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The Tim Vine Chat Show 
The audience are the stars of the show! Tim Vine brings his 2011 sell-out show back to the festival. With new guests, new jokes and new nonsense, expect the pun-expected.
Tim Vine Chat Show
His brother Jeremy has interviewed Prime Ministers, Hollywood stars and royalty, but tonight Tim Vineís guest on his talk show isÖ an employee relations manager with a facility provisions company. Ooooh.
The simple twist of the punmeisterís chat show is that he draws his guests from the great unwashed in his audience. And the fact that this chosen subject has a job thatís not obvious to define isnít going to put Vine off. As you would expect, his guests are largely just ciphers for his cheesy vaudevillian gags. He has such an encyclopaedic knowledge that just about every career triggers a small flurry of corny-one-lines.
Itís an interesting way to exploit his immense back catalogue, as well as prompt some apparently spontaneous quips. Many of his more classic lines have become so well-known among his core fans that he has to acknowledge the fact Ė even going as far as getting the audience to chime in with the punchlines.
Thatís not to say thereís no interaction with the guests, which starts off as compere-level banter, but with the time to go into a little more depth. Unlike Ďrealí chat shows, success here is not wholly dependent on the quality of the guests, but on Vineís wit. But when the interviewees are funny, itís definitely a bonus, as tonight proved.
Itís not always obvious who will provide the best laughs: discovering a genuine roller-coaster salesman to open the show is amusing enough, with his tale of a ride gone wrong, but the stand-out is the teacher who chastises him with a terrifyingly disciplinarian air that makes Anne Robinson look like Fearne Cotton, forcing Vineís wordplay to yield to roleplay for just a few moments.
Yet no one can compete with the hilarious story from the teenage lad recalling his decision of a few years back to conduct vital scientific research into how many M&Mís he could stuff up his nostrils. ĎAnd then I passed outÖí is only the start of his horrors.
Vine keeps things bowling along nicely, with his quick wit and compulsion to keep things cheery. When our employee relations guy turns out to be a hardnosed salary negotiator, who cockily asserts that he knows the union will accept the reduced offer heís given them, thereís a murmur of disapproval. But Vine moves on quickly before the mood can sour. The real world has no place in his primary-coloured comic-book universe.
His strong streak of self-deprecation feeds into this mood, with catchphrases to celebrate when things go awry, quips about the dodgy quality of the gags, and tongue-in-cheek asides to the audience, threatening them with a long night ahead.
Aside from an opening set by comedy magician John Archer, a similar purveyor of Ďdad jokesí to accompany his nifty tricks, the chat show section is bookended by Classic Vine. There's an overwhelming onslaught of mixed-ability cornballs batter down the defences to start, and a small selection of wilfully naff songs to end, complete with audience participation. Some of these abandon his usual punchline-driven approach for simply being bizarre, especially the peculiar ladder-based ditty that ends the night on a baffling note.
His fans, most likely, would be happy with an evening of these usual shenanigans undiluted by the interviews, but fair play to Vine for wanting to mix things up a bit. But if this is the future of talk show, Michael Parkinson better prepare to get very dizzy once heís in the grave.
|Date of live review: Wednesday 26th Sep, '12|
Review by Steve Bennett
I saw the Middlesboro show yesterday and it was the first time I left a Tim Vine show disappointed. The talk show part just didn't work. The first ten minutes of the show was classic Vine, the rest of the show was a massive let down