Channel 4's Comedy Gala, The 02, London

3.00

There was a curious mix of something old, something new, something borrowed (such as BBC stars Catherine Tate, Rob Brydon, James Corden and Ruth Jones) and plenty of blue for this mammoth charity gig housed by a venue that was once itself a standing joke when it was the Millennium Dome.

Billed as "the biggest live stand-up show in UK comedy history", the gala was produced by Open Mike, the broadcast arm of the Off the Kerb management agency, and was therefore dominated by Kerb acts. This gave the show a Janus-faced nature best embodied by the contributions of kindred spirits Michael McIntyre, the current observational darling, and Lee Evans, a retro hero with a long established die-hard following.

McIntyre closed the first half with a sumptuous tapestry woven from the sloth-inducing ads for Snuggies and the gaudy ones for Cash My Gold that populate morning television, while Evans, who closed the show looking evermore a cross between Norman Wisdom and Mad comic's Alfred E Neuman, proved that some oldies are goldies. In one routine, Evans asks a "village idiot" for directions and has to endure the man acting out where the car journey would take him; on his second imaginary circuit of a roundabout the man admits: "sorry, I missed my exit."

These two giants presided over a relentless conveyor belt of comedy that resembled a Secret Policeman's Ball, but one where the cause (Great Ormond Street Hospital) is taken for granted; so rather than conscience-pricking, the accompanying short films were "quickie" contributions from the people that couldn't be there (in this instance they included Ricky Gervais and Kevin Bishop). It was also a gig that, again in comparison to The Secret Policeman's Ball, lacked the glue of a consistent MC, either on stage or over the PA. Perhaps more use might be made of the popular E4 announcer Peter Dickson next time.

While no one really had the time to build up a momentum, they didn't have the time to die either. Only the people used to introduce the acts could be considered as having underwhelmed, including a stiff David Mitchell. Those that acquitted themselves well included Rich Hall who, among his gags, took the words out of my mind by suggesting that Iggy Pop's car insurance ads must be a sign of an impending apocalypse. Meanwhile, relieved of Mighty Boosh duties, and sporting a new peroxide-blonde hairdo, Noel Fielding pleased with his surreal whimsy: "I'd like to get some bread in the shape of a question mark and make everyone a 'What?' sandwich."

Popular Edinburgh Fringe comic Mark Watson perhaps rather stepped on his act by playing up his awestruck persona but was ever likeable, even when rebuking a telephone salesman: "I am not interested in watching TV on my phone in the same way as I am not interested in taking a shit in my tumble dryer."

Channel 4's Comedy Gala at the 02 goes out on Channel 4 on Easter Monday, 9pm.

Arts and Entertainment
'Silent Night' last topped Classic FM's favourite Christmas carol poll in 2002
classical
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
Arts and Entertainment
J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says

film George RR Martin owns a cinema in Santa Fe

Arts and Entertainment
Clued up: John Lynch and Gillian Anderson in ‘The Fall’

TV review

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Rhys says: 'I'm not playing it for laughs, but I have learnt that if you fall over on stage, people can enjoy that as much as an amazing guitar solo'
musicGruff Rhys on his rock odyssey, and the trouble with independence
Arts and Entertainment
Krysia and Daniel (Hand out press photograph provided by Sally Richardson)
How do today's composers answer the challenge of the classical giant?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
News
Shenaz Treasurywala
film
News
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Watkins as Christopher Jefferies
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Star Wars Director JJ Abrams: key character's names have been revealed
film
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams won two BBC Music Awards for Best Song and International Artist
music
Arts and Entertainment
Mark, Katie and Sanjay in The Apprentice boardroom
TV
Arts and Entertainment

Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites

Arts and Entertainment
Frances O'Connor and James Nesbitt in 'The Missing'

TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations

Arts and Entertainment
Joey Essex will be hitting the slopes for series two of The Jump

TV

Who is taking the plunge?
Arts and Entertainment
Katy Perry as an Ancient Egyptian princess in her latest music video for 'Dark Horse'

music
Arts and Entertainment
Dame Judi Dench, as M in Skyfall

film
Arts and Entertainment
Morrissey, 1988

TV
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

    Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
    Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

    Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

    Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
    Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

    Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
    Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

    Autism-friendly theatre

    Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

    Panto dames: before and after

    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

    Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
    The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

    The man who hunts giants

    A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
    The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

    The 12 ways of Christmas

    We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
    Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

    The male exhibits strange behaviour

    A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
    Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

    Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

    Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
    From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

    From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

    The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
    A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

    A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

    The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'