Happy Mondays, Radio 4
The Single Life, Radio 4

Idiot MC, pretend pub, feeble band and no jokes. Radio 4 comedy is having a laugh

For those of you who have recently had surgery and do not want to endanger your stitches, may I recommend Radio 4's new night-time comedy slot, Happy Mondays? You have an overloud idiot MC, some entertainers in a very loose sense of the word and a hysterical studio audience that is pretending to be in a pub (but is, in fact, in a room at the BBC). The bad news is that you have to stay up until 11 at night to hear it, but the good news is that you will not laugh once for the entire half hour of its broadcast. Not only that, but the memory of it will erase the very idea of laughter from your mind for the next 24 hours.

You might smile cruelly as you contemplate enacting an elaborate and grisly revenge on the MC, Michael Macintyre – but laughter? No. Even the musical entertainment is ghastly – in the case of last Monday, a wretched band called The Feeling whose music is so feeble that you suspect that everyone in the studio audience who heard them is now sterile.

It takes 12 minutes for the first comedy act of the evening to be introduced – one Stephen K Amos. Seven minutes later you might have smiled weakly at one of his observations about Australians, but you still won't have laughed. I've heard some bad comedy on Radio 4 in my time, but this is something special. And there are 12 more weeks of this.

So I thought I'd cheer myself up by listening to The Single Life, which has been going out at a quarter to four every weekday afternoon. Having rather more of a vested interest in the subject these days than I might have done a few months ago, I thought it might be worth listening to in order to pick up some tips. What we have, though, are the unmediated testimonies of dozens of interviewees, telling us about their experiences of, say, speed dating, single parenthood, and the ticking biological clock. It is very well done if you like this kind of thing – and the problems of being single really should be addressed – but I found myself becoming increasingly depressed on behalf of these people in particular, and the human condition in general. And the only tip I managed to pick up, which I will pass on to you for free, is that if you want to be single and relatively happy, then be a male homosexual. In Manchester.

Meanwhile, my grovelling apologies to Mark Russell and Robert Sandall, who sent me a copy of their new show for Resonance FM, called Where's the Skill in That, which picks up where their old show for Radio 3, Mixing It, left off. (Mixing It featured oddball or experimental music that wouldn't have got played anywhere else, and especially not after the death of John Peel. I have mislaid their CD among the hundreds that get sent to me each week. I was really looking forward to this. Nine o'clock, Wednesday evening. I'll be there next week.

Arts and Entertainment
Wonder.land Musical by Damon Albarn

Theatre

Arts and Entertainment

Film review

Arts and Entertainment
Innocent victim: Oli, a 13-year-old from Cornwall, featured in ‘Kids in Crisis?’
TV review
News
Northern exposure: social housing in Edinburgh, where Hassiba now works in a takeaway
books An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop
Arts and Entertainment
Terminator Genisys: Arnie remains doggedly true to his word as the man who said 'I'll be back', returning once more to protect Sarah Connor in a new instalment

 

film review
Arts and Entertainment

festivals
Arts and Entertainment

Final Top Gear review

TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Pete Doherty and Carl Barat perform at Glastonbury 2015

music
Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Richie performs live on the Pyramid stage during the third day of Glastonbury Festival

music
Arts and Entertainment
Buying a stairway to Hubbard: the Scientology centre in Los Angeles
film review Chilling inside views on a secretive church
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Williamson, left, and Andrew Fearn of Sleaford Mods
musicYou are nobody in public life until you have been soundly insulted by Sleaford Mods
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dew (Jess) in Bend It Like Beckham The Musical
theatreReview: Bend It Like Beckham hits back of the net on opening night
Arts and Entertainment
The young sea-faring Charles Darwin – seen here in an 1809 portrait – is to be portrayed as an Indiana Jones-style adventurer
film
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.

    The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

    Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

    Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
    Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

    'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

    Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
    Compton Cricket Club

    Compton Cricket Club

    Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
    London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

    Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

    'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
    The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

    The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

    It helps a winner keep on winning
    Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

    Is this the future of flying?

    Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
    Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

    Isis are barbarians

    but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
    The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

    Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

    Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
    Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

    'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

    Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
    Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

    Call of the wild

    How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
    Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

    'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

    If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
    The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

    The science of swearing

    What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
    Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

    Africa on the menu

    Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
    Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

    Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

    The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'