With Mock The Week cancelled after 17 years late last year, Have I Got News For You a toothless ghost of its former self, and the feeble comeback of Never Mind The Buzzcocks on Sky Max, it’s easy to argue that – save for a few exceptions – the comedy panel show format is dead.
Amazon’s effort is the most ambitious. To mark Amazon.co.uk’s 25th birthday, it made a full quiz show, Amazon’s Quiz of 25 Years (Youtube, available now), hosted by comedian Tom Allen, where two celebrity teams answered questions about products that can be bought on the site.
It looked like any other panel show: a studio set-up; lineup of Judi Love, Babatunde Aléshé, Sam Thompson and Dani Dyer; and various rounds.
But Amazon’s presence made the whole thing a little uncanny. Allen’s co-presenter was a sassy Alexa. Panellists had to guess products from gushing reviews. And the ‘90s VHS’ treatment to the recording made it feel like a scene from a sci-fi movie where mega corporations have commandeered all entertainment.
Asda instead went ‘behind the scenes’ at Buzzcocks, and got Judi Love (again) and Jamali Maddix to blind taste test own label products against M&S versions. No surprises – the comedians found Asda’s to be just as delicious.
Rather than inject new life into the panel show format, Amazon and Asda’s efforts are harbingers of its end.