If someone were to plot a set of graphs showing when during comedy sketches the audience laughs most, the John Finnemore ones would show the audience laughing earlier than is usual. That’s because his speciality is setting up an unusual twist on a typical, ordinary situation – and it’s when you realise the twist that the most humour comes from.
A great example of this is in the sketch where a sailor on an oil tanker is trying to explain how long it will take to turn his ship around and starts using all sorts of odd phrases such as how it’s like running a huge bureaucracy and trying to get millions of people to change how they do theirs. It’s when you realise that they are all situations where we use the analogy ‘it’s like trying to turn an oil tanker around’ that the laughs hit, rather than any concluding punchline for the sketch. Indeed, if there is anything to criticise about Finnemore’s sketches it is that after the early laugh the final conclusion is sometimes a little lame as the the joke has already been made.
But the previous jokes are so good, it doesn’t really matter, as with the sketch about a radio presenter who refuses to believe that boats sink. After all, he’s never been on one that sinks… and the laughs hit when you realise what an accurate parody of conspiracy theorists the sketch has played out, even if – as with the oil tanker – the sketch quietly closes rather than hitting a high final line.
As a bonus, this set has two complete series rather than the usual one, so even more laughs than usual. Great fun.
If you like this, you might also be interested in John Finnemore’s Souvenir Programme: The Complete Series 1.
Got a view on this review? Then please rate it on Amazon.