George Lamb, so much to answer for. While the Jonah of the airwaves was blessedly absent from Buzzcocks, his baleful legacy was not. Excused as the progenitor, Lamb is definitely the pernicious propagator of the odious audience coercion trend mindlessly employed by the otherwise tolerable James Corden.
Aghast at the comprehensible apathy of the audience at the announcement that Enemy singer Tom Clarke had just purcahsed a farm, Corden turned sharply to them: “Tom’s just bought a farm, ladies and gentlemen!” (lightened by Ben Miller’s acidic quip). Then enunciating the same banality for Paloma Faith’s outfit. What sinks the fangs of irritation deeper is the appendage of ‘ladies and gentlemen’ as though awarding such worthless accomplishments commendable of a place at the London Variety Show.
Aside from the rejugged theme tune (which sounds like a febrile Guitar Hero player overdosing on the wah-wah peddle to align the crescendo of his axe solo to the dam-busting gush of his solo ejaculation), the other fresh elements of the show were welcome.
Noel Fielding is an apposite yet opposite substitute for Bill Bailey. Whether charming Paloma Faith with adoring jokes about giving her chunks of a rainbow as a present or saying she resembled “a children’s bull fighter” he was always funny.
Meanwhile, Corden selflessly took the Phill Jupitus role of laughing heartily at an unfunny gag by one of the guests, in this case Tom Clarke, who looked as if he’s been replaced by a voodoo doll with his unkempt hair threatening to devour his shrunken head under its menacing spines.
Janeane Garofalo seemed more focused on winning than being funny, collapsing into a puddle of contrition when failing to guess the correct next line of Toto’a Africa, and she sported grotesque tattoos worse than you’d find in the dressing room of a village rugby club.
The format remains the same, with Sorry No Refunds consuming about half of the show. Usually this isn’t a problem, only this time Corden and Jupitus’ team had to regurgitate jokes about Blue from 2002; a band uniquely emblematic of the nauseating tidal wave of parasitical celebrities. However brief their musical appearance it served as an apt reminder that every second spent listening to a Blue song is a second that could have been so much more profitably spent not listening to a Blue song.
While guest hosts are confirmed for this series, it’s hoped that Buzzcocks can learn from the error of Have I Got News For You, which has endured seven uneven years because of the persistent folly of changing presenters each week. If not, there are always repeats of Mock The Week on Dave.