Channel 4’s Smash Show returns for the 11th time this week Back again On this occasion, the show’s assistant presented our author with four challenges – is he up to the task?

I’m sitting in my study, my head in my hands, trying desperately to avoid eye contact with Alex Horne via zoom.He sits apathetically at first, but with increasing confusion, watches a video of me in my living room and pretends to be shooting a giant spirit level like a shotgun, in time for Macarena, the hit of the 90s in the end, after the video I mimicked threw a grenade and jumped into an offscreen sofa, Horne turns back to me to interview (now bright red and cursed Los del Rio), not with anger or disappointment, but with curious pity “You have to explain a lot of things, it’s one of the best and worst moments of my life

This should have been a straightforward interview with the creator of the Bafta award-winning Taskmaster before the new series started this week – but Taskmaster is Far From Easy To get a real taste of the show, I was presented with four bizarre tasks Asked directly by the taskmaster’s assistant himself – and he will judge you during the interview I’m excited and scared

Before we get into Horne’s verdict on my efforts, I decide to smear him by telling him how much I enjoyed the show during the lockdown, of course, he’s heard it all before, “Lots of people got in touch and Really nice things said like “The program saved our lock! ” From the amount of messages I get, I think, “God, it feels like the whole country is watching it “And then you get the viewing numbers, which is absolutely fine, but … it’s amazing how many people see MasterChef and Antiques Roadshow”

Then why did so many people jump on the show during the lockdown? “It’s definitely an escape – and I think it helps that unlike other panels you want to see it all the way through. Every show has a climax I think you’d do well to turn yourself off unless you say,” Well, that’s not my thing at all“One of the things we are really proud of is that every single task is different, even if there are similarities, you never know what’s next”

I can’t put it off any longer – there isn’t enough small talk in the world to save me from judgment. Initially, my challenge was, “Use 100 pictures of one animal to get a picture of a completely different animal”I show Horne my efforts – a growling diplodocus made up of 100 photos of my cocker spaniel waffles. Fortunately, Horne is impressed.” It’s amazing how much your dog looks like cabbage, “he says at one point, a phrase I take as a compliment – before I move on to his verdict “I can imagine one thing better, but I don’t think I can imagine less than three worse. He gives me a healthy four points – second place on a hypothetical show thinking about my resume there and then update

In the real show, Horne isn’t the one to judge that’s down to the host, the tyrannical Greg Davies, part mad king, part headmaster – imagine Henry VIII’s final years Before, when he was also on the OCR review board

When I ask Horne if he ever disagrees with Davies’ judgment, the answer is instantly “Yes. Most of the tasks It’s really frustrating because I know the episode could unravel in a certain way, if he achieves it in a certain way. Very often he will evaluate it completely wrong, so that someone has already won with two tasks, “Still, Horne wouldn’t have it any other way -” I’m always happy that Greg is invested, I’m more interested in him caring who wins rather than scoring points we told him “


Even though Horne is the mastermind behind the entire series, he knows exactly how important Davies is to the show. “It’s his little sparkle. His job is pretty difficult – he has to tell people who really tried hard,” That was garbage”And he doesn’t insult her often. It’s the dynamic of being clearly playful, but also being honest”

Since Horne talks about being playful but (brutally) honest, it is time to judge my attempt on the second task: “Receive a photo of a famous person wearing a little pink hat, winking and holds up a photo of you They are not allowed to use Photoshop, here I used my showbiz connections (i.e. the fact that I went to university with the son of Radio 4 legend Andy Hamilton) I got a photo back in just three and a half hours – an adorable shot of the creator of Outnumbered and regular subscriber Have I Got News For You winking happily and holding up a photo of me while wearing a pink hat Amazingly, Andy’s wife Libby knitted the hat especially for the task in just a few hours , an accomplishment so kind to a pursuit that I question many of my life choices

Almost immediately, Horne asks how famous Andy Hamilton is, “I think he’s a high profile famous person – he has a lot of work behind him – but if someone has Hasselhoff in a pink hat he could outdo you I’m saying that just because Greg bends the rules – frustrating, luckily I had foreseen this and am able to provide a backup with an even more complicated backstory. Every week my wife and I are filming with my uncle and aunt in San Francisco and he has a little photo the queen placed in another room in front of a webcam to make it look like she’s on the phone with us (this one sounds like he’s a rabid nationalist but i swear it’s a joke) he kindly put a pink Hat on her, put a photo of me in front of her and winked at her face

The mere time that is spent on this is enough to get Hornes approval – and another second place “You have to consider that two out of five participants are very lazy”, muses Horne So if you put in a depressing effort, you get at least third place. This is known as “the ed gamble tactic,” according to Horne

The subject of how different comedians take different approaches is interesting – the key is authenticity. “The main advice from Andy [Devonshire, the director] is always:” You don’t have to try to be funny when you get the chores done, because that’s not funny ‘”

Easier said than done with some acts. “Tim Vine probably couldn’t resist cracking a few jokes. But you see the creative Tim Vine rather than the Punslinger. He’s one of maybe five or six people who are still dying once – he feels like he left some things out there ”

Other comedians have a kind of gung-ho attitude – and Horne was pretty careful at first. “In the past, I wasn’t entirely sure we could handle Johnny Vegas, and I’ve done shows with him before and he’s always the funniest person – I’ve always worried that the mix tasted too strong in 10 episodes; Likewise, the varied job on the show means seeing a different aspect of the personalities of normally bombastic comics, “My mom had Vegas before seen and wasn’t his biggest fan But now she’s because she’s seen how artistic and fragile he is So we’re trying to show all the different sides of people. They can’t help but show all their colors ”

The show has evolved over the years – from a niche comedy panel / game show on Dave to the award-winning mainstream Channel 4 phenomenon that is out now – and sometimes it can be disarming to look back where the show started “We’re not ashamed of the old stuff, but when you look back at the posters you think,” My God, six men and one woman “Oddly enough, we didn’t say” this is wrong “and neither did anyone else It was a very rapid change in the landscape of television that is brilliant, looking to the future, Horne is confident that the show can go much further with diversity Greg doesn’t count who are unfortunately white men ”

And so we move on to the third task: “Create the ending of a famous movie using just items from your kitchen. Of course, I decided to redesign the climax of Thelma and Louise, but replaced the car with a cheese grater and Susan.” Sarandon and Geena Davis exchanged for two Brussels sprouts (I drew on smileys with a sharpie and popped a ball of pasta on top for the hair) I spent a great deal of time on this task and was absolutely sure I was pinned for five points Horne is less enthusiastic, mostly because of the title – in a moment of unusual recklessness I decided to call my video Brusselma and Louise “Greg wouldn’t have enjoyed that title It’s not bad, Jack, but it’s not great, I get three points – a scant third place on the show I Smoke This is a Saturday night leaning on vegetables I don’t get back come

The show gets surprisingly hot at times between comedians. “If you’re in the top 2 with two episodes, people are dying to win,” admits Horne to No More Than Daisy May Cooper, which brought the latest series to a heartbreaking breakdown directed in the final studio assignment and enabled Richard Herring to conquer the crown (a gold bust of Greg Davies’ head) “I really like that there is real emotion. A lot of people wanted Daisy to win, a lot wanted Richard to win. He’s a very nice man who does his best against you Force of nature gives ”

While winning is important, most fans would argue that the lovable losers are the real reason they watch the show – from Nish Kumar and David Baddiel to Paul Sinha and Katherine Parkinson “When someone does a job really badly it is better for us than if he does it really well”We always tell people when they return to the green space after a task that they have made it:” They actually really won this task because people remember them more than the geniuses”Nobody likes the smart people”

That brings us to my attempt at completing the final task, “Demonstrate a brand new post-macarena dance that is better than the original macarena dance.” I look at the words of the macarena and see that it is a woman who cheats on her boyfriend while joining the army so this will be a reinterpretation of the macarena from his point of view – a soldier during a reconnaissance mission ambushed by enemy forces that was the intent the result is a mess of horns endeavor up to get a positive result and want to know why i decided to use a solid ruler as a weapon i have no answer “What we talked about before – i think you might take a point there” i lost what according to the logic of the show, means I won but it really feels like losing

Over the course of the hour, I’ve felt like I had the full Taskmaster experience – elation, passed out anger, incandescent embarrassment In some ways it’s remarkable how emotionally taxing it can be, tempted to mention this to Horne but it precedes another, more relevant observation, “We talked pretty seriously for an hour. I’m very proud of the show, but I don’t take it very seriously. I realize it’s a very stupid program”


Weltnachrichten – GB – ‘Reinventing the Macarena’: Alex Horne from Taskmaster presents us with four devilish new challenges