Satirical programme presented by stand-up comedian Russell Howard, of Mock the Week fame, airing on BBC Three. It started in 2009 and still ongoing, as of 2012 it's up to seven series - usually having two series per year and with 8-12 episodes a series.The shows are presented as Russell talks on stage, commenting on various pieces of news from that week and across the world. He's particularly fond of using reaction clips for jokes as well. Each episode is separated into sections, usually type of news; they don't appear in every single episode.Sections
Big News: Always at the start.
Law & Order
Art and Culture
I Did Not Know That
Mystery Guest: Somebody from the news that week is invited onto the show and Russell, not knowing who they are, has to guess. They then (depending on who they are) demonstrate or let Russell have a go at their activity. The "Mystery" was dropped in Series 9, being a straight interview with someone in the news Russell found fascinating.
What Were They Thinking?
Stand Up: In the Extra/extended version only. A stand-up comedian is brought on and does a ten minute routine.
It's Not All Doom and Gloom: Ends every single episode. Invoked Crowning Moment Of Heart Warming from that week in the news, somebody just doing something amazing (usually for other people, like charity work).
Contains examples of the following tropes:
Berserk Button: Whenever the audience "aww"s at anything cute Russell loses it.
British Political System: A fair amount of the humour is derived from this. The second series coincided with the run-up to the 2010 General Election and the Leader's Debates, and much of the programme used them as discussion points.
Clip Show: The end of each series has a "Best Bits" episode.
Cursed with Awesome: The man who resembles Saddam Hussein being targeted by a gang... who intend to make him star in pornographic films. Russell jokes that being forced to repeatedly have sex with beautiful women is not necessarily such a bad thing?!
Retool: The show underwent a very mild one when it transferred to BBC2 for Series 10. "The Mystery Guest" segment was replaced by a more conventional interview without a mystery or participation element. Guests thus far have included journalist John Simpson and wildlife photographer Doug Allen.
Real Song Theme Tune: The show both begins and ends with an abridged version of Kasabian's "Fast Fuse"
Running Gag: Clips are usually repeated throughout a series, though certain jokes (like Russell's lazy eye or his odd brother) have gone through the entire show.
Footage of an American pastor using the words 'Mister Long-Legged Mack Daddy' to describe Barack Obama was used in the second series whenever the host mentioned Obama (along with a comical apology). This was spoofed with a clip of Howard himself using a similar title when Nick Clegg was mentioned. The latter is actually used as a Fan Nickname (Mister Long-Legged Cleggy-Weggy, which managed to become the top trending Twitter topic in the UK on the day of the 2010 Election).
A man in a gray suit carrying a cardboard cutout of an animal and chasing down Russell and a friend to demonstrate "the horror" of an attacking animal. Originated after a fail-tastic clip from an American news bulletin where someone used a cardboard cutout of a bear to demonstrate how scary having a bear in your garden would be.
One series has Russell constantly referring back to two clips; one of a dog making a funny noise and a cat saying 'No, no, no'. The dog is usually used when Russell prefers it to something else, and the cat one is used for something particularly disgusting/disturbing.
The first running gag for Series Eight is "Liquid Ass", seeming to take the place of the Boris Johnson clip from the previous series.
Later spoofed when at the end of each series, Russell recreates the viral video, including dressing up as the animals.
And, just to make things all the more awesome, at the end of Series Eight, Russell had his Mystery Guest (BRIAN BLESSED) recite both the "Liquid Ass" and "Ain't nobody got time for that!" gags. As with just about anything involving the man's voice, it was quite the spectacle to behold.
Special Guest: The Mystery Guests usually include one every series who is a celebrity (usually someone who was a big star around the time of Russell's childhood or teenage years). This has included Jet from Gladiators, former footballer John Barnes, and BRIAN BLESSED.
Stand-Up Comedy: The whole programme has elements of this, but the extended versions have an actual stand-up comedy segment. For those who attend the recording, there's a lot more of the stand-up, probably to make up for all of the re-recording necessary to edit everything together properly.