Al Murray’s Personality Disorder

Al Murray – aka The Pub Landlord – successfully made the transition from a one-man standup show to sitcom format on Sky One, and then on to ITV1 with Al Murray’s Happy Hour.

But how did he take to the transition to sketch comedy, in Al Murray’s Personality Disorder?

Not quite as well as hoped.  Friday night’s show was a brave effort, introducing a range of characters from overpaid mercenary footballer Jason Bent to the rather painful sub-Carry On mincery of the all-pink Nazi officer Kamp.

The success and quality of Al Murray’s Happy Hour meant that many people were praying that Personality Disorder would be a success, and while the Jason Bent character and the Randy Parents sketches were good I really don’t think that the show is going to be remembered for anything other than Kamp.

In a different context, Kamp could be funny – for instance if Al Murray’s Personality Disorder was broadcast in 1970.  Even ‘Allo ‘Allo never took the “Gay Nazi” stereotype to this extent – but then ‘Allo ‘Allo is an oft-underrated sitcom that made far superior use of double entendre than Al Murray managed here.  In fact I’d go so far as to say that Murray made no use of double entendre here, signposting almost every potential laugh with ridiculous camp gestures that would have embarrassed Kenneth Williams and preferring to offer the “gags” as nothing more than single – or half – entendres.

It’s a poor showing, I’m afraid, one that I really, truly hope will be improved upon.  For now, however that was at best a mixed bag, and at worst a step backwards for Murray and British Comedy.

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