all save “Hello”, “Goodbye” and “Here is the next thing”), but the satire bits are short and variable, and the current affairs bits unwieldy and long.

David Mitchell’s interview with the Minister of State for Universities, David Willitt, was very interesting, in that he asked a lot of the straight questions people want answers to, and pretty much got them (They are not, IMO, good answers, but that’s politics) and would have made a good ending for a show that had brought the funny, but the funny was drowned in the interviews and the unfunny.

They have four main presenters, who interact with each other well on other shows, but in this all have entirely separate pieces and never the twain shall meet, save in brief round-table discussions which barely get interesting before they move onto the next thing.

It’s too slow in some places, too quick in others, and doesn’t go above the funny line enough to balance out the less entertaining bits. Nevertheless, if it’s given the space to evolve and grow (possibly getting rid of the Live bit to allow for some editing) and learns how to use the talent more effectively, it could be really good.

It’ll hit 40D in a couple of hours, apparently, you can watch it there.

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