Comedy Showdown II: Horne and Corden and Hale and Pace

It’s that time again.


Horne and Corden (series one, episode three, BBC Three 2009) versus Hale and Pace (series four, episode one, LWT 1991). The first five sketches from each. Best sketch of each round wins a point.


What with H&C soundly ruining our comparison of them with Cannon & Ball during last week’s bondage and piss infused episode (although Tommy and Bobby outscored them when it came to unabashed homophobia), we’ve upped the controversy stakes for round two. We’ve decided to pair the duo up with the much-maligned Hale and Pace, First thing to point out here: we never really had much time for Hale and Pace, as them taking up the coveted 10pm Sunday night slot meant there was no room for Hot Metal, Not With A Bang or Spitting Image. Second thing to point out here: we’d never really noticed until now, but physically Hale and Pace were very much the Tim and Eric of their day. Go on, pencil a moustache onto a picture of Eric Wareheim, you’ll see the resemblance. But tish and fipsy, on with the scoring.



Horne & Corden:
Mr H and Mr C bound onto the stage in jeans a T-shirts and high-five their audience, as per usual, and as per that episode of Larry Sanders where an ailing Larry finally sold out to the network for a few more viewers. After customary greetings, the pair welcome a ‘special audience member’, who turns out to be in a wheelchair. Uh-oh!


There’s a heartfelt appeal from Corden about the need for Josie to get a motorised wheelchair. Event go all Noel’s HQ on us when it reveals Corden and Horne have stumped up the cash for a brand new, erm, electric chair…


Oh dear. A misunderstanding had happened. Corden is dismayed, and Horne expresses his similar dismay over his faux-pas, having misunderstood the meaning behind the term “ease the pain for her parents”. There is a mention of how the chair had to be shipped in from Texas especially, so there are a few consolation points on offer for hugely mistimed satire. Take that, Texas Governor George W. Bush!

Hale & Pace:
Over to H&P@itv. After the into which sees the pair impressed by CGI fish, then perturbed by a CGI shark bearing the H&P branding, we’re into a police line-up. The camera pans across several men, before cutting to an old dear (the witness) being asked to take her time before picking out the perp by N. Pace (a detective).


Subsequent politically incorrect hilarity duly ensures when we discover the suspect is the solitary tall black man in the line-up otherwise composed of short-to-medium-height white men. The old dear picks out one of the white men as the crim, only for N. Pace to suggest she might have meant the tall black man after all. The old dear isn’t sure, so N. Pace suggests she take a bit of a rest and try again.

Fade to black, and fade to a shot of the old dear trying again. Only – my stars! – the remainder of the line-up is now comprised of white women. The old dear still isn’t sure. Fade-black-fade-back, and it’s third go for the old dear. Now the line-up is made even easier for the old dear:


Still not sure, so time for one last fade-to-later:


The old dear still isn’t sure, so the police nick the black guy for wasting police time.


The scores:

Both skits stomp all over the cabbage patch of Perceived Good Taste, but while H&C got their bit out of the way that bit sooner, at least Hale and Pace had a kind of escalating multi-gag in their sketch. Plus it was clearly more of a go at institutionally racist policemen rather than being in any racist itself, in a similar (though less amusing) manner to Not The Nine’s Constable Savage sketch.

Horne and Corden: 0, Hale and Pace: 1



Corden and Horne are both plastered in fake tan and have HTML colour code ffffff level teeth. They chastise the viewer for their shambolic body, and recommend a Power Shake to everyone in the shoutiest manner possible. Circuitous language leaves the pretend-infomercial viewer unaware of how good or bad it actually is for you.


At the end of the advert, a voiceover announces that said product has no positive aspects whatsoever.

A pair of heavy metal roadies, who speak in Bad Keith Richards Impersonation voices. They mention, in a stoned drawl, how they see a lot of gigs by The Stones (“we got Stoned”), Wet Wet Wet (“we got Wet”), and Big Country (“we got lost”). The audience erupts. For some unfathomable reason.


The scores:

Ach, what the hell. At least the Horne and Corden sketch made a vague sort of comedic sense in relation to the audience reaction (i.e. more muted), and it won’t hurt to level the score out a bit.

Horne and Corden: 1, Hale and Pace: 1


News spoof. Will the Comedy Stereotypical Gay Man character be there? Yes, this time at a hostage siege.


Going by the mindset of a lazily-stereotypical gay man, sieges are ‘dead boring’, and hostages having bombs strapped to them are an underwhelming fashion statement. It turns out that one of the terrorists is “so fit” and that CSGM wants to get his number, so he runs off camera. Off-camera carnage ensues.

Pub sketch. Hale is with his new girlfriend, who is refusing to use various types of contraceptive (“what, you reckon a hysterectomy is going too far?”) as he doesn’t fancy wearing a condom. His protests continue, as he tries to persuade her to relent. It then turns out he’s been re-using the same condom for years. No, hang on, that brand! Not the same,,, boh.


The argument continues, and Hale’s new girlfriend remarks on how lucky he is chaps aren’t expected to just use half a lemon in this modern age. Hale relents, and agrees to get some drinks. He asks the barman for “a bitter and a Martini with ice and lemon”. The barman retorts “lemon? Your lucky night again, is it?” Hale looks suitably admonished, and the sketch ends.

The scores:

The hysterectomy line drew a reluctant guffaw from the BrokenTV panel. meaning it automatically wins the round. Such is the way we roll.

Horne and Corden: 1, Hale and Pace: 2



Another one of Corden’s blatant copies of The Fast Show’s “Jesse’s Fashion” sketches. This time:


“A tril-by hat.” Oh dear.


Hale and Pace, on a sofa, playing themselves. They modestly address their own famousness, and vow to ‘touch base’ with the populace, relating how they used to be teachers before they were famous. Hale remarks on how terrible Pace was as a teacher, and how he still made it to The Big Time. Pace winces a little, then relates a tale of how Hale was also a teacher, and how he’d somehow circumnavigated his side-career as a porn actor to make it to that very same Big Time. Hale tries to laugh this off as matey banter, only for Pace to produce a copy of the sordid VHS in question. “The Adventures Of Captain Hornblower.”


“I was passing the Hot Rod video shop the other day, and I thought, ‘I recognise that moustache’. Then I realised, ‘that’s not a moustache’, but I still recognised it!” Said grotflick is revealed to also include a goat and a bath of custard.

Hale discovers that the tape is missing from the case, leading to Pace’s revelation that the incriminating tape is in the video recorder in the corner of the room, which in turn is linked to the transmitter of the '”entire ITV network". Pace goads to audience into requesting a viewing of this spuff epic, leading to a huge reaction from the studio throng.

Pace presses a button on the remote, but all that appears is an interference-filled screen with a green “AV1” caption in the corner of the screen. He proclaims that, as a friend, he is actually wiping the tape. Hale extravagantly counts his blessings, but then asks why Pace would do such a thing. Pace reveals that his actions have only increased the marketable value of his other tape “The Adventures Of Gareth and Neddy”. The subsequent argument reveals “Neddy” to be a donkey.

The scores:

Bestial shenanigans aside, mentions of “a bathful of custard” and “the entire ITV network” clearly reign supreme over blatantly copying a short sketch from The Fast Show, and even then failing to deliver the lines in anywhere near as supreme a manner as Mark Williams.

Horne and Corden: 1, Hale and Pace: 3



WILL NOT BE NEEDED. Another epic fail for Horne & Corden. Tune in next week for another battle between H&C and… well, whatever we can dredge up.


Derek said...

Hmm. Interesting. Could it be that Horne & Corden are the worst thing ever to happen to comedy? The Grumbleweeds might be able to beat them to that crown though.. certainly these days as they've taken to being little britain but even worse:

Insults said...

H&C need to be better.

LF Barfe said...

Does it have to be a double act show, in the interests of parity? I don't have any of 'I'm Pasquale, He's Walsh' to hand, but I can probably sort you out with a bit of Mike and Bernie Winters, if that helps?

Mark X said...

Drat, I'd hoped that YouTube clip was going to lead to a full episode of Grumbleweeds, which I could have used against H&C ep 4. I've seen that clip before, and it is indeed a mesmerising fusion of trying to appeal to Ver Kids, like the woeful Lou and Andy 'tribute', and keeping in with traditional (and a little refreshing to see, if I'm honest) oldy-timey variety, like the "he has no pen" bit. I doubt I could sit through an entire live set of it, though.

LFB - it certainly doesn't need to be a double act, more a maligned sketch comedy show from the 1970s or 1980s. Somewhat surprisingly, TV Vault, UK Nova and The Box all seem to have a paucity of Little & Large, Russ Abbot or Grumbleweeds episodes. If you can point me toward some Mike & Bernie Winters, that'd be splendid, sir.

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