Raise a toast

TV comedy is hit and miss. In my case the mainstream stuff tends to miss the mark completely by being too general, obvious or frankly dumb. The niche or more ‘radical’ sketch and sitcom stuff is generally aimed at a younger audience – generally equally dumb but in a different way. In most cases I can’t tell if it’s over my head or completely beneath me.

As a result I tend not to bother unless it’s something I’ve watched for years (Peep Show), has been recommended by peers or features people – writers or actors – that I’m familiar with and admire.

I share an occasional workplace with Matt Berry but I’ve never met him. I am a great fan of his work though; from the brilliantly under-rated Garth Merenghi’s Darkplace to his appearances in the IT Crowd he is always good value. I was obviously pleased to see Toast Of London turned into a series after its pilot last year.  

There are elements of it that play to my tastes, particularly the sessions in a Soho voiceover studio, but the entire premise of a slightly unhinged classic actor type reduced to scrabbling for work whilst retaining his huge ego is comedy gold.

All of this said I probably wouldn’t have bothered to write about it had it not been for last week’s episode, Bonus Ball. In many respects it looked like they’d saved up half the budget just for one episode with skits (Bond) and guest cameos (Michael Ball) but the real gem was only five minutes or so into the show when Toast and his arch-rival, Ray Purchase, have to dub some gay Euro erotica. I can’t recall laughing this much at a TV show in many years. Luckily YouTube has the clip.