When watching the 2013 sketch show It’s Kevin, it is important to remember that more than an actor or comedian, Kevin Eldon is a modern-day clown. In his shiny, red shoes with bright yellow laces, he relies on physical comedy, noises, and facial expressions for many of the gags. In fact, much of the humor is low-brow or simple enough, in a clownish sort of way, to be better suited for children who are more accepting of burping jokes and the like. Indeed if there weren’t the occasional sexy 80s nurse or Kevin flipping the bird, it would make a good children’s entertainment program. That’s not to say the show isn’t written well. Some sketches are better than others, of course, but there are some true gems in here, including the very first hospital sketch, “Not Everyone’s Called Ben,” and a vacuum cleaner that sends dust into the Victorian age. Like many sketch shows, there are reoccurring segments, the best of which is poems by Eldon’s faux cousin Paul Hamilton.
Adrienne, there is nothing in your diary,
something in your attic,
and I don’t know what that is in your toilet.
Other reoccurring segments include Hitler speaking like George Martin, visits to Dr. Smith that result in strangling Dr. Seuss, a stereotypical Northern spokesman, an archive slot about old TV shows, and more. The sketches are introduced by Kevin in a plain white studio like something out of Vincenzo Natali’s Nothing with very sharp perspective-warping angles. The nothing-studio is watched after by caretaker Bob (Paul Putner), who has had a series of bizarre jobs in the past, including guarding buffet tables and running the gift shop of the museum of museum gift shops. I wonder if Bob getting put into a box for hybernation at the end of the series is a reference or theft of Lee & Herring getting put into a storage box at the end of Fist of Fun. Then of course, there’s Kevin’s crush, Wendy Wilson (Twenty Twelve‘s Amelia Bullmore), the brainy scientist used to satire things like people who make every statement sound like a question.
It’s Kevin is bright with recognizable faces. Some actors appear in multiple episodes playing various characters–David Reed, Julia Davis, Adam Buxton, Bridget Christie, Peter Serafinowicz, and Simon Munnery. Others make quick cameos. These are often very impressive, such as Nick Frost playing bongos (not that impressive if you know that Frost’s and Eldon’s children are betrothed to be wed, at least according to Frost’s memoir), Bill Bailey playing a Pet Shop Boys-style rockstar, or Stewart Lee analyzing the air quality of the nothing-studio. I wouldn’t trust IMDB completely because it doesn’t seem to be entirely correct. For instance, we know Serafinowicz plays the bully, but he also plays the Amish radio host in a different episode, but he’s only credited as being in one episode on IMDB. Anyway, yeah, excellent cast.
On the circuit, Eldon is known as a musical comedian, so this show is an excellent opportunity to show off his musical chops in a variety of genres, including country, rap, something that is a mix of Appalachian folk and dubstep, and umm…French. The theme tune is absolutely obnoxious, mostly because it’s so darn catchy. But you also get some of my favorites, like “I Haven’t Got a Catch Phrase” in episode 3.
To sum: Kevin Eldon has been on your TV for ages, so it’s thrilling to see him get his own show, show off his own writing, and carry a vehicle with his own antics. A real treat.