Edinburgh Review: The Tim Vine Chat Show
It’s an interesting prospect seeing Tim Vine as a chat show host. He’s primarily known as a scripted comic who specialises in puns, so I’m not sure how this is going to translate into milking humour out of an off-the-cuff interview scenario. However, any concerns I may have had soon evaporate, as he proves to be excellent at quick-witted badinage with his various guests.
He’s helped in this regard by the inventive format of the show. Instead of interviewing tedious, self-promoting celeb folk, he talks to us, the ordinary scummy general public. As we arrive, on our seats are little forms to fill in with information about ourselves, should we wish to do so. Vine then collects these and selects from them the people who will be interviewed. Before this we are treated to a selection of his latest gags, featuring his trademark delightful silliness. He enters singing a horrifically cheesy (and all the funnier for it) intro song, immediately energising the crowd with his typical lively old-school showmanship.
The jokes are the usual mixture of ridiculous puns, prop gags and cheesy one-liners. It’s easy to dismiss this type of humour as simplistic, but as anyone whose seen inferior stand-ups try and do the same sort of thing will know, it is a deceptively difficult approach to pull off, and no-one does it better than Vine. After about ten minutes of top quality material, the interviews begin as he starts bringing his guests up from the audience.
Often, the problem with a comedy chat show depends on the interviewee and how funny they are, but this is not the case here. Vine’s quick wit and natural comedic instinct immediately kicks in, seeing him furrow the humour out of the most mundane of conversations. This includes discussing his first guest’s career working in the manufacture of concrete, an avenue most interviewers would avoid like the plague but one which Vine is happy to stroll along. Particularly impressive is his ability to come up with one-liners on the spot. “Well, I think we’re on solid ground here…” and so on.
Equally entertaining is the silly parlour game Vine plays with an audience member where they compete to see who can speak certain words quickest and quietest. This again has it’s own stupid theme tune which he revels in performing, and which further adds to the overwhelming aura of silliness pervading the entire performance.
All in all, it’s a very funny show that the audience appear to really enjoy. As is always the case with Vine, it’s one of the few genuinely family friendly comedy shows at the Fringe, and people of all ages were in attendance and loving it. Definitely one to try and catch.
The Tim Vine Chat Show is at the Pleasance Courtyard at 3:45 and 5:20pm until 28th August