Sunday, 19 August 2007

Dead Ringer for Loathe

Earlier, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire started it's nineteenth year on television. Paul's already talked about the new format and how rubbish it is. Sadly, I have nothing to add to this because Millionaire isn't on my top ten shows to rush home from work for. I did, however, watch today's episode. Possibly because it was showing on the giant TV screen at my pub. This aside, I couldn't help but notice they had one of my idols playing: Jon Culshaw.

Jon Culshaw, in case you didn't know, does impressions. He's been doing them for some time. He's also very good at these impressions, so much so he was given his own ITV1 program which showcased these. He also voices some cartoon about snails on CBBC, but I shan't go into this.

The thing is, Jon Culshaw is a very funny guy when he is mimicing others. Parodies of Tony Blair's speeches: funny. Spoofing Steve Irwin at a Tesco: funny. Impression of Tom Baker on the London Eye: hilarious. The problem is, Culshaw is only funny when he's pretending to be somebody else.

A few months ago, I caught him on a repeat Never Mind the Buzzcocks (BBC2). All he did was sit there agreeing with the panel, and occasionally doing a Tony Blair impression, much to the chagrin of whichever guest host was presenting that episode. The problem is, TV shows try to book Jon Culshaw because they know him as the funny man from Dead Ringers. Sadly, as himself, he is a little boring to watch.

To make up for this, a lot of shows which book him as a guest try and fill up the half hour with him doing impressions of people... but when it isn't planned, there's not a lot of humour that can be derived from just somebody's voice.

Culshaw is a talented man, and still one of my favourite people in the world, but leave his airtime just for his hilarious impersonations.

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