Amazon UK TV review: LOL: Australia
James R | On 24, Jun 2020
As Channel 4 marks the 20th anniversary of Big Brother this summer, Amazon is busy coming up with its own take on lockdown reality TV: a contest between comedians to see who’s the funniest, based on Japanese series Documental. The twist? None of them are allowed to laugh. The last one laughing gets a cash prize of $100,000.
In the house? Dilruk Jayasinha, Frank Woodley, Nazeem Hussain, Anne Edmonds, Joel Creasey, Nick Cody, Sam Simmons, Susie Youssef, Ed Kavalee and Becky Lucas. Watching behind the walls? Rebel Wilson, who also hosts the show.
It seems like a waste of Wilson’s talents when you’re producing a series that hinges on people being as funny as possible, but Wilson’s presence proves vital to the show’s success. When you put a bunch of comics together, you see, some of then do the thing that audiences don’t normally get to see behind-the-scenes: they turn things up to the extreme, like someone who drinks a lot of coffee graduating to triple-shot espressos. That means you can sometimes end up grossed out, confused or disturbed by what’s going on – Wilson emerges as the vital middle-person keeping things in balance, especially when the other comics’ reactions to even the strangest outbursts are a consciously deadpan silence.
The outbursts themselves are an inevitably mixed bunch, with some hits and other misses. But LOL’s producers do a good job of recruiting a mix of styles and personalities; if Sam Simmons dancing in a very naughty jacket doesn’t do it for you, Frank Woodley’s lower key but wonderfully goofy delivery will likely tickle your funny bone. Not sure about Dilruk Jayasinha’s grossout stunt with a vase? The amusing Becky Lucas repeating things other people will get you, if not the delightfully surreal shouting of Anne Edmonds.r
The result is (after a slow start) a promising remake of a tried-and-tested format, not only because it brings its own Aussie sense of humour to the table, but because it keeps things tightly paced at 30 minutes and doesn’t stray from the key elements of the premise – a premise that reminds us that, even when you’re stuck indoors for days on end and other people are craving attention, you’ve got to give in and laugh at some point. With episodes arriving weekly on Amazon Prime Video, this could well be the comedy gameshow you need to get through the coming months.
LOL: Australia is available to watch online on Amazon Prime Video as part of a Prime membership or a £5.99 monthly subscription.