Hosted by Sara Pascoe this is the latest hybrid of a panel show and parlour games where a bunch of comedians are thrown together to muck about and try and win points. It’s a format which has led to some fantastic tv in the past (Taskmaster, Would I Lie To You’s early years) and some dreadfully annoying and all kinds of average fare (pretty much everything else).
I wish I could say that Guessable fell in to the former category as well, and a couple of the games led to the odd laugh or a brief smile, but the majority of the time it’s one of those cases where I’m sure everyone in the studio was having a lot of fun but it’s not of the infectious variety. A big problem is that a good few of the games don’t give the comedians a chance to riff on events as they just attempt to guess the answer instead, which is dull to watch unfortunately.
Alan Davies and Darren Harriott are the team captains each week, which doesn’t bode well as Davies is only very rarely funny, though Harriott proved himself worthy of a regular slot this week at least. Also on hand is John Kearns as Pascoe’s sidekick, who expands upon Pascoe’s explanations of each game, but given how talented he is he isn’t given that much to do all rather frustratingly. Also taking part this week were Jason Manford, Clare Balding, Russell Kane and Dane Baptiste, and if you like them, well, even then I’d be surprised if they made you laugh that much.
That’s due to the games themselves, all of which are riffs on the kind of popular family games you might be forced to reluctantly play at Christmas, so there’s one where the teams have to guess impressions, another involves reading lips, there’s a time limited Pictionary variation, a take on “Who Am I?”, a bluffing game involving three boxes where only one of them actually has the item in it which is claimed to be there, a round where they have to guess rhyming sentences, and one where props are used to create words. But out of them all, only the Pictionary, bluffing and impressions rounds really led to any genuinely funny moments, where anyone was able to come up with some funny insights in to what was taking place, the rest of the time it was just guessing and a little bit of very bland mockery of someone’s failure to do well, and it didn’t make for exactly hilarious tv comedy.
It feels like a waste of Sara Pascoe, John Kearns and Darren Harriott’s talents, all of whom deserve their own shows and not just low budget studio based idiocy like this. I’m glad they’re getting a payday during these tough times and hopefully it’ll give their careers a boost, but it’s bleak to see Comedy Central throw money at yet another tired format rather than something original or innovative, because this is the exact opposite of that.