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Laughing at the client’s expense

The Manuscript panel

Let’s have some ad-funded comedy. Absolute Radio has just launched a new series of comedy shows, funded by Just For Men, the well-known male hair brand. (actually we had to look it up).

The show is called The Manuscript: a foolproof guide to being a modern man and its comedy is inspired by current news stories and the pitfalls of modern manhood.

New comedy is always risky and there is no way the client (or anyone) could know exactly what they’d get from this so Absolute Radio has taken no chances with the writing, casting or production. The talent behind this show includes some of radio comedy’s most experienced names such as Robin Ince, Andy Zaltzman and Clive Anderson.

Host Nick Hancock provides another voice more familiar to BBC listeners but he’s nicely aligned with Absolute’s target audience of ‘reluctant adults’. He sorts out any product category confusion around Just For Men in his opening lines with a deft self-deprecating joke.

Production from TBI sounds assured yet distinctively not the BBC. It’s recorded in the fairly lively acoustic of Under the Bridge in Chelsea which can seat 300, Matt Berry provides the mvo and there’s a centre ad break to navigate, for example.

Andrew and KatyIn addition to the broadcast outlet there’s a web presence for the show and a podcast. Episode 1 is here with Andrew Maxwell, Katy Brand and Rob Beckett. Landing squarely in the most popular podcasting category this has every reason to hit the iTunes chart although, like all podcasts, individual title subscriptions can build slowly. I suggest Just For Men might want to commission more than just six episodes if they want to capitalise on real momentum here.

The Manuscript represents an extra half hour of weekly radio comedy which can only be good for listeners. Absolute Radio’s Tony Moorey has scheduled it tactically at 7pm on Fridays just as the BBC’s popular Friday night comedy gives way to The Archers.