"It's the same oul’ shite," promised Rodge, or possibly Podge, welcoming us to the new run of their show. Well, it is and it isn’t.
After a search for a permanent replacement for Lucy Kennedy that ran the gamut of Irish female celebrity from Y to Z, they’ve found themselves a new sidekick-cum-plaything: Caroline Morahan.
Caroline didn’t have a lot to do her first time out but still managed to be, simultaneously, as plastic as a blow-up doll, minus the sense of humour, and as wooden as an old-style ventriloquist’s dummy, minus the varnish of charm.
“She was Off the Rails and now she’s off the dole queue,” said Podge.
“A fully nationalised, index approved ride,” said Rodge.
“Lady Caroline of the Manor.”
“Ireland’s answer to Angelina Jolie.”
Steady on there, boys, you’ll give the woman a big head. Oh, hang on, she already has a…ah, never mind.
Actually, strike what I said at the start. Podge/Rodge was right: it is the same oul’ shite, only now it’s grown dry and crusty and hairy from being left lying under the studio lights for too long.
They had on Timmy Mallet, who somehow managed to not grate on the nerves as much as he normally does. Curious, that. Maybe it’s the low company he’s keeping.
Not to worry, the slack was manfully taken up by George McMahon, aka Mondo in Fair City, a young man who appears to be so fond of himself he probably licks the bathroom mirror before he leaves the house in the mornings.
For years, people have been asking: “How do Podge and Rodge get away with it?” You can put your own interpretation on the question.
It may just be that my expectations of RTE comedy have been battered even lower than usual in recent months but there appears to have been a slight improvement in This is Nightlive — though it’s far too little too late to deserve a reprieve from extinction.
A few of the gags last night were sharper than usual, while the idea of having preening anchorman Johnny Hansom (John Ryan) doing a Peter- Finch-in-Network and getting the sack is a decent one.
But the overall execution is still too long-winded, with jokes dragging on and on until they snap like an overstretched rubber band, and the performances as unsubtle as a whack across the head from Timmy Mallet’s tool.
The funniest element remains the brief, ticker- tape headlines rolling across the bottom of the screen but there was also an interestingly oblique, self-mocking gag by Ryan the scriptwriter about Ryan the media figure: “That loser who used to run a dog magazine”.
Gallows humour in the creeping shadow of the gallows?
The Podge & Rodge Show * *
This is Nightlive *