9 March 2008 | Tess22
The only show to literally make me fall on the floor with laughter. I see all these complaints about an OTT laughter track, but I would swear that really is the audience reaction - it's certainly what I'm doing at home. From the early days of Mark Lamarr, Sean Hughes and Phil Jupitus, right through to the current line-up, it has remained one of the sharpest and funniest shows ever.
Of course, Buzzcocks has had its share of problems. It lost its edge a little towards the end of Lamarr's reign; having done the show for 10 years he was getting bored and working on autopilot. Happily, after he left, the show got revitalised with the arrival of Simon Amstell, and bounced back with a very different but equally strong style of hosting.
It's now common knowledge that Buzzcocks is pre-rehearsed, and that Sean Hughes left for frustration with this 'fake' aspect. To me this barely detracts at all. Far better to have a few pre-prepared answers than everybody floundering around in silence. Who wants the intro round ruined by performers muttering "I don't know that one"? Yes, they practice first - let it go. Furthermore, though I love Sean (and his accent), his replacement Bill Bailey is an even better team captain.
Do they take things too far sometimes? It's certainly remarkable how much they get away with - countless celebrity death threats, the punishment of naive guests (amazing that only one has walked off), and of course the infamous Courtney Love joke among many other controversial moments, would be cut from most other programmes. Gentle types will wince at times, but those of us with a cruel streak truly revel in it. The trio say all the things we want to but either don't think of or don't dare to voice.
Best of all, the show is for music lovers and music dunces to enjoy alike. Whether you know exactly what they're talking about, or whether you're completely at sea, Buzzcocks is always hilarious.