Monday, January 08, 2007

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The Search for a Sidekick!

Fancy blagging something from Blagman? Well today marks the start of my quest for a Blagman sidekick and for one day every month I'll be giving a lucky reader the opportunity to receive a mystery product and share their thoughts with the world. If you've ever wanted to try something new or simply wanted to show me up this is your chance. To enrol as my 'sidekick of the month' simply send an email to describing the best thing you've ever blagged and how you got it. This could be anything from a freeby on a magazine to managing to wangle £500 off a HDTV, either way I want to hear from you.

UK entries only and I'll be contacting each winner at the end of each month.

Up first is Michael Rossell of fame who has been awarded sidekick of the month because he was the first person to ask to write for the site. Remember the first rule of blagging is if you don't ask you don't get! Anyway it's over to Michael:

Bob Monkhouse "3 Great Shows" DVD

This generation probably remembers Bob Monkhouse for his witty and slick game show presenting skills on favourites like Family Fortunes, Wipeout and Bob's Full House while his notoriety as a stand up comedian is a little less pronounced.

Monkhouse, who sadly died in 2003, was one of the few remaining variety talents that were so popular in working men's clubs during the sixties and seventies. Preamble aside, I blagged myself one of the latest Bob Monkhouse DVDs and, with some apprehension, sat down to watch them.

The latest DVD boxed set, simply entitled Bob Monkhouse, features three discs. Stand up shows 'Exposes Himself' and 'Live and Forbidden' are featured on the first two discs while the third is called 'Way Over the Limit' and is a selection of the best clips from the first two shows.

Both 'Exposes Himself' and 'Live and Forbidden' were filmed in front of a live, eighties reject audience at the large working men's club style Lakeside venue in Surrey in the mid-ninties. Playing spot the criminal hair cut or far-too-large glasses among the audience is almost as entertaining as watching Monkhouse himself.

All three DVDs open with the same little skit in which Monkhouse parodies an AA meeting except with joke telling as his addiction. Like the rest of the DVD, it looks and feels a little dated but, bearing awful shows like Strictly Come Dancing and Robin Hood in mind, ends with a decade old joke about the BBC that still seems quite relevant.

Of course, being a comedian, presenter, writer and singer means that Monkhouse has a wide range of experience and skills to draw upon. Both shows kick off with a comedy musical number, both of which are themed around the amount of profanity that may or may not appear in the show. They include a couple of slightly "stand up political" jokes against the likes of Jim Davidson or the equally unfunny and profane Roy Chubby Brown. They sound apologetic which is never a good start.

Regardless, Monkhouse soldiers on through a selection of jokes that your Gran might find rude and slightly offensive but occasionally his jokes stand the test of time and I found myself having a good solid belly laugh at witty lines like: "My friend is in prison. He's in for his beliefs. He believed he could wank on a bus."

Other particularly funny moments are when he starts talking about his career in game shows, and while at first it seems he's kind of grabbing straws for material, the ribbing he gives to some of the dumb contestants seen on Family Fortunes is a good giggle.

Also, kudos must be given to Monkhouse for including a little titillation in his shows as we get to enjoy a comedy timed topless stripper which certainly gets things a little rowdy.

Monkhouse does spend a little time chatting with the audience and tells some genuinely funny, off the cuff jokes and doesn't simply treat them like a bunch of retards to be verbally abused like some comedians do. Which is nice.

Of course, questions have to be raised about the point of the third DVD as it's simply a collection of the best bits from the other two and all together rather pointless. Another thing which is disappointing, but not surprising, is that none of the DVDs are in widescreen.

Monkhouse's latest DVD boxed set would certainly make a bang on present for your Dad or Grandparent who'd remember Monkhouse's heydays and while a majority of his jokes seem tame and unimaginative compared to comedy talents like Peter Kay or Eddie Izzard there are a selection of genuinely funny quips that make the shows more rewarding to watch than I expected.

When not discussing the merits of jokes for your gran and criminal haircuts Michael also spends his time poking fun at Xbox 360 games over at his blog and at which I'd thoroughly recommend you all go and check out right now. Go on, they've even got a chance to have a go on Halo 3 in the spring....

Read more on The Search for a Sidekick!:

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