Tuesday, 14 May 2013

TV: Celebrity Bedlam

Celebrity Bedlam: It's got celebrities in it and it's bedlam.

Lee Kern, the presenter and creator of Celebrity Bedlam.
In the words of Lee Kern, "Celebrity Bedlam is the show where we explore the hot topics of the day by playing pranks on fame-hungry celebs and getting them to take part in fake TV shows."  In reality there’s very little exploration of hot topics going on and the focus of the show is pretty much entirely based around ridiculing celebrities through crazy and sometimes bizarre jokes and tricks.

Each episode of Celebrity Bedlam features sketches and pranks of a similar general theme, such as the environment, travel and adventure, or health and lifestyle, but in truth it’s all just a big excuse to have a laugh at celebrities’ expense.

Pretty much every episode had me laughing away at the ridiculousness of it all but if I had to highlight some favourite moments then I’d have to include a sketch which has David Van Day being introduced to an allegedly full-size fully grown clone of himself.  Rather than question the credibility of such an occurrence he instead declares, “How can you do this without my permission!?”


Another scene which had me giggling away is a sketch where Lee interviews Sir John Houghton (a Noble Peace Prize Winner) on the environment.  Straight away things immediately get a bit weird as Lee switches off the lights and conducts the interview in the dark ‘as a nod to the environment.’  Lee then proceeds to explain a bizarre idea from his friend whereby we would locate all the factories of the world in the same place and then build a giant chimney up into space so that all the pollution will just float away into outer space.  Lee also attempts to put words in Sir John’s mouth at every opportunity but to give Sir John credit he stands his ground well and fights the cause of the environment, despite the increasingly ridiculous direction which the interview takes.

One other prank I loved was a sketch which featured Lee Kern as the world’s only blind racing driver.  Carianne Barrow from The Bachelor was in absolute hysterics as Lee drove her around the course colliding with pretty much every obstacle in his path, and I have to say that I don’t know how Lee Kern managed to keep a straight face himself.

Admittedly at times you feel a bit uncomfortable at the way Lee Kern is blatantly exposing the gullibility of the celebrities, but for all this is a show designed to play pranks on the famous and make them look stupid, for the most part it’s never really malicious.  The primary motivation is comedy and in fact some of the celebrities, as well as coming across as gullible and naive, also come across as really sweet and nice people, so you could argue that it’s not a totally cruel show.

Jelly babies!
Many of the pranks have unexpected twists such as one sketch where members of a focus group are told they are about to meet a man who has travelled into space.  Just when you are expecting a famous astronaught to appear, instead a nerdish looking dude is introduced who then starts recalling stories of how he was abducted by aliens.  The looks on the faces of the studio panel as he relates his experience of being anally probed are hilarious, and the tension and the guests’ discomfort as the dude recalls account after account of being anally probed just adds to the comedy.

Lee Kern himself describes Celebrity Bedlam as ‘a combination of pranking celebrities, booking them for fake TV shows and getting them to engage in random acts of lunacy.’  Or to put it another way, ‘We have a bit of a giggle playing pranks on celebs.’  In my case I had more than just a giggle as most of the time while watching the show I was totally creased up with laughter.

Anyone who enjoys prank TV shows and hasn’t yet discovered Celebrity Bedlam would be well advised to check it out.  Many of the wind-ups are hilarious and despite the fact that prank TV shows have been done to death, Celebrity Bedlam still manages to come across as creative and fresh.

The series was shown on E4 last year and its run has come to an end now, but it’s a very underrated show so hopefully Channel 4 will schedule it again at some point.  You can also watch a selection of Celebrity Bedlam clips on the Channel 4 website:
Celebrity Bedlam Clips

Follow Lee Kern on twitter:

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Other recent posts:
Website: Thrilling Tales Of The Downright Unusual
Books: How To Save The World: An Alien Comedy by Charles Fudgemuffin

Books: The Hoax by Clifford Irving
Graphic Novel: Cuba: My Revolution

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