Who can ‘Stand Up & Deliver’ for cancer?

Thursday: Stand Up & Deliver; (Channel 4, 9pm)

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 24th February 2021, 5:00 pm
Curtis Pritchard and Judi Love
Curtis Pritchard and Judi Love

As with most of Channel 4’s best comedy output, this format is in aid of Stand Up To Cancer, and sees famous faces ditch their various day jobs and give stand-up comedy a go.

Honestly it’s just as well it’s for charity, as one could imagine actual stand-up comedians, most of whom have been unable to do any meaningful work for a year due to Covid, might feel somewhat aggrieved to see non-comics handed a gig that they would give their hind teeth for.

Still, competition in the industry may be rife but at least this show might give us a fresh insight into just how much work goes into performing stand-up comedy – there’s certainly a lot more to it than just showing up and being funny...!

There’s a lot of hardwork, research, commitment, time and patience.

Plus, the show also offers a raft of established comics are available to coach our gaggle of newbies through the process.

The celebs themselves are an interesting bunch as well.

They range from those who have been on the periphery of comedy – the Rev Richard Coles, for example, has proved himself quite the wit on Have I Got News for You, while Shaun Ryder too has provoked many a laugh on panel shows, if not always intentionally – to the less comedically minded.

Conservative Party peer Baroness Sayeeda Wars, as a woman in politics, will be used to heckles (a sad fact), but more familiar with the three-line whip than a snippy one-liner, while Love Island star and dancer Curtis Pritchard and former Coronation Street actor Katie McGlynn are born performers, but do they have what it takes to make us laugh?

The Rev Coles finds himself partnered with David Baddiel, the two presumably feeling able to bond over erstwhile chart success (Coles was one half of The Communards in the 1980s, while Baddiel of course famously sang Three Lions with Frank Skinner and the Lightning Seeds).

Jason Manford meanwhile manages fellow Mancunian Ryder – presumably having drawn the short straw there, especially if the remit includes “no swearing”.

Baroness Sayeeda Warsi has 2011 Funniest Joke of the Fringe winner Nick Helm in her corner, while Pritchard is mentored by Loose Women panelist and stand-up Judi Love.

Zoe Lyons completes the line-up of coaches, the award-winning comic and panel show favourite guiding McGlynn through her paces.

While it takes the professionals many years and countless difficult sets to finesse their craft and find their voice, our celebs are thrown in at the deep end in this first episode.

In an attempt to gauge their ‘natural’ comedy talent, they’re put straight on stage and told to be funny.

Some take to this task better than others, it’s fair to say, and the mentors all feel as though they have their work cut out.

Not least the left-leaning Helm, who’s shocked that his job is to make a Tory look good...now that’s funny!

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