Had the obvious influence not been mentioned in the show itself, journalistic convention would require me to describe We Are Klang’s TV show as ‘the Goodies for the Twitter generation’ – though feel free to replace ‘Twitter’ with any vaguely faddish word of your choice.
But, truth is the format hasn’t been updated at all – three well-meaning imbeciles become embroiled in unlikely exploits, always placing silliness over storyline. The parallels don’t stop there: the Goodies were often written off as little more than a children’s TV show, lacking the sophistication of Monty Python, and it’s very easy to place Klang in the very same category.
They sometimes don’t do themselves any favours on that front: dousing Greg Davies – the nominal grown-up of the trio – in gunge certainly puts the humour squarely in pre-watershed territory, an idea only reinforced by childish gags such as the powerful stream of piss dousing a fire in a popcorn factory.
Klang themselves would see no shame in being described as ‘childish’, though, and in this energetic half-hour, they exhibit that adjective in both its best as worst forms. Tired ideas such as the predictably pretentious and nonsensical interpretive dance group fall into sub-Vic and Bob territory, certainly, but in the credit side, some of Marek Larwood’s sweetly moronic behaviour would do Baldrick proud.
His phone-answering routine was beautifully executed dumb slapstick – and one of several laugh-out-loud moments in the half-hour. The Jew song, led by third Klanger Steve Hall and adapted from their live set, was joyful; and there were some great one-liners, such as the perpetually uprooted Marek’s lament at coming from out of nowhere, or Hall responding to being ticked off with a terse ‘What did I tell you last week?’ with: ‘That I was adopted?’
The tricky part is that the trio must be completely dedicated to the madness, while maintaining a knowing attitude that it’s all just stuff and nonsense. They mostly manage to square this circle, though the supporting cast find it less instinctive: Lorna Watson’s news reporter could come straight out of Chucklevision, while to call the normally excellent Debbie Chazen’s mayor one-dimensional would be an insult to straight lines.
But the Klang trio themselves are all endearingly good-natured, and that always comes through. What TV always struggles to do, however, is to capture the true anarchy of a live performance, and that’s what hits them here. The screen can’t convey the joyously unpredictable feeling of being trapped in the same room as three loveable, but slightly scary, comics who are quite happy to go off script.
Occasionally that spirit it peeked through, Greg almost corpsing at Marek’s guesses at the ‘racial’ category of audience members, for example. But the stupidity cannot help but come off as more contrived when you’ve had sets built, special effects – even pitifully cheap ones – commissioned, and teams of cameramen, floor managers and directors plotting out every move.
It makes you pine for the days when sitcoms went out live. Now that’s a scenario these boys could really make exciting…
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett