I’m extremely fond of sketch comedy, it’s hard to pull off well as far too many tv shows have recently shown but when done well it can be comedy at it’s very best. The Delightful Sausage (who consist of Chris Cantrill and Amy Gledhill) aren’t quite at that high point just yet but everything here suggests they could well be pretty damn soon, and the recent very positive reviews of their follow up show Regeneration Game appears to confirm this.
The opening video to their debut show Cold Hard Cache sees the duo travel to London and we’re introduced to some of the highlights of the city, except they get them wrong each and every time. It’s a great way to begin and sets the scene for an hour of pleasingly frivolous comedy. It’s framed by the idea that they’re showing the elderly, the unemployed and the unfuckable (aka the audience) how to use the internet which allows them to go off on all kinds of tangents. Amy’s dressed up as a sausage which isn’t initially explored, other than a seemingly off the cuff exchange where Amy asks why she’s wearing the costume and Chris responds “Because people process grief in different ways” which as it was so funny is more than enough of an explanation for me.
Whilst largely upbeat and positive they throw in the occasional offensive joke or comment to catch the audience off guard, which nearly always works, the best example being where out of the blue Chris says “I’m going to need all of you cunts up on your feet” for a supposed team building experience, leading to the crowd throwing around an invisible balloon whilst Chris sings an alternative version of the Friends theme. More rambling piss takes of that particular sitcom follows, including a very funny description of a fake episode, and it’s extremely likeable material. Also included within the set is a surprising 9/11 joke which comes out of nowhere, accusations that an audience member is wearing a swastika on his jumper, a greatly deserved dig at the Zutons, and a skit concerning feminism where Chris trots out some bizarre misogynistic comments like “I am a feminism. I do believe we should all pay the same for an eclair”. There’s also a section on the Dark Web which you should stay away from because “You can get mucky photographs, things that can make your brains fizzy, and they’re even selling multi-pack cans of coke…separately”, and a sketch set in a cheese shop which ends with “If you don’t get out of here in five seconds my boyfriend’s going to leave a dead mouse on your doormat, because he’s a fucking cat”, all of which led me to laughing a lot.
On the downside a sketch about the origins of the internet ebbs and flows, with some jokes hitting home but others slightly disappointing, and a comparison between Shakespeare and Hollyoaks falls flat, as does a Mary Berry reference. But that is to be expected in an hour long show which is as packed with gags as this is, it’s incredibly rare for everything to work even with the very best comedians. It also has to be said that occasionally the acting almost dips in to am-dram territory as well, but it just about avoids doing so, and the ending of the show isn’t the strongest part of the set either, it’s fairly amusing stuff but could have been a little tighter.
So they’re not quite the finished product just yet, but despite these minor criticisms most of the time it’s a very very funny show, filled with inventive ideas and a great deal of silliness. The Delightful Sausage offer an hour which is mostly packed with a lot of fantastic sketches and ridiculous gags, and if they continue to grow they really should turn in to something quite special.